Wednesday, October 21, 2015
After a nearly $20 million ad blitz, Jeb hasn't seen any appreciable gain in his poll numbers in New Hampshire or anywhere else for that matter. He has spent about four times more than the Donald so far, but has much less to show for it. Seems he should consult his grandchildren as to how to use twitter and instagram, as that is where Trump has been embarrassing him. But, Jeb is a traditionalist and will continue to campaign the old school way, even as his favorable rating among Republicans plummets.
It's tough to be part of a political family and not get the respect you feel you deserve. The GOP electorate is making it painfully clear they don't want another Bush, and the Donald is seizing on this sentiment to assail the record of his older brother. This forces Jeb deeper into the hole, as he has no choice but to defend his brother. To make matters worse, Jeb is having George stump for him as well. A few months ago this might have made sense, as George was enjoying some surprisingly high favorable ratings, but Trump has drug Iraq back into the fore, bringing all those nasty memories that come with it. There is a palpable Bush fatigue that all but ensures Jeb will not get the Republican nomination.
This is a pretty hard pill to swallow for a guy who has long been cultivated by the party establishment to be President. His older brother managed to slither into the White House in 2000, much to the surprise of everyone, and even secure a second term with popularity ratings below 50 per cent, as a result of the malingering wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Jeb was forced to finish his term as governor of Florida and sit out the Obama years, hoping that Republicans would forget the horrible mess of his older brother created, and see him as the "smart one" who would reclaim the Republican mantel.
The only problem is that Jeb hasn't been very smart, with this growing list of unfortunate comments. He has spoken poorly at the debates and on the campaign trail, failing to create any sense of confidence in his leadership skills. His record at Florida is so distant now that no one really cares, not that it was much to speak of. Also, the GOP electorate is determined to go with a non-establishment candidate this year, and you can't get anymore "establishment" than John Ellis Bush, with a political pedigree that goes back to his grandfather Prescott Sheldon Bush. He and Mitt can get together after this thing is over and commiserate with each other as to what might have been.
In the meantime, Trump continues to defy the odds and build his lead in the polls over everyone except the curious Ben Carson. There is talk now of these two joining forces to put the GOP field to rest before the first primary even takes place. Together, they control a whopping 49 per cent in the latest CNN national poll, with big leads in all the early primary and caucus states. It doesn't seem to matter what stupid things they say, their support doesn't falter.
Carly Fiorina's brief shining moment has quickly faded, and she now finds herself near the bottom of the pack once again. It's hard to believe her poor management at Hewlett Packard had anything to do with it, as Trump's bankruptcies haven't made a dent in his support. She just hasn't been able to capture the Republican electorate's imagination, even when she opts for the down-home-country girl look.
Still, Jeb clings to third in the CNN poll, tied with Marco Rubio. Real Clear Politics currently has Jeb in fifth place, trailing Rubio and Cruz. Dubya took a pot shot at Ted Cruz this week, saying "I just don't like that guy." Careful, Big Guy, you will probably only draw voters toward Ted, who believes he will be the ultimate recipient of the Trump followers. One can only imagine what Donald J. Trump thinks of that, as he hasn't tweeted any response that I know of yet.
Things could still fall Jeb's way, if these insurgent candidates start to squabble among each other, and diminish each other's dubious standing, as they did four years ago. But, so far, Jeb has been unable to make a dent in Trump's support, despite investing heavily in negative advertising. His sweeping allegations and bitter aspersions have deflected off Donald's teflon suit, and usually ended up hitting him right back in the face.
I might feel sorry for Jeb if he had anything to offer, but he has shown himself to be an even more hollow candidate than his brother. As you said Jeb, 'stuff happens," and it seems you just weren't meant to be President.