The last days of the Bush dynasty?

Bush backers are critical of the campaign, which has focused on high-minded appeals and meaty policy proposals despite abundant evidence there’s no appetite for either. Last week, Bush gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and rolled out a plan for national education reform; at his events, thick, glossy booklets containing page after page of details of his platform are distributed. The campaign seems to think the electorate will suddenly develop a taste for this.

The Bush backers are also critical of the super PAC, Right to Rise, that has spent $60 million on pro-Bush efforts to no apparent effect, including such gimmicks as electronic billboards and video mailers, and pro-Bush ads featuring testimonials from lobbyists. The backers are equally critical of the candidate himself, who has been creaky and maladroit in action, stumbling on questions about the Iraq War and repeatedly getting wrong-footed by Trump and Rubio in debates.

But most Bush fans say their man was simply, irrevocably out of step with the times. “The way Jeb’s campaign has gone breaks my heart,” Alex Castellanos, a longtime GOP consultant and commentator, told me. “He is a good man. But this was not an election cycle to make a point about a candidate’s purity or noblesse. This was not an election to prove that our campaigns should be about policy or issues or that our politics is unworthy of a great nation.” People, particularly Republican primary voters, are simply in no mood for any of the things Bush represents: technocratic governance, Chamber-of-Commerce Republicanism, hereditary rule. They want a radical break with the past, not a living avatar of it.