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Monday, July 24, 2017

In retrospect, maybe we weren’t fair to Mitt Romney.

The 2016 GOP primary, featuring the rise of Donald Trump and the floundering of Jeb Bush, has revealed that Mitt wasn’t so terrible a candidate compared to this year’s crew of birthers, war-mongers, theocratic dominionists, and delusional tycoons — including some who fit all four categories.

We made fun of the former governor of Massachusetts in 2012 as he was eclipsed, one by one, by a parade of bumbling wannabes, despite spending tens of millions of dollars more than any of his opponents. We mocked his robotic lack of charm, his inability to empathize with millions of workers suffering as the result of conservative policies, and his willingness to heed the same Bush/Cheney foreign policy team that lied us into Iraq.

Okay, we were right to do that.

But we also mocked Mitt for saying that he liked to fire people. This year we’ve learned that his biggest mistake was that he didn’t say that he loves to fire people. He should have had his own network TV show where he was cheered for firing people. The end credits should have featured him flying away in his private helicopter, laughing maniacally as he pursued his third or fourth wife.

Many pundits suggest that Romney’s mere mention of “self-deportation” once in a GOP debate cost him the Latino vote and the election. But Mitt’s real problem was that he didn’t call for actual deportation, like: “I will immediately begin Operation Wetback II after I build a wall out of immigrants’ skulls.”

Thanks to Trump, we now know that many Republican voters eat up that stuff, like a take-home box from Golden Corral that never makes it home.

The issues we thought cost Mitt the election — his wealth, his disregard for workers’ job security, his immigration policies — could have been his greatest assets. By embracing all of these “flaws,” Trump has confirmed the worst suspicions about a surprisingly large slice of the GOP base and displayed a resiliency in polls that Romney didn’t attain until late in the GOP primary.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush’s numbers are dwindling somewhere within the 2012 range between Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. He’s the real life-version of the robotic, soulless, gaffe-prone Mitt Romney we parodied in the last election cycle. Not only does he have the baggage of the worst presidency in our lifetime in his genes, he also has no record of accomplishment beyond winning the birth lottery and serving as Florida’s governor during the inflationary curve of a housing bubble. And he thinks other people don’t understand the value of “earned success.”

Mitt has actually helped some people — and not just by losing in 2012. He’s an extraordinarily charitable dude, especially to his church. And his health care reforms were largely driven by Democratic ideas, but he made them law in Massachusetts and helped sanctify a template that has now greatly expanded health coverage in 2016 America.

Mitt ran against his own reforms in 2012, promising that they would destroy America as we know it. He did this because his past record of being pro-choice and backing health insurance for poor people appeared to doom his primary campaign. But Trump has proved there’s a simple response to any Republican who dares question his conservative credentials: Reagan was once a Democrat, and I’m more scared of brown people than you are.

Jeb Bush is trying to rerun Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign — but as a farce.

He refuses to be complicit in the xenophobia that’s supercharging the campaigns of Trump and Ben Carson — but he assumed that relatively decent position with an attitude reeking of condescension — and it quickly fell apart as he mysteriously decided to utter the “anchor baby” slur that immigration activists despise.

Beyond that, he’s repeating many of Romney’s worst errors — going after Planned Parenthood, for instance — but framing it in impossibly offensive ways (“I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues“) that demand immediate revision.

When Bush said of the mass shooting at an Oregon community college last week that “Stuff happens,” his remark was wrenched from context to make him seem more heartless. But he wasn’t just being tin-eared. He was expressing his actual policy toward murderous rampages like this latest tragedy and Sandy Hook: We have to expect them and not overreact by trying to prevent them.

Mitt Romney tried to pretend he wasn’t cutting his own taxes because he knew that was a terrible message to send, given that he was trying to gut Social Security and Medicare because of “debt concerns.” Jeb Bush admits that his tax cuts would give him $3 million a year as he proposes immediate cuts to Social Security.  “I mean, that’s just the way it is,” he said.

He’s arguing that we can’t afford the current version of the program that keeps many, many Americans out of poverty, but we can afford $3.6 trillion in tax breaks that go mostly to the rich AND a third Bush War in Iraq.

