Jeb Bush might have a shot

Seeing Bush press his case on the trail in New Hampshire, I was stunned by how he seemed high-energy, forceful, and confident. For the first few months of the campaign, Jeb seemed to be reliving his father’s political weaknesses. He lacked a common touch. Just as his father was a prudent Yankee pretending to be an ideological Texan, Jeb ran from his background. Or rather, he could never quite figure out how to navigate the burden of his family’s name and his brother’s presidency.

Bush has now embraced the fact that he’s a scion. Although he’s kept his brother on the ranch, he brought his mother to the stump. In town hall meetings, he has begun to comfortably celebrate his brood. “The Bush thing, people need to get over it,” he told a crowd in Bedford, in an extended riff about his love for his family. Even the phrasing of that willful claim of indifference echoed one of his father’s idiosyncratic rhetorical tropes (“the vision thing”). Like his dad and grandfather, his presentation oozes with a New England prep school sense of noblesse oblige, talk of “servitude” and “purpose.”…

Strangely, it’s Trump who has helped Bush find himself. When Trump started belittling him, Jeb reverted to Bush form. He couldn’t understand how anyone could question his noble pursuit of public service. In the face of Trump’s attacks, he looked hurt and stunned. But Bush has embraced Trump-bashing as a moral calling. He gets quite braggadocious when describing how he, and he alone, has the backbone to stand up to the bully. And his attacks on Trump do have a certain swagger now. “I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but the guy needs therapy,” he blared on Saturday.