Friday, October 30, 2015


A 112-page analysis of the Republican presidential race prepared by Jeb Bush's campaign has been leaked to U.S. News, presumably by the campaign, in order to demonstrate that, heck yeah, Jeb's still in it to win it.

The report's harsh words about Marco Rubio are getting most of the attention -- but I'm more interested in the preview of Jeb's upcoming comeback campaign, and how it continues not to deliver what Republican voters want these days:
... the campaign also previewed the types of ads it would run, listing "Denisha," a story about an African-American student who took advantage of Bush's voucher program, as a potential spot.

The document implies that Jeb plans to roll out this ad for early contests -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada.

Really? This ad? An ad about how a young woman -- a young black woman -- got to college because of a government program championed by Bush when he was governor? That's going to appeal to the Republican voter base?

Yes, the young woman says the magic word "voucher" -- but she describes the program as one that was intended "to give low-income kids an opportunity to go to a private school."

Two problems with that. First, the Republican voter base thinks low-income people get too much help and the middle class doesn't get enough. Second, she says the program allowed beneficiaries to go to a "private" school. Why not rewrite the copy to say "a private or religious school"? That would be an accurate description of the program (which is why it was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006). Invoking religion would be catnip to the GOP base, which thinks there's a war on Christianity, and which backs voucher programs in large part because they're perceived as a counterattack in that war.

No, Jeb's campaign is never going to recover. He has no idea how to appeal to a modern Republican electorate.


John Robinson said...

Ol' Jeb(!), aka "the smarter one", appears to have completely forgotten that there was a primary campaign he had to get through first. Who knew that GW Bush was the smartest one.

Dark Avenger said...

JEB! clearly doesn't enjoy campaigning, and won't trouble his beautiful mind with trying to understand the electorate. After all, he's a Bush. Isn't that good enough for the Republicans this time around!

Unknown said...

JR, leaving the question of what constitutes "intelligence", I get the impression that George is simply more focused and direction-oriented when it comes to things campaign managers really like candidates to do. But there's also just as strong an impression left that Jeb is both more curious and more prone to doubt, and those two things typically signal more what's generally meant and understood as "intelligence"; for example, it seems to me that Jeb's style of thinking would result in better school performance and a more dutiful & obedient family person. I can well imagine why the parents would consider Jeb the more promising of the two.

And quite apart from that, what, after all, did President GWB 'accomplish', other than the sorts of things that lead presidential historians towards comparisons with the likes of Presidents Buchanan, the first Johnson & Harding as to who was our worst ever POTUS?

GWB failed in several business ventures,
was bailed out of one in the oil & gas industry & a profit was contrived for him in a sports entertainment investment;
he was elected governor of a decidedly rightwing, corporate haven the-fix-is-in of a state with the weakest governor model in the nation;
his first 'victory' in a POTUS election was contrived for him by combination of vote shenanigans in a state where his own brother was governor with a nakedly partisan majority in the SCOTUS that invented a constitutional remedy deliberately and narrowly aimed at installing him in office;
given what went on in Ohio in 2004, it's not actually clear he legitimately won re-election; and all that apart from the truly awful things like almost 10k Americans dying horribly in NYC & Iraq & Afghanistan, & multiple times that many being wounded, disabled, their lives otherwise compromised & even ruined;
the Bush tax cuts;
contributing to dismantling the New Deal;
the rise of the total surveillance state; running the administration like a branch of wingnut welfare; and
overseeing the worst economic crisis in 8 decades.
OTOH, some people have written nice things about his efforts towards dealing with the AIDS crisis in Africa - which, I submit, isn't really sufficient to justify calling him the 'smarter' Bush son.

Cirze said...

Sure he does.

Methinks he's already looking past (notice the bored demeanor?) the crazies and going for the election gambit his staff has planned.

He's (or he thinks he's) holding himself separate from the clown car for a good reason.

It will play well with the Reagan Democrats.

Who are still legion.


"He has no idea how to appeal to a modern Republican electorate."

Unknown said...

Cirze, that's because they've reached cannibalism, and Jeb's the fattest Piggy's still upright.

For a while I was concerned THAT all the now-traditional pre-voting Clown Car positional jousting would achieve would be to end with having improved the chances for Kasich - who I assumed as the most marketable version of Reagan Arisen.

But I was way off in my thinking. I made a mistake: I forget my essential Rick Perlstein. Reaganism was never the fundamental state of nature for these bizarros.

In the beginning - the beginning being right after 'America Whupped The World' in WWII - there was Nixon. HUAC & McCarthyism were manifestations of what was realized in Nixonland. Nixon was there the entire time. Nixon was terrible, Nixon was awkward, Nixon was paranoia embodied, Nixon was almost universally despised & reviled - but Nixon BARELY lost in 1960, & survived to beat back Reagan to reclaim control out of the embers of 1968, then to revel in Apocalyptic victory over lib'rulism in 1972.

Watergate was the end for Nixon, but just a setback for Nixonland; it returned in the sunny form of Reagan, with a vengeance. We haven't spent the last 80 years WAITING for eemergence of the nightmare scenario voiced by Sinclair Lewis in "Babbit" - it ARRIVED, in the form of the preternaturally sunny, glib, self-satisfied spokesperson in chief, Reagan.

Everything since, all we're witnessing (LIVING in!) now, is in the natural order of things. This is what Nixonland looks like; this IS Nixonland.

If not Rubio, then Cruz. Either would be a natural heir to Nixon. All the rest are fleeting distractions.