Tea Partiers, this is going to be uncomfortable, but you need to face an actual fact.
There’s a reason that a Bush has been on the Republican ticket in six out of the last nine presidential elections. They’re better at this than you are.
The guys who helped bring us Willie Horton and John McCain’s “black child” don’t just know how to remain mainstream darlings while dipping into the racially tinged politics of personal destruction. They are also better at cloaking their support of the conservative policies that are choking the middle class (and the planet) in “compassionate”-sounding lies.
Jeb Bush’s first big campaign speech in Detroit sent the media a message: I won’t get tarred with embracing Mitt Romney’s dismissal of the 47 percent, even as I espouse the exact same policies and ideology that feed the philosophy that dismisses the 47 percent.
Jeb was literally raised to thrill “centrist” pundits like the National Journal‘s Ron Fournier with a passion for shrinking the promises we’ve made to our seniors.
A few weeks before his campaign hired a Chief Technology Officer who didn’t know how Twitter works and dumped thousands of Social Security numbers and some malware online, Bush was at his “wonky and provocative best, ” according to Fournier. The smarter Bush brother raved about how a “tech-juiced new economy” based on models like Uber could completely displace an economy where people actually had benefits, job security, and some hope of kids doing better than their parents.
There’s no better example of children failing to exceed their parents than the Bush brothers. Still, America doesn’t deserve another Bush campaign. Not now. Not while the embers of wars that George W. Bush lost are still burning.
The 2016 election is the most important in our lifetime because the 45th president could appoint as many as four Supreme Court Justices, when only one appointment is necessary to reverse not only Roe v. Wade but many of the principles that have girded Medicare and Social Security for decades.
Despite the fact that every GOP candidate trails likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Republicans — including those who were sure that Mitt Romney would win — believe they have an advantage heading into 2016. And some non-partisan experts agree.
Americans rarely send the same party to the White House three times in a row. Even when they do, the Supreme Court — with the help of a sitting governor operating on behalf of his brother — has been known to stop it from happening anyway. And America has never sent a non-penised person to the White House, as far as we know.
You’ve got all the advantages, GOP. So let’s do this. Let’s have a real debate.
The Republican candidates all want to gut public education. They all want to destroy the remnants of the labor movement that built the middle class. They all want to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to private companies that have no record of outperforming their public counterparts. But Jeb Bush is better at hiding it.
Bushes know how to cloud their middle-class-shrinking beliefs in the mist of “reform.” Remember when George W. Bush suddenly grabbed on to the “Reformer with Results” slogan? Jeb helped slightly raise Florida’s high-school graduation rates from among the nation’s worst. But along the way, he made sure his cronies got big government contracts with little to no government oversight.
As much as duping taxpayers, de-professionalizing teaching, and defenestrating unions appeals to you, surely you don’t want to nominate yet another plutocrat to run under the GOP banner. Walker has that regular guy, new “con” smell. And he’s won election after election in a blue state during the eight years in which the GOP has been trying to pretend the Bushes don’t exist.
Bush has the money, but you’ve got the numbers. But you don’t have discipline. Since you’re even worse at beating Bushes than we are, here’s a simple plan that you’re going to need to stick to, if you want to take Jeb down.
1. Stick with Scott Walker.
Rand Paul has the memes and has inherited his dad’s ground game. But here’s a guy who has an economic plan written on tinfoil, empathizes with Obama on foreign policy, continually says things that he has to pretend he never said, and will self-destruct under the slightest pressure. Ted Cruz sounds the most like an Internet commenter, but that’d be like nominating a rodeo clown to ride a bull. Dr. Ben Carson occasionally comes off as a human being, and Chris Christie is almost unpopular enough to be taken seriously by Republicans. Maybe Huckabee or Jindal? Snap out of it! This is how you lost to Romney. Stick with Walker.
2. Forget about immigration.
You’re going to find out that Scott Walker — like any politician who wants to win in a blue state — supports or supported immigration reform. So what? He’ll parrot the requisite “secure the border first” nonsense — even though the border is more secure than it’s probably ever been — and reform isn’t happening until there’s a Speaker of the House who can bring it to the floor without losing his job. Reform didn’t happen under George W. Bush and it won’t happen under Walker. If immigration is your issue, just scare the shit out of your congressman with photos of him with Eric Cantor.
3. Keep Marco Rubio in the race.
This is the key. Bush currently only leads in one out of the three first primary states — New Hampshire. If Walker stays close, Bush could blow him out of the water in Florida, which could be even more important this year thanks to changes that Mitt Romney’s team made to the nominating process in 2012. Rubio will at least deny Bush a dominating win in their home state. And if that happens, much of the rationale for Jeb — he could win! — disappears.
4. Don’t question Jeb’s conservative credentials.
There are two names that guarantee the failure of any attempt to turn Jeb into a RINO: George W. Bush and Terri Schiavo. You’re not going to convince people that a guy who put a husband “through hell” to keep a woman in a vegetative state alive is insufficiently pro-life. If the right does pursue this angle, George W. Bush will rise up with great vengeance to defend his brother, the way Jeb defends everything George did. And that will be most persuasive, emotional endorsement any conservative could get this cycle. Secondly, arguing that Bush is a moderate — when all the evidence shows otherwise — will just make the argument that Jeb is electable to the blue-state Republicans who actually pick your nominee.
5. Attack Jeb’s failed policies and crony capitalism.
You hate Common Core, but a huge chunk of your party probably has no strong opinion on it, except being against it because Obama is for it. This isn’t going to be good enough. You nominated the friggin’ creator of Obamacare last time around. You need to broaden the attack on Jeb to point out how his cronies benefit from his policies while taxpayers suffer. More than anyone alive, Jeb Bush has benefited from a political system that comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. This case was effective against Mitt, but you couldn’t stick to an alternative. So, again, stick to Scott Walker.
Surely you’re suspicious of anyone on the left who would want so badly for Walker to win the nomination. Aren’t you afraid of a guy who was able to organize more door knockers in an off-year election than Team Romney could pull off in a presidential year? He could sway the region that has given Democrats the White House in four out of the six last elections!
I’ll be honest. It’s definitely self-serving, and it reminds me of one of my favorite political stories.
“What are you giving that S.O.B. all that publicity for?” aide and advisor Kenny O’Donnell asked President Kennedy, after a White House photo op with Barry Goldwater.
“Leave him alone,” answered Kennedy. “He’s mine.”
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr