October 29, 2015

And now, it's really too late for Jeb Bush.

On October 22, I said "It's time for Jeb Bush to withdraw and endorse Marco Rubio":
You may think it's a little early for this, but... somebody needs to emerge as the political mainstream candidate, and I think that person will be Rubio, sooner or later. Jeb Bush should figure that out and do something to help now, when it would be most helpful. Jeb's candidacy has failed. Not completely, not yet, but he hasn't built his poll numbers, he's lost ground, and his self-presentation has been weak. I like his mild manner, but it's "low energy," as Trump puts it, and, as I'd put it, just not competitive and forceful enough to gain ground in this field. Rubio, by contrast, has some combative heft....

Jeb can...  embrace and throw his full support to Rubio when Rubio needs it to get traction for the hard climb to the nomination. Do it now, Jeb, when it matters so much. 
The next day, after when the news came out that Jeb had to drastically cut back his campaign spending, I repeated my plea:
Hey, I said it yesterday: "It's time for Jeb Bush to withdraw and endorse Marco Rubio." Don't fight him. Help him. It's too late and too dire for anything else. Now's your chance to help the moderate GOP cause. Fighting Rubio is not the answer! Be practical and realistic.
It's too late and too dire for anything else... and now, after last night, it's too late even for that.

Jeb blew his chance to embrace Rubio, to be central to Rubio's emergence as the serious mainstream frontrunner. I couldn't believe it. Jeb, who knew he needed to do something to stand out, chose to butt in — it was not even his turn — and pile onto Rubio over a pointless question from the CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla, who brought up the Sun-Sentinel editorial telling Rubio he "should resign, not rip us off... Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job...you act like you hate your job, do you?" (Everyone running for office who holds a current position is avoiding doing that job. I don't know why it's accepted, but I don't really care to see one individual lambasted about what has been the norm for as long as I can remember.)

Rubio answered very effectively and got a big, positive response from the crowd:
RUBIO: Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement. It's actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.
Quintanilla lamely tried to repose his question: "Well, do you hate your job?" How does that deserve an answer?

Rubio, obviously prepared, gives a great answer, detailing Democrats who've run for President while Senator, the percentage of votes they missed, and the absence of calls for their resignation — Bob Graham, John Kerry, and, finally, Barack Obama. The Sun-Sentinel endorsed them all.
RUBIO: So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement.
Great answer. Perfect answer. This man is doing exactly what he needs to do, showing what it's like to speak forcibly, directly on point, not defensively, but persuasively. And this is when Jeb decides to butt in:
BUSH: Could I -- could I bring something up here, because I'm a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field. He's a gifted politician. But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate -- what is it, like a French work week? 
That must be a scripted joke. French work week?
You get, like, three days where you have to show up? You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida as well, they're looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day.
You say you "helped him" and now you take an unforced shot at him... over a dumb, made-up issue?! Where is the judgment? I guess getting behind Rubio and helping him again is not one of the really cool things you can do instead of running for President.

And now, since Bush attacked Rubio, Rubio has a right to respond. Seeing that his erstwhile friend has decided to try to wreck him with that "French work week" joke, he takes a clean, fact-based shot:
RUBIO: Well, it's interesting. Over the last few weeks, I've listened to Jeb as he walked around the country and said that you're modeling your campaign after John McCain, that you're going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you're now modeling after?
Jeb says, "He wasn't my senator." As if we took it seriously when Bush said he needed to insert himself into this (non)controvery because "I'm a constituent of the senator." Rubio ignores that and continues:
RUBIO: No Jeb, I don't remember -- well, let me tell you. I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.
Jeb should have realized that he should already be helping his old friend, but "someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you." It's not going to help him, and what's really sad is that it's closed the door to his helping Rubio.

Bush blithers "Well, I've been..." and Rubio says "Here's the bottom line," which gets big applause, and...
I'm not -- my campaign is going to be about the future of America, it's not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage. 
.... leaving his old friend in the dust.
RUBIO: I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I'm not running against Governor Bush, I'm not running against anyone on this stage. I'm running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.
And so ends the sad tale of Jeb Bush, the man with cooler things to do than to help the man with the best hope of returning the Presidency to his party.

