People are already making their way to Cleveland in mass numbers for the GOP convention and the rules committee has completed their work. To put it in show business terms, the stage is pretty much set for the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for the presidency, and barring a few attempts at embarrassing him or causing mischief, we should be wrapping this thing up by Thursday night. You’d think that by this point the specter of a potential Hillary Clinton presidency would have most of the GOP old guard either getting onboard for war to come or at least packing their things to sit this one out. Not so for Jeb Bush, however, With only hours to go before the curtains rise, he’s taking his act to the op-ed pages to declare that the party still needs to reject their nominee.
After bemoaning the paucity of compromise and bipartisanship in Washington, Bush notes the “understandable” distrust of politics and politicians in general among the electorate. Yet he seems to miss the entire message being sent by primary voters and instead blames them for picking the wrong candidate.(Washington Post)
While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future. ..
Unfortunately, the understandable anger and fear haven’t given rise to a resurgence of purpose in politics or renewed a debate in our party about how Republicans win back the White House with the power of our ideas.
Instead, they have given rise to the success of a candidate who continues to grotesquely manipulate the deeply felt anger of many Americans. Trump’s abrasive, Know Nothing-like nativist rhetoric has blocked out sober discourse about how to tackle America’s big challenges…
I haven’t decided how I’ll vote in November — whether I’ll support the Libertarian ticket or write in a candidate — but I do know there are a lot of things Republicans can do in the coming months to lay the groundwork for rebuilding our party and the foundation for a true conservative renewal in our country.
The lack of self-awareness in this piece is on display when Bush urges us all to, “move beyond the daily fray of who is disparaging whom on Twitter.” In some ideal world of sunshine and unicorns I’m sure that sounds like a lovely idea, but should the person who just finished calling the nominee a Know Nothing nativist really be carping about the lack of civility on social media?
The bitterness which seems to have consumed Jeb Bush is, in some ways, understandable. All through the primary he appeared to move from one obvious error to the next in the crafting of his campaign strategy. He was completely flummoxed by Trump’s arrival on the scene. And to be fair to Jeb, so were most of the rest of the candidates. But watching Bush was a particularly uncomfortable show for much of the audience. He had so convinced himself (and the media) that he was the frontrunner by default, sitting on massive piles of campaign contributions, that he seemed completely incapable of digesting the idea that the voters might reject him for something new. Right up until his final exit from the race he gave the impression of someone who was sure that they were going to wake up from a bad dream at any moment and suddenly be on his way to be sworn in as the next President.
Once the dream was well and truly shattered, I had been guessing that Jeb would take a page from his brother’s playbook and choose to fade into the background a bit, allowing the eventual finalists to finish the battle. That hasn’t happened, though. Jeb Bush remains in denial over the complete rejection he faced at the hands of the primary voters and is still looking to poison the well for the man who sent him packing. But after this week (barring some sort of miracle for Trump’s detractors) the final game is afoot and the GOP needs to put the primary, for all its unpleasantness, in their rear view mirror. Personally, I don’t think Donald Trump has been particularly adept thus far at managing his general election strategy or maximizing the opportunities which have come his way. He’s also been operating until very recently on virtually zero campaign cash. And yet he remains within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in most of the polls and even leads her in a few.
This battle is not lost and Hillary Clinton is not a forgone conclusion as the next POTUS. Jeb Bush and the rest of his tribe need to come to grips with the reality in front of them. There’s a fierce battle ahead of us and we don’t need any more grenades going off in our own trenches. You lost, Jeb. It’s time to accept that and get on with your life.