No matter what happens on Super Tuesday, it’s clear who the real losers will be on election night: The Democratic and Republican parties. An election season that began as a presumptive showdown between two inevitable dynastic front-runners—Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton—has now devolved into an electoral dumpster fire. And it’s time to name the culprit: The dynasties themselves.
Jeb Bush, the Republican establishment’s last, best hope, began his 2016 campaign rationally enough, with a painstakingly collated operational blueprint his team called, with NFL swagger, “The Playbook.” On page after page kept safe in a binder, the playbook laid out a strategy for a race his advisers were certain would be played on Bush’s terms — an updated, if familiar version of previous Bush family campaigns where cash, organization and a Republican electorate ultimately committed to an electable center-right candidate would prevail. Story Continued Below
Jeb Bush banned me from the bus. It was October 2014, two months before Jeb would announce he was exploring a run for president, and I had come to west Texas as an Associated Press reporter to ask about his plans. The former Florida governor had taken a day off from campaigning for midterm candidates to enjoy a victory lap with his son, George P. Bush, who was cruising to election as Texas land commissioner.
In jujutsu, one uses an opponent’s weight against him. And, in the version most often seen in politics, a candidate turns his opponent’s strength into a weakness. In political jujutsu, assets can become liabilities. In 1992, Bill Clinton faced off against George H.W. Bush. The latter had been a congressman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, special envoy to China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Vice President of the United States. By contrast, Clinton was governor of the 32nd-largest state—Arkansas.
Give Donald Trump this: He has taught Americans something about the candidates he’s running against. He has exposed many of them as political cowards. In August, after Trump called undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists” and vowed to build a wall along America’s southern border, Jeb Bush traveled to South Texas to respond. Bush’s wife is Mexican American; he has said he’s “immersed in the immigrant experience”; he has even claimed to be Hispanic himself. Yet he didn’t call Trump’s proposals immoral or bigoted, since that might offend Trump’s nativist base. Instead, Bush declared: “Mr. Trump’s plans are not grounded in conservative principles. His proposal is unrealistic. It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
Jeb Bush's presidential run is going so badly that people don't even know if he's running. At least that's what the Google data says: With the fourth Republican debate tonight, the top Googled question about Bush is whether he's still running for president.
If Jeb Bush hasn't hit rock bottom, he's close — or at least as close as a son and brother of presidents and keeper of a $100 million war chest can get. His campaign has been forced to scale back its free-spending ways, he's fallen short in recent debate performances, he trails badly in polls of his home state, and now, a Quinnipiac Poll out Wednesday morning suggests the former Florida governor is stuck in the basement with the other longshots and bit-players.
“He needed a moment to assuage donor fears and it backfired. As much as people may say the Bush name is a hindrance, the reality is that his last name is the only thing keeping him in the conversation right now.” — A South Carolina Republican operative Ouch. That pretty much sums up all the reviews of Jeb Bush’s performance in last night’s CNBC debate. What was billed as a make-or-break night for him didn’t turn out very well. He appeared listless and dull on stage and afterwards snapped at a reporter who asked him what he thought of his performance saying: “It’s not a performance. I’m running for president of the United States.” It was not the night he needed to stem the bleeding of his wounded campaign.
We can't know what would have become of Jeb Bush’s presidential candidacy if Donald Trump had never entered the race, or if Bush's campaign could have avoided the damage it's incurred if it had awakened to Trump's durability sooner than it did. What we do know is that the events that actually transpired have left the former Florida governor, ahead of the third primary debate, at an existential crossroad. At this juncture, Bush's vision for his party probably won't survive unless he and the rest of the party establishment can accept three things:
The Bushes are burning as they consume the news. Bush family patriarch George H.W. Bush is alarmed, bewildered and irritated, the New York Times reported over the weekend, that his son Jeb is doing so poorly in a Republican presidential primary battle dominated by Donald Trump. The 41st president summoned his son George W., the 43rd president, Jeb and Bush money men to Houston for meetings Sunday and Monday to sort out what has gone so wrong that Jeb is now cutting staff.