61 comments:

Rusty said...

"And now, it's really too late for Jeb Bush."



Yay

bleh said...

Wait. Why can't Jeb help Rubio now or in the future? This little dust up was very minor compared to what went on between Hillary and Barack in 2008, for example.

sinz52 said...

The center-right of the GOP (Northeast, Northwest, Rust Belt, Florida, and yours truly) will now coalesce around Rubio.

Meanwhile, the right wing of the GOP will continue to battle it out between Carson, Trump, and Cruz.

Best ticket to go up against Hillary: Rubio for President, Carly for VP.

Mark said...

Jeb doesn't want the job, it couldn't be more apparent he desperately wants out of the race.

Phil 314 said...

Rubio continues to do well in the debates. But who am I to judge;I've thought Trump did poorly each time.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wait. Why can't Jeb help Rubio now or in the future? This little dust up was very minor compared to what went on between Hillary and Barack in 2008, for example."

He can help him. He just missed his opportunity to be significant. He's not a big man. Who cares what he thinks? He needs to melt back into the night.

Bay Area Guy said...

Well, when you're right, you're right, Althouse. Governor Bush can raise lotsa dough through his family connections, but he has demonstrated almost 0 excitement among primary voters. And he looked real wimpy up on the stage - like the Supreme Beta Male that he is.

Yes, he should quit and throw his full support to Rubio. And, yet, if he stays and wins the nomination, God forbid, I'd still vote have to vote for him because Hillary is that awful.

Tank said...

At this point in the process, McCain was also "done."

Unfortunately, he wasn't.

Ann Althouse said...

Asked about his greatest weakness, Jeb said: "I am by my nature impatient. And this is not an endeavor that rewards that. You gotta be patient. You gotta be -- stick with it, and all that."

Stick with it, and all that... He doesn't want to stick with it. It's like he's repeating his coach's pep talk but he thinks the coach is annoying and keeping him from doing cool things.

If he doesn't even want to do it, why not help somebody else? He doesn't want to play unless he can be the leader. And this is just what he's letting show. His temperament is just weird. Who knows what's going on behind the scenes? I'm sure it's painful. But where is the foresight? Where is the grace and decency?

rehajm said...

Jeb tweaked his burn rate to wait out flavor of the moment moments. The field will inevitably thin. The Candy Crowleys are ready for Rubio.

The election is next November.

MayBee said...

Jeb would be a really solid president, but he isn't being a good candidate.

Heartless Aztec said...

Well stated Professor.

Tank said...

The person who should resign is Rince Priebus.

And get a real name too.

MayBee said...

I don't see any reason to unnaturally winnow the field. As rehajm says, there's over a year left.

Nobody can tell me they thought the Democratic candidates communicated nearly as well as the Republican candidates in these debates, especially this debate. I like people seeing how deep and talented the GOP primary field is.

Known Unknown said...

By most measures, Jeb Bush was a successful governor of a key state. Unfortunately, his time has come and gone (couldn't run against his own brother in 2004, and the Bush name was pretty toxic by 2008.)

The Preezy window? Shut.

David Begley said...

Jeb is set to be at a big GOP event in Des Moines on Saturday.

bleh said...

Jeb can still help Rubio. Jeb has supporters, believe it or not. Wealthy and connected ones.

And Jeb did Rubio an enormous favor by making Rubio a target of the Establishment candidate, which makes Rubio appear to be more of an upstart movement conservative than Jeb's lapdog. That was always Rubio's greatest vulnerability: is he his own man or is he just an Establishment tool facilitating Jeb's coronation? I think we know now that he's his own man.

GRW3 said...

Sometimes, I get the feeling that Trump's whole plan is to torpedo Bush's run. Perhaps he feels we cannot stand another four years of Bush nobles oblige where they, and the conservative cause, just take the brickbats of the left without complaint.

