There are some conservatives who have joked that the Rachel Dolezal fraud was so perfectly constructed to expose the absurdity of liberalism run amok that her narrative couldn’t have been better if she had been created as a Rush Limbaugh lab experiment. I believe that much the same could be said in the opposite political direction about Jeb Bush.
The Hillary Clinton campaign simply could not construct a more useful candidate to be running for the GOP nomination.
Jeb Bush seems like a nice enough guy and he might have even made a good president. However, barring a complete catastrophe (like a video surfacing of her badly dissing Beyoncé or Taylor Swift) he is NOT going to beat Hillary Clinton. In fact, of all the plausible nominees, Bush is the worst possible candidate for Republicans to nominate against her.
This is so obvious that it should not even be a matter for debate (I have even purchased the URL www.JebCantWin.com). Hillary has many weaknesses and just about all of them are completely erased if she gets the gift of facing Jeb Bush in the general election.
Clinton is old, perceived as representing the “past,” is part of a political “dynasty” which reeks of royal entitlement, is seen as a rich, out of touch, insider, and voted enthusiastically for the Iraq War. Bush is obviously extremely poorly suited to exploit every single one of these openings.
In sort, picking Jeb Bush to compete against Hillary Clinton would be like choosing Stephen Curry to guard LeBron James in the low post, or deciding that Tom Brady should become a running quarterback against the Seattle defense.
The entire concept is strategically suicidal and sadly it seems that Jeb himself is so remarkably naïve that he actually doesn’t understand this. Like a teenager who still believes in Santa Claus, it seems Bush delusionally thinks that he can reap the advantages of the Bush name without being decisively shackled with it as well. He also seems to have this remarkably quaint notion that elections are decided by ideas or qualifications, and that they are remotely fair.
The voters who decide presidential elections are never going to evaluate Jeb Bush as his “own man.” Low-information voters will just never get past the Bush name, especially when the news media is sure to make the “Third Bush” narrative is a huge part of the campaign should Republicans be dumb enough to nominate him. The fact that, as he has aged, Jeb looks and sounds even more like his brother George makes an already utterly impracticable task even more unworkable.
Low-information voters (the general election “deciders”) only have room in their candidate “storage units” for, at most, about three or four items. With Jeb Bush the news media would make sure those would be: He would be the “Third Bush,” his own mother said on national TV that it was someone else’s turn, he presented Hillary Clinton with a major award in 2013, and he was instrumental in the entire Terri Schiavo fiasco.
When low-information voters are offered the choice (spun by a mostly pro-liberal news media) between a white male who represents the time of a very unpopular war and an epic economic collapse, and a female who is associated with a period of relative peace and prosperity, it won’t even be close. It will be like asking children if they prefer broccoli or ice cream.
I see presidential politics much more like a poker game than a sporting event. The GOP has an advantage in that it basically already knows what the Democratic hand is. Hillary is, at worst, a straight (no pun intended). Bush is, at best, three of a kind (three Bushes, get it?). That loses every single time. This means the GOP must pick someone who at least has the potential of turning out to be a “straight” or better. In my view only Scott Walker and Marco Rubio even theoretically qualify.
From an Electoral College perspective Jeb may bring the critical state of Florida, but nothing else. He would also need to beat Hillary in Virginia (no way), Ohio (unlikely), Nevada (unlikely) and all of the Romney states (plausible). This is far too high a hill to climb, especially when Scott Walker and Marco Rubio can do their hiking with far less baggage on their back.
This is where the Bush candidacy (which even as a fan of the family, I see as incredibly selfish and narcissistic) is particularly devastating to the hopes of stopping a Hillary victory.
According to a New York Times preview of Bush’s announcement (which bizarrely quoted a Bush ally as referring to the new aggressive Bush strategy as a “Pickett’s Charge,” a reference to a disastrous Confederate attack at Gettysburg), at least some of the millions he has raised will go to destroying Walker and Rubio.
Here Jeb Bush running produces a virtual pinball machine of “points” for Hillary Clinton. That’s because even if Bush doesn’t win the nomination he has the ammunition to greatly debilitate the only two GOP contenders who could hypothetically beat Clinton.
So while Hillary will fend off feckless barbs from Bernie Sanders which the media will quickly forget long before the general election begins, attacks from Bush on a surviving Walker or Rubio would be treated very seriously. After all, no GOPer is given more credibility by the news media than one who has said nasty things about another Republican who is a threat to win something important.
Making the promised Bush attacks on Walker and Rubio even more devastating is that, given his prominence in Florida, they could easily leave either of them (especially Walker) unable to recover to win a state without which it is essentially impossible for them to beat Hillary.
The polls so far, where Bush has done very poorly given his name recognition, have given me hope that the GOP base realizes that Jeb can not beat Hillary. I do not believe that Jeb Bush will win the nomination. However, I do fear that his run will insure a Hillary victory whether he wins the nomination or not. If Jeb Bush was a true patriot he would never have taken this ill-advised step and there is strong likelihood that his run will end up further staining his family’s political legacy, just as it was starting to finally recover.
[Images via screengrab]
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