This wasn't how it was supposed to go for Jeb Bush. When he entered the race, the former Florida governor was the establishment front-runner, bursting with big bucks from his own campaign and superPACs.
Jeb, this just isn’t going to work. After all that money spent, you’re still sagging nationally and in fourth place in New Hampshire, a state you need to win. You’ve had nearly a year to make your case. It isn’t working. You should pack it in.
Jeb Bush's campaign announcement speech was pretty good, I thought. The biggest problem was that it was delivered by a candidate named Bush. The core of Bush's message was simple: Democrats haven't delivered. "They have offered a progressive agenda that includes everything but progress," Bush raged. "They are responsible for the slowest economic recovery ever, the biggest debt increases ever, a massive tax increase on the middle class, the relentless buildup of the regulatory state, and the swift, mindless drawdown of a military that was generations in the making."
Republican Jeb Bush said on Wednesday that the Earth’s climate is changing but that scientific research does not clearly show how much of the change is due to humans and how much is from natural causes. Bush delved into climate politics during a campaign-style house party in New Hampshire at which he took questions from voters on his viewpoints as he considers whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
After three days of avoiding a statement almost any other politician would have made long ago, Jeb Bush finally said it on Thursday: His brother’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was a bad idea. “Knowing what we now know, I would not have engaged,” Bush said during a visit to Arizona. “I would not have gone into Iraq.”
Republican Jeb Bush reversed course and said that based on information now known, had it been up to him he would not have waged war against Iraq, putting some distance between himself and his brother, former President George W. Bush. Bush, who is expected to run for the Republican nomination for president, told Fox News in an interview broadcast this week that he would have authorized the invasion, referring to the drive into Iraq ordered by his brother in 2003.
“There will be blood.” That’s not just the title of the Oscar-winning 2007 film starring Daniel Day Lewis that I have watched about 20 times on cable. (I’m sorta of obsessed with it.) It’s also what we can expect to see in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination. Same goes for the Democratic presidential race if a well-funded challenger to Hillary Clinton emerges. Both Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush wants us to believe, though, that they are better than that and would not stoop to such tactics to win the GOP presidential nomination. These two holier-than-thou guys (especially Huckabee) want to be seen as the living, breathing manifestation of Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment: “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.
The dumbest controversy of Obamacare, by far, was when Sarah Palin took an anodyne provision directing Medicare to cover end-of-life care consultations and branded it a "death panel." Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who had backed the idea, was unsparing. "How someone could take an end-of-life directive or a living will as that is nuts," he said. PolitiFact gave Palin its coveted "Lie of the Year" award. But Palin won. The provision was deleted from the bill. And politicians learned to fear any discussion of end-of-life care, even though roughly 30 percent of Medicare's spending comes in the last six months of a patient's life.
Sure, every campaign’s goal is to make you want to have a beer with the candidate, but what if the candidate doesn’t particularly want to have a beer with you? That in a nutshell could well be the single biggest challenge facing the embryonic Jeb Bush-for-president campaign. Not Common Core. Not immigration reform. Not his last name. But a grueling, 600-plus-day slog that requires shaking thousands of hands and chatting with countless voters all over the country, when the candidate in question would just as soon disappear into a book.
Likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush delivered a nervous, uncertain speech on national security Wednesday, full of errors and confusion. Seeking to differentiate himself from his father and brother, both former presidents, the former governor of Florida asserted, "I am my own man." But that man who emerged on stage at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs did not sound well-versed in foreign policy. Bush’s clunky, rushed delivery paled in comparison to the hazy facts in the speech and vague answers he gave during a Q&A session following his remarks. Speaking of the extremist group based in Nigeria that has killed thousands of civilians, Bush referred to Boko Haram as “Beau-coup Haram.” Bush also referred to Iraq when he meant to refer to Iran.