Jeb Bush entered the 2016 presidential election cycle with a plan. The plan was to push aside the twice failed Mitt Romney. Once he stepped aside, it was assumed everyone else, including Marco Rubio, would do the same.
The plan counted heavily on Bush’s record as the governor of Florida, but nothing took into account the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Bush confidants Sally Bradshaw and Mike Murphy were oblivious to the New York real estate mogul who launched his campaign just one day after Bush launched his.
Jeb struggled mightily to paint himself as his “own man”. He never had a chance. He met his Waterloo trying to defend his brother’s policies during an interview with Megyn Kelly when she asked, “On the subject of Iraq…obviously very controversial. Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”
Jeb answered, “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”
Asked if he thought it was a mistake Bush answered, “In retrospect the intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, not just the United States was faulty. And in retrospect, once we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn’t focus on security first. And the Iraqis, in this incredibly insecure environment, turned on the United States military because there was no security for themselves and their families. By the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well? George W. Bush. Yes, I mean, so just for the news flash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”
His response was disastrous. During that week Jeb changed his answer five times. Each walk-back answer was clumsier than the one before it.
Even before the first debate in August, Jeb commented that immigrants who come to the United States illegally did so as an “act of love”. Failing to calculate the blowback from that comment, Bush found himself being peppered with questions from reporters. His “comebacks” never seemed to materialize. By late August, Trump painted Bush as a “low energy” candidate. The moniker stuck.
Bush finished in sixth place in the Iowa Caucuses. Then came New Hampshire which his campaign deemed was “make or break”. Poor Jeb placed fourth behind Kasich and Cruz. The iconic moment of his campaign came when Jeb literally begged for applause saying, “Please clap.”
Jeb saw his campaign logo mocked to a fare-thee-well. The exclamation point at the end of his name began to appear limp and later changed to a question mark. By then the die was cast and the nation’s attention was turned to South Carolina. Bush pulled out all the stops. He brought in his 90-year-old mother Barbara Bush. On the eve of the South Carolina primary he brought in George and Laura Bush to rescue his campaign. When he lost on primary night he dropped out of the race.
Jeb spent $150 million in his bid for the presidency and failed miserably.
Now Jeb is making a pathetic attempt at being relevant as the GOP convention nears. The pain of being trounced so soundly is showing.
Earlier this week, Jeb was interviewed on MSNBC saying the “tragedy” of Trump’s nomination is that “there isn’t going to be a wall built and Mexico’s not going to pay for it. And there’s not going to be a ban on Muslims…This is all like an alternative universe…People are going to be deeply frustrated and the divides will grow in our country…I think people are really going to feel betrayed.”
Furthermore, baby Jebby asserted that Pope Francis intervened in American politics. He was referring to the Mass held at the US-Mexico border. Bush, who is Catholic, said he [the Pope] had every right to preach the Gospel there, but “I don’t think he should be intervening. I don’t know if he understood that he was intervening in our political affairs.”
It wasn’t enough that Jeb got to spout off on MSNBC; he penned an editorial for The Washington Post.
“While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future.”
“As much as I reject Donald Trump as our party leader, he did not create the political culture of the United States on his own.”
“Eight years of the divisive tactics of President Obama and his allies have undermined Americans’ faith in politics and government to accomplish anything constructive. The president has wielded his power — while often exceeding his authority — to punish his opponents, legislate from the White House and turn agency rulemaking into a weapon for liberal dogma.”
“In turn, a few in the Republican Party responded by trying to out-polarize the president, making us seem anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-common-sense.”
“The result has been the vanishing of any semblance of compromise or bipartisanship in our nation’s capital. Simple problems don’t get solved. Speeches happen; the important stuff doesn’t. The failure of elected leaders to break the gridlock in Washington has led to an increasingly divided electorate, which in turn has led to a breakdown in our political system.”
“Unfortunately, the understandable anger and fear haven’t given rise to a resurgence of purpose in politics or renewed a debate in our party about how Republicans win back the White House with the power of our ideas.”
“Instead, they have given rise to the success of a candidate who continues to grotesquely manipulate the deeply felt anger of many Americans. Trump’s abrasive, Know Nothing-like nativist rhetoric has blocked out sober discourse about how to tackle America’s big challenges.”
“And, on the left, Hillary Clinton promises to continue the disastrous foreign and economic policies of the Obama administration, as well as its hyper-partisanship. She has gone as far as to say Republicans are her “enemy” — a clear sign she doesn’t have any more interest in doing the hard work of forging consensus than her former boss does.”