Why Jeb Bush's attacks on Trump miss their mark

The other problem with Jeb’s attacks on Trump is that when you look closely, they’re less about Trump’s views than about his demeanor. Jeb’s ad calls Trump “unhinged” and a purveyor of “chaos.” Asked about Trump’s Hillary bathroom line, Jeb said Trump lacks “decorum.” He went on to exclaim, “For crying out loud, we’re two days before Christmas. Lighten up, man.”

Trump’s candidacy is based on bigotry and lies. But Jeb never says that. Instead, he criticizes Trump for being too emotional, too unruly, too fervent. It’s less the content of what Trump says that offends Jeb than the manner in which he says it.

This seems to be something of a Bush family trait. They’re sticklers for protocol. Among the ways in which George W. Bush believed Bill Clinton had disgraced the presidency was by entering the Oval Office without a jacket and tie. One of Bush’s aides, Dan Bartlett, recounts being “chewed out for about 15 minutes” by Bush for trying to enter the President’s office on a Saturday wearing “khakis and a buttoned-down shirt.” George W. was also fanatical about punctuality. And since leaving the presidency, he has adhered scrupulously to another rule of good etiquette that the Bushies take deadly seriously: Don’t criticize your successor.

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