It’s awful enough when a Republican promises to reprise the worst policies of the second Bush administration. But when an actual Bush does so, with zero humility and no sense of the tremendous damage that his brother’s actions have done to America and the world, it’s offensive beyond description.

And watching him applaud his brother for “keeping us safe” because only one 9/11 — along with one Iraq War, one Katrina non-response, and one disastrous financial crisis — happened on W.’s watch, there aren’t enough metaphorical thrown shoes in the world to display the proper amount of derision. And now it seems he wants to drag W. out on campaign trail.

If Jeb Bush’s flaming pile of a presidential campaign were a presidency, it would be George W. Bush’s.

When Liz Cheney tried to run in a GOP primary in 2014, she dropped out before the first vote was cast. Jeb Bush would be doing a huge favor to himself and America if he did the same.

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks during the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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46 Responses to Why Jeb Bush Is The Worst Major Presidential Candidate We’ll Ever See

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  2. I must confessed that I am perplexed at how badly Jeb Bush is doing. In my opinion, his problems range from not being charismatic, being unable to connect with the average American, his brother’s legacy, an attempt to portray himself as a radical far winger in a futile attempt to challenge Trump, and an uncanny ability to put his foot in his mouth.
    From an unbiased perspective, I believe that Jeb, Kasich, and Rubio are the only GOP candidates whose qualifications and policy proposals – before the Trump phenomena forced them to move to the far right – should have a legitimate chance at the GOP nomination. However, the chances of politicians like them to succeed in a party thirsty for facile solutions to achieve their narrow goals are small to nil.

    • There’s two reasons he’s tanking harder by the second.

      First off, the weary exasperation of an American public that knows the double-talk and can’t stand it anymore; Like the Edsel, he’s piling on the code phrases at a point where neither the base nor the non-conservative care to hear the wishy-washy BS.

      Second, he doesn’t have a Dick Cheney in his corner to keep him from torpedoing his own campaign like W did.

    • I can hold my nose as Kasich speaks because he is slightly more reasonable in some ways than the others. Rubio is just a plain, disgusting opportunist who was put into office, along with the hairless cipher in the governor’s mansion, by the large community of redneck yahoos and duped crackpots in Florida. His reported sugar daddy is a multimillionaire automobile dealer in Florida, who appears to know a willing, obedient political servant when he sees one.

    • I don’t think Kasich or Rubio have a chance. I’m sure Trump and Carson will go down in flames. I think we’re looking at a Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio ticket. *shudder*.

      • I would not be surprised if the GOP pulls a last minute surprise and nominates someone that is not currently running for the nomination, such as Mitt Romney.

  3. I think the man is caught between family and country. His family has done nothing for this country — and the country wants nothing to do with his family.
    Two Bushes already is one too many. A third would be catastrophic.

  4. JEB is just one more middle aged white male who plays that “Knows it ALL” game to the hilt. When it comes to substance, he has none. And, he is now the 3rd Bush brother to be involved in a bankruptcy with the brother whose Silverado S&L bankruptcy was also dumped on taxpayers.

    This is a generation of males who loathe the idea that they must break a sweat to earn their livings. They want it all, want it as easy as they can get it and don’t give a damn who takes the hit for their hideous brand of ME, ME, ME conservatism.

    JEB isn’t the worst candidate. He just the wrong candidate and thus far every time he opens his mouth more of that swaggering, drawling CONfederate ideology shows who and what he represents most: Big Big Easy Easy Money.

  5. What a horrible candidate Jeb is? Ever since he joined the race, he made a point, then folks didn’t get what he meant, then he has to do clarification on what he said at the first place. This pattern has continued up to now. Is this what voters want from their president? I don’t think so. He also has old thinking that so long as he can accumulate huge amount of money, everything will be fine. Not at this age of social media, where almost every voter gets information in a matter of few minutes. I regret to write this, Jeb is not going to make it to the White House. If he is clever enough, he has to spare his time, energy, money and call it a TRY. He must also tell to himself: “I TRIED, BUT IT WASN’T MY LUCK”.