The thing I always find amazing about the global Bush story is that nobody ever gets the Ross Perot story right. Ross Perot was a big supporter of Jim Wright. Jim pushed a lot of work and opportunity to Perot and his company, EDS. Running against Bush was payback. This was common knowledge in Texas at the time.

Tank said...

Who should drop out now? Should anyone drop out now? Well, who has the most votes so far, and who has the least? Who has won and who has lost the primaries and caucuses so far?

Hagar said...

I don't understand it; we have always been told that Jeb! is the smart one in the family, but I sure don't remember W. fumbling around like this.
"The little brown one" would have made a better candidate.

Bay Area Guy said...

As I recall, Rubio was the first and largest Tea Party success story. Florida had this weasel GOP Governor Charlie Crist, who made Jeb look like the man of steel. Crist thought he would waltz into the Senate in 2010 by divine right, but Rubio upset him in the primary with Tea Party support, and then went on to win the Senate seat.

Rubio-Fiorina in 2016!

pm317 said...

Did not expect Jeb to be this boring, awkward, stuttering, on and on along the same lines.

Sebastian said...

"Rubio's emergence as the serious mainstream frontrunner"

Right on.

In principle, I would have preferred a governor, but the governors are all flawed--Jindal is a non-starter, Bush is a Bush and a bad candidate, Christie and Kasich are too far left for the party. So are the outsiders--Carson is not prepared to be POTUS, Trump is a loose cannon who can't win, Fiorina is tethered to HP. Of the Senators, Paul has no chance, Cruz can't win the general. By a process of rational elimination, that leaves Rubio.

Who happens to be a very good candidate. He is young, articulate, handsome, even a tiny bit cool. He is conservative and loves this country. He is the one person who can unify the party, reach out to moderates, LIVs, and (yes) Hispanics, and make a credible play for the swing states.

But he has one liability and one problem. The liability is immigration, and the related perception that he is too soft to handle the Progs. There's a solution for that: he needs a VP who will send the unmistakable signal that he won't go soft, someone without baggage who will rally the base and take the fight to Hillary! and the Dems. There happens to one person who fits that role perfectly: Ted Cruz. Carly would be fine, but she has major baggage and won't have the same galvanizing effect on core Republican constituencies, especially Evangelicals. Ted's major baggage is that he is not a team player, particularly in the Senate, but that won't matter in the general. Of course, he'd have to swallow his pride. But running for VP is his path to power: win or lose, he'd be next-in-line. And he could even make a deal that if the Senate shapes up the right way, he'd replace RBG on SCOTUS, which would be an utterly perfect freak-out move by President Rubio.

Rubio/Cruz: the first majority-minority ticket in American history. It would excite the GOP. These guys can do all that is necessary, including the late-night talk shows. They'd have a shot.

Of course, Rubio still has a problem: Trump. But as a middle-of-the-mainstream GOP voter I trust others will reach the same conclusion before long, neutralizing Trump in the primaries that matter.

Who knows, maybe AA will even have trouble inventing a reason why Rubio "lost" her. What would seal the deal -- a pledge that Cruz won't go to SCOTUS?

Wilbur said...

Although I will not vote for him in the primary, Bush was an excellent two-term governor in my state, and were he the nominee I'd certainly vote for him.

But in politics, timing is everything. He has lacked a window in which to run. Them's the breaks.

Writ Small said...

Jeb has a better resume, but boy did that exchange show why Rubio is the better candidate and the better man.

When Rubio speaks, it's obvious he's devoted his thinking how to win and how to lead. Jeb's words reveal he is distracted and has not thought things through.

That said, Jeb's ineffectual attacks will help Rubio more than an endorsement would have.

MayBee said...

He is young, articulate, handsome, even a tiny bit cool. He is conservative and loves this country.

This is very very true of Marco Rubio. Nobody is a better advocate (verbally) for the conservative cause.

Grackle said...

