Jeb Bush tells Newsmax TV that he can reverse his low poll numbers and eventually win the Republican presidential nomination.
“The comeback kid is the narrative that the press would love,” the former Florida governor told “Newsmax Prime” host J.D. Hayworth in an interview airing Friday. “They love to push you down and then allow you to come back up to push you down again. That’s the way it seems to work.
“There’s a long way to go and the early states matter,” he added. “What you’ll see is that I will rise first in places like Iowa, New Hampshire.
“There are a lot of talkers in politics,” Bush said. “Trust me. I was on the debate stage. I see it: some really good people that are really good talkers. I hope you want someone with a servant’s heart that acts on principle. That does things, rather than just talks about them.”…
Bush told Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin that speculation in the media and elsewhere that his bid for the Oval Office could end soon is far off base. “They don’t know me,” he said. “I eat nails when I wake up, then I have breakfast.”
Bush, 62, the son and brother of former U.S. presidents, also said that he knows he has to improve as a candidate and debater. “I have enough humility to know that I’ve got to get better. But also, I’m a really competitive guy, and I do have a record that on that stage is unmatched, and I’m going to go share it with passion and conviction and I think I’m going to win.”
Todd pressed on, asking the candidate why, then, many of his supporters thought there was something missing. ‘The fire’s missing,’ Todd said.
Bush contended that this was a figment of the mainstream media’s imagination.
‘Probably because they watch the cable shows and they read the political press,’ Bush said. ‘But if they followed me on the campaign trail, like last week in New Hampshire where we had 300 people totally connected, totally believing in me, I think they would see a different candidate. I’ve just got to be able to break through the clutter of the punditry class, and I think I can do that.’
“The basic point with Marco isn’t that he’s not a good person or he’s not a gifted politician — everybody can see that,” Bush said on Meet the Press. “It’s that I have proven leadership skills. I got to be governor of a state and accomplish big things. And in this era of gridlock, it’s really hard to break through, and I think he’s given up. And I think that’s the wrong thing to do.”…
But Bush doesn’t seem to be giving up on that tactic. Without naming Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Bush said only two bills that any of them have sponsored ended up becoming law.
“This is the gridlock that I’m running to try to break up,” Bush said. “I can change the culture in Washington.”
Jeb's new slogan – "Jeb can fix it". I never thought of Jeb as a crook! Stupid message, the word "fix" is not a good one to use in politics!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2015
If Jeb Bush were more competent he could not have lost the skirmish with Marco in the debate. BAD facts for Marco if properly delivered!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2015
“If you’re elected to serve, you should do what Chuck Grassley does: You should show up and vote,” Bush said, citing Iowa’s popular senior senator.
Numerous Iowans wondered why Bush would target his supposed friend.
“It struck me that Bush is grasping a bit,” said Joe Earle, a Baptist pastor in Harlan and Rubio supporter.
Jim Leslie of Des Moines said it made Bush “look very petty and weak.”
“There’s no question in my mind that he’d be a good president,” Leslie said of Bush. “But a lot of presidential politics is personality and he’s not showing his best side.”
DICKERSON: “Was Jeb Bush your mentor?”
RUBIO: “He was a big part of me. I don’t know about labels like that, but he was most certainly a big part of my career. And I have tremendous admiration. I said that at the debate. You’re never going to hear me badmouth him. He was a great governor of Florida. He’s someone I have tremendous personal affection for. My issue is not with Jeb Bush. I’m running for president because I honestly believe that our party and our country needs to turn the page and allow people, the new generation of leadership, that understands the issues before America now.
“I know there are people running that have more experience than I do on the issues we faced 17 years ago. But on the issues before America today, that’s what we should be debating. And I just don’t believe there’s anyone else running who has a better understanding of the issues before us now than I do.”
