I don’t get Jeb Bush’s candidacy anymore. It made sense back in 2012. But in 2016 we have a crop of current, elected leaders who are actively engaged in the conversation of American politics and policy. It was always a bit much for Jeb Bush to come back into the game claiming relevance after leaving office in January of 2007.
Now? Having tried to be his own man — having tried to be “Jeb!” — he is having his mother and brother campaign for him and is riding on the grace and good manners of loyal Bush donors without expanding his base.
Bush donors cannot get Jeb Bush the nomination by themselves. And now his base of Bush donors is shrinking. The reality is, based on press reports, Jeb Bush is remaining in the race because the dispassionate analysis of an experienced governor has turned to personal animosity at his former charge, Marco Rubio, daring to stay in the race.
About the only difference between the Bush campaign’s animosity toward Marco Rubio and Donald Trump’s animosity toward Ted Cruz is that Jeb Bush has the good grace and sense not to get on twitter and bitch. But at this point I have to conclude the “if I can’t win, he can’t win” attitude has taken over as the prevailing modus operandi of the Bush campaign.
In New Hampshire, he gives no real justifications for himself other than Rubio and Cruz lack experience. Jeb Bush was a great conservative Governor of Florida, but at this point his campaign is a discredit to his own character and his family brand. For all the blame being hurled at Mike Murphy, the reality is that he is Jeb Bush’s guy and Jeb Bush could publicly criticize the Super PAC if he wanted. But he does not want to.
The Bush campaign hears these complaints and processes them as “they just want Marco, but they don’t know what we know about Marco, so we will show them.” Well, they’ve given it their best shot. They have not stopped Marco Rubio. But it is not about Marco Rubio anyway. It is about a candidate with no reason for remaining in the race, but who is using his money not to tout himself, but to keep the race from being able to further consolidate toward someone else. It is also a reinforcement that the Bush campaign sees its reason for being in the race to stop Marco at this point, not to get Jeb Bush the nomination.
It’s time for him to stand down and let someone else stop Trump and get the nomination. Every single day Jeb Bush stays in the race is another day the anti-Trump field cannot consolidate and is just one more day where Bush will not get the Republican nomination. It is obvious to everyone and I have to believe it should be obvious to Jeb Bush’s own campaign operation.
It is time for Governor Bush to stand down.