It will become harder and harder to ignore Cruz as a major candidate. Rubio is the Walker prosthesis for those hoping to sustain the progressive/establishment gains of this century with another squish. Wasn't necessary until Bush continued to fail to light and Governor McCheese dropped out.

Sebastian said...

"It will become harder and harder to ignore Cruz as a major candidate"

No one is ignoring Cruz. But anyone who thinks about recent electoral history will realize that swing states that failed to break for Romney are unlikely to go for Cruz.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

But Jeb did help Marco last night, don't you see?

Brando said...

Bush gives the impression he is only running because he feels like he is supposed to. He doesn't seem to have a purpose.

Rubio seems sharp and prepared, and provides good optics--young, telegenic, and Hispanic--and puts him in a good position to face Hillary and provide a contrast that can unite the right and even pull over moderates.

Haven't seen the debate yet, will have to Youtube it, but most of what I've seen from conservative and liberal pundits is saying Rubio won it last night with Cruz pulling second.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Jeb also took the wrong fork in the road when the moderator brought up fantasy football. Chris Christie reset the mood with his "what the hell" style response the vapidity of that line of question when the audience, the candidates and the viewers at home all wanted SUBSTANCE instead of stupid gotcha questions. Jeb chose poorly.

Time for a bye-ku for Jeb!

Brando said...

"No one is ignoring Cruz. But anyone who thinks about recent electoral history will realize that swing states that failed to break for Romney are unlikely to go for Cruz."

Unless this country got a lot more conservative, Ted Cruz will never get elected president. If you just want to see someone mouth off at Hillary and get a lot of attention doing so on his way to about 40% of the national vote, then have fun with Cruz. If you want to keep Hillary out of office--where she has already promised that she will abuse executive authority to give her side goodies--consider someone who can win FL, VA, and OH. Without them you can put a fork in it.

Martha said...

Amazing that the cognoscenti claimed for years that Jeb! was the smart Bush and Jeb! not W should have been President.
Turns out W is the alpha male and Jeb! is a whining entitled has been.

Tank said...

Brando said...

"No one is ignoring Cruz. But anyone who thinks about recent electoral history will realize that swing states that failed to break for Romney are unlikely to go for Cruz."

Unless this country got a lot more conservative, Ted Cruz will never get elected president. If you just want to see someone mouth off at Hillary and get a lot of attention doing so on his way to about 40% of the national vote, then have fun with Cruz. If you want to keep Hillary out of office--where she has already promised that she will abuse executive authority to give her side goodies--consider someone who can win FL, VA, and OH. Without them you can put a fork in it.


This sounds ... familiar. Oh yeah, it's EXACTLY what we were told about McCain and Romney.

Bay Area Guy said...

Yeah, I don't think anyone is ignoring Cruz. For some reason, Conservatives are sitting undecided or supporting Trump/Carson/Fiorina, when Cruz is their natural political fit. I think Conservatives should coalesce around Cruz, and moderates should coalesce around Rubio, and those 2 should battle it out for the nomination - mano a mano!

And, importantly, the defeated candidate, should be able to gracefully re-unite his political troops with the victor to provide a unified front against the atrocious Hillary Clinton.

The plan is shaping up!

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

If I were a candidate, I would not want anyone with the last name BUSH - helping me.

Bush needs to go away and STFU.

Sebastian said...

"Oh yeah, it's EXACTLY what we were told about McCain and Romney."

Oh yeah, Santorum or Huckabee or Gingrich or Cain would have smoked those swing states in '12.

traditionalguy said...

The Connecticut Bush elite ruling dynasty just CANNOT withdraw to empower a worker Cuban with a popular following. Their imaginary self image does not permit that. So take this Tea Party and shove it. Bush is still as rich as ever.

Bob Boyd said...

When it comes to Bush boys being President it's looking like America has a one child policy.

Brando said...

"This sounds ... familiar. Oh yeah, it's EXACTLY what we were told about McCain and Romney."

Ok--let's go with that for a minute. McCain and Romney both lost by 6-7 points, the former during a third term itch election with the economy falling apart under a GOP president and an Iraq war that was very unpopular. Romney lost during a weak but noticeable economic recovery. Neither was a terrific candidate, this is true. But are you suggesting any of their primary opponents--"more conservative" ones, as implied by you bringing this up in reference to Cruz--would have done better in those elections? Who were these more conservative candidates that you think would have done better?

I note in 2008 Romney was running to McCain's right--so did the conservatives get their wish with Romney in 2012?

Brando said...

"Oh yeah, Santorum or Huckabee or Gingrich or Cain would have smoked those swing states in '12."

Exactly.

Saint Croix said...

When I was a kid, we used to play a game called Kill the Man With the Ball.

So Jeb Bush has the ball. And he's on the bottom. Rubio has already tackled the guy, smacked him down. And many other Republicans have jumped on top.

And now here comes Althouse, who is like this 6'10, 260 linebacker who is jumping on the pile.

(This is a metaphor).

And even if you want to say that Althouse is, intellectually speaking, a 5'6, 120 pound linebacker jumping on the pile, it still fucking hurts. Have you ever played Kill the Man With the Ball? There's no whistle, man.

Anyway, she's piling on. Fun!

(Also it kind of reminds me of "the agony of defeat").

Tank said...

Brando said...
"This sounds ... familiar. Oh yeah, it's EXACTLY what we were told about McCain and Romney."

Ok--let's go with that for a minute. McCain and Romney both lost by 6-7 points, the former during a third term itch election with the economy falling apart under a GOP president and an Iraq war that was very unpopular. Romney lost during a weak but noticeable economic recovery. Neither was a terrific candidate, this is true. But are you suggesting any of their primary opponents--"more conservative" ones, as implied by you bringing this up in reference to Cruz--would have done better in those elections? Who were these more conservative candidates that you think would have done better?

I note in 2008 Romney was running to McCain's right--so did the conservatives get their wish with Romney in 2012?


No, Romney was not able to speak about conservative values, because he is not a conservative.

In THIS election cycle there are MANY solid actual conservatives running. Many good candidates. Let's try to elect one of them.

Brando said...

"In THIS election cycle there are MANY solid actual conservatives running. Many good candidates. Let's try to elect one of them."

I agree with that, but I think Rubio is one of them.

I also think it's possible for some conservatives to be able to appeal to moderates, and for other conservatives to be unable to do so. I'd rather see the former nominated so there's a chance they can win and implement that vision (or prevent the implementation of a leftist vision) than nominate the latter with a sure loss.

damikesc said...

GW Bush was the better Bush. Who knew?

I've seen a TON of Jeb ads here in SC (I can't think of any ad I've seen more on local TV in the last few weeks than his). He is polling not much better than Lindsay Graham who is a cruel, cruel joke of a candidate.

We should go ahead and tell Pataki, Gilmore, Graham, and Jindal (and I like Jindal) to pack it up because they are going nowhere. I'd love to tell Huckster to do the same, but I doubt it's as pressing as the guy who are within a margin of error of 0 to stop it.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Great summation of the Bush-Rubio exchange. Bush is truly done after that moment.

Kasich, who never was a factor except in the hopes and dreams of the MSM, is completely invisible now after he was Rand Pauled by Trump. John "that's why you are way down there on the end" Kasich, the Governor of Ohio. Speaking of Rand Paul, I never thought he would have been such a terrible candidate. He has some popular positions and he seemed to resonate a few years ago. I guess he is like the minor-league guy who can't hit a curve and is exposed in the big show.

Several of these guys could salvage some credibility if they would exit the stage quickly.

walter said...

"Well, do you hate your job?"

Although I agree Rubio cleaned up on this exchange, he might ave been more vulnerable if he was more directly quoted:

“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio said in an interview. “I’m frustrated.”Now, he’s done. “He hates it,” a longtime friend from Florida said, speaking anonymously to say what Rubio would not.