But, I also think there are considerable logical problems inherent in Bush’s assertion that what really matters isn’t debates but that fact that he is killing it in relatively small group settings. That’s illustrative of the anecdotal evidence fallacy that politicians (and lots of reporters) fall into. There are lots of people cheering for me at every event I go to ergo the polls are wrong and I am winning. Mitt Romney’s belief at the end of the 2012 campaign that he would win was based on that particular anecdotal miscalculation…
[T]he debates shape perception on a grand scale. And perceptions of the candidates — Marco Rubio ascendant, Jeb not — matter not just to major donors, who like to be with winners, but also to undecided voters, who like to be with winners too. When the brightest lights come on, you have to find a way to be your best; that’s that nature of running (and winning) presidential races in the modern-era of politics.
In short: It takes a LOT of stellar 300-person events to make up for one less-than-great debate performance. Bush, I’m guessing, understands that reality even if he doesn’t want to acknowledge it publicly.
His inability to perform on the biggest stage grossly outweighs the passion he is able to project in more intimate events. That equation is why Bush finds himself in such an unenviable spot in this contest.
Of course, politics is about more than branding. It’s also about selling, and Jeb just isn’t a great salesman. It’s almost as if he doesn’t have confidence in the product, which is dismaying given that he is the product…
I’ve knocked Jeb countless times for his inability to follow through on his promise to run “joyfully.” For a year I’ve been saying, in effect: Stop telling me what motivates your character, and start showing it to me. But at this point it’s probably too late. Because even if he somehow managed to seem joyful, Bush has already convinced people he’s not. Indeed, the fact that he says he wants to run joyfully only underscores the depth of his problem: he knows what to do, but can’t bring himself to do it. As Jim Geraghty puts it in that quotation-mark-less newsletter, “He is a man fundamentally at odds with the mood and thinking of his party at this moment.”
That doesn’t mean he’s a bad man or a RINO or a worse alternative to Donald Trump. But it does mean that this is not his time.
I wrote last year that Jeb Bush would be a terrible candidate, a case that was mostly about his policy views. His attachment to elite Republican causes like immigration and national education standards are certainly part of why he hasn’t caught on. There’s just not that much for Republican voters to get excited about.
But, if anything, I underestimated the degree to which his instincts and his affect, his strengths and his weaknesses, make him a man from a different political moment. Bush last ran a political campaign in 2002, a sepia-toned political time before bloggers got Dan Rather fired. Back then, the internet was a colorful sideshow, and a slow, elite-dominated media environment favored the sort of politician who wowed big-name newspaper columnists and impressed the hosts of Sunday shows. This weekend, he implored those heroic narrators to write him a “comeback narrative,” attributing to them powers they don’t really have any more.
In 2015, Bush’s political strengths — a discursive, engaged speaking style and a famous name — are weaknesses in a roiling digital space dominated on the right by the quickest, loudest, most self-consciously outsider voices. And his weaknesses hurt more. Bush conceded last week that debates are “not my forte.” (They’ve never been.) Debates, though, now carry outsize importance. They’re the only time you have voters’ attention in this noisy environment.
And the problem with that noisy environment is that it’s not just about having campaign operatives of the Twitter age, or appearing in short candid-style videos for Facebook, or being an early adopter of tech — it’s about understanding that politics is the noisy environment now.
With Trump belittling him for being low energy and running to Mommy and Daddy for help, Jeb realized he was in a new world.
His brother’s muscle-bound presidency led to Barack Obama and the diffident Obama led to a new brand of furious, Tea Party-infused Republicans.
While Jeb was offstage, the whole party and political environment had passed him by. He came back looking very ’90s. He’s talking about pragmatic government at a time when the drivers in his party are talking about tearing it down.
Jeb is trapped in a nightmarish déjà vu. Once he was cast as the wonky one while his brother, the sparky one, slipped ahead. Now Jeb is cast as the wonky one while Marco, the sparky one, slips ahead.
Jeb got confused. He thought he was still in an era when people had to pay their dues.