  6. A notable thing about Jeb! and Dubya (and indeed HW) – looking through their family tree, you have to get pretty well to 1860s – 150-160 years ago before you find a single ancestor (paternal or maternal) who was not at least well-to-do, a college (if not Yale) grad and pretty well before the 1900s before you find someone who was not in fact rich, well into the upper 1/2 of the 1%

    To put it more simply, if any of their relatives, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents had a mortgage for over a century, it was not because they needed the money, but because they wanted the tax-deduction. Being born to that sort of multigenerational economic security has had a visible impact on the personality of all extant members of the Bush family.

    • I read yesterday that Jeb is thinking of having his brother, George W., campaign with him. I hope he does just that because people will be reminded of all the deaths– American military men and women– as well as the thousands of Iraqi civilians that his brother and Cheney caused based on their lies.

        • It seems all too easy for them to ignore what they did then and they are so quick to send troops. Killing and dying is big money I guess.

      • a big mistake, the war in Iraq was a stupid war, the worse war we ever had and is indefensible. George Bush should should stay out of politics.

      • Jeb just needs to wave the white flag already and exit the clown car. It’s rolling down a mountainside out of control anyway.

    • He might not be as bombastic and intolerant as some, but he said his brother kept us safe. He might believe that. However thinking about campaigning with a convicted war criminal is not a smart move. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were tried, in absentia, in Norway and Malaysia, and convicted. Five other countries have said they will swear out warrants for their arrest is they come there. Another country said the entire country is harboring war criminals and preventing them from coming to justice. Yes, he has the bush name, but he also has the bush traits, when he stands by his brother and says his brother did the right thing when he attacked Iraq.

    • You must not be paying attention to what Jeb has actually said. Sure Mitt was a blatant liar who’s team had to correct something he said on a regular basis, but Jeb, does this too and refuses to correct his gaffes. I hope Jeb eventually gets the repub nomination, so he gets the butt kicking repubs deserve.

      • And along with the results, I suspect that millions would like to see the membership duplicating that in 1932 and 1936 when republicans were so few as to be almost invisible,

      • I know it Takes Jeb time to get his views across, but your right I don’t pay much attention to him. he seems to discount what most believe.

    • Uh, did you read the article? Do you know his record in Florida? He’s the worst previously elected politician in the race right now.

  7. He is sucking wind and he was considered the defacto nomimee! Smart money, ie the establishment GOP, back him. It will be interesting to see what will happen if they make a break for the exit.

  8. I wrote earlier around the time we first heard roomers Jeb Bush would make a run that he would be a stand in for the moral sins of his brother.

    Now we see the roasting has begun…pork and “Bush” beans serve em up hot!!

    em…em…taste so good!!!

    Be you wish you had of listened to mama!!

  9. He IS the best they’ve got. And with the amount of money backing him, I do believe we will see that he will be the candidate for the GOP. The Dems had better be ready.

    • I don’t know if I’d hold my breath on that. Jeb fell to a 4% favorability rating on 10/1; if he falls below 3.5% he’ll be out of the next major debate. And the 4% rating was before the “stuff happens” comment. And there’s a sizable plurality even in Florida saying that Jeb and Rubio should both drop out of the race.

      • As are a lot of Republicans who are disenchanted with the way their own party is behaving lately. I ought to know; I’ve been a registered Republican since I earned the right (by age) to vote.

        • Thanks. I wasn’t going to make that leap on this forum but you are right. I have several Republican friends who have told me, candidly, how they will vote for Hillary this time because they, like yourself, are truly turned off by all that the GOP has turned into.It’s really gotten quite bizarre, hasn’t it?.

  10. His problem which is why he should ever be president is his do want or go to hell altitude even against his own party and the law

  11. Nice article indeed…took awhile to get to Bushisms, but worth it to see them compiled in one place…collectively there is much more stupidity revealed…

  12. I’d value “earned success” a lot more if investments were illegal for anyone with more than $5 million in the bank. If you’re betting on other people for a living, they’re working, not you.

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