But on immigration, he's the only one I've heard invoke the compelling scenario of his legal immigrant constituents complaining to him about violators. Pair that with the issue of folks ariound the world waiting years on lottery..the chance to plead their case..and you have a real offense against the supposed "mean-spirited" arguments put forth by the left..and wobblies like Kasich.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sebastian: Of course, Rubio still has a problem: Trump. But as a middle-of-the-mainstream GOP voter I trust others will reach the same conclusion before long, neutralizing Trump in the primaries that matter.

I can't see disillusionment with Trump translating into votes for Rubio. I didn't watch the debates, but noticed much wailing and gnashing of teeth this morning in Trumpy-land, about a clueless, textbook GOPey response to an H-1B question, his failure to pummel Rubio on his immigration weak points, and perceptipon that he's retreating into standard establishment b.s. on immigration.

Contrary to the fond belief of the Party Faithful here (who imo suffer more from see-no-evil true-believin' than the Trumpistas), I didn't see much evidence of supporters trying to explain away Dear Leader's crapping-out on them. They're sad, very sad. Sad Pepe faces everywhere.

No way that means they're therefore going to go out and vote for a guy who's already flipped them off on immigration, and certainly will again. (Talk about "cult followers" - is there anything funnier than a Rubio supporter (one who cares about the issue, that is) arguing that "he's learned his lesson on immigration"? I remember when all the conservatards were clucking that about McCain.)

I have the impression that Trump support also has a base in people who want nothing to do with the neo-con retread foreign policy endorsed by other candidates. So going sour on Trump isn't going to improve the attractiveness of the other guys to them. I predict they'll either vote for Trump, because the other guys' are still a worse choice to them, or stay home like they did last time.

eric said...

Rubio really impressed me last night. He looked calm. In command. Relaxed. Forceful. Knew the issues. It was well done.

He isn't my top candidate, but I can get behind him if he is the nominee.

JackWayne said...

If this is the year of the outsider then it will be Cruz, not Rubio. If Rubio gets it, then we will see that the moderates still predominate in the Republican Party.

Beach Brutus said...

In light of Jeb's "I got other things to do" statement, is it possible that last night was his way of taking a fall -- and doing it in a way that helps his protege?

eric said...

The one bad thing about Rubio last night that I hadn't realized before but was reminded of this morning seeing a picture of the debate.

Is Rubio really short? He looks short. And in politics, short can be as bad as fat.

Sebastian said...

"If Rubio gets it, then we will see that the moderates still predominate"

No. Moderates plus sane conservatives who actually want to win in swing states.

With Cruz as VP to solidify the base.

walter said...

At 5' 10", 2 inches taller than either Cruz or Paul. In the 2 shot with Trump (6'2") seemed a lot shorter.
Shrillary? 5'7"
Berno? 6'

All very important data points....especially if they box or wrassle.

walter said...

Probably a larger factor in his case is looking and sounding very young.

walter said...

Well..might be some disagreement over Hil's stature here

walter said...

Maybe there should be some cage matches. International pay per view, online betting..strictly for defecit reduction.

Alexander said...

The big bullshit moment for me was Jeb! trying to pull the 'as a constituent' card.

A technical truth that covers a multitude of bullshit. Like Jeb! is some regular Joe who has no way recourse with government or way of being heard if he can't trust his Senator to go out and fight for him!

Really, Jeb!, really? I hate to break it to you but even though we're all accustomed to mocking lifetime politicians who call themselves 'outsiders', you are tied in first for hostility towards this sort of bullshit, in a year with a particularly low tolerance towards it.

He certainly screwed up after that point, but frankly once he pulled that line he could have come out with the most robust, eloquent, mind-piercingly clear and undoubtedly true destruction of Rubio and I still would have wanted to punch Jeb! in the face on the principle itself.

Maybe Rubio works a French work week, but Jeb! is Gaulling.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"When I was a kid, we used to play a game called Kill the Man With the Ball."

We called that same game "Smear the Queer". We were innocent of any homophobic intent in doing so, however.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

That's disappointing. Jeb is the best mediocrity big money can buy.