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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jeb: the postmortem

The main reason Jeb was the early frontrunner in the Republican sweepstakes was his last name. Despite the fact that we are nominally a democracy, Americans still harbor a secret hankering for royal dynasties.

But that hankering has its limits. After eight years of Bill Clinton, the American public was nostalgic for the decent, patrician George H.W. Bush, so they elected his namesake. But even after eight years of Obama, the American public is not nostalgic for W. So, Jeb is paying the price.

Jeb also had other problems right from the start. First, that eminently punchable face. And second, he was way too liberal on immigration. You don't win over American voters by pandering to the Mexican electorate.

Early on, Jeb's own parents saw him, not W, as the carrier of the family flame. This, despite W being the older brother. If anyone knows which the smarter sibling is, it would be the parents. But the Presidency is not an SAT test; it's simply not enough to have a high IQ.

Character counts -- bad character, that is. Jeb is simply too nice a guy for this arena. He is an intelligent beta male without the instincts for battle that a Trump or Cruz or Rubio have. It's almost as if Jeb was coddled too much as a kid, and never developed the kind of spiky armor that more feral kids tend to develop. For instance, Jeb obviously defers to his wife. (Do you think Trump does that?)

Ted Cruz had a great line about the moderators in the last debate, but he was wrong about one thing: a debate IS a cage match. And if you don't have the instincts of a pro wrestler, you're simply not going to survive the Wrestlemania Summer Slam, or Wrestlemania Survivor Series. The debates were just slightly higher IQ versions of those extravaganzas. Both sets of audiences certainly want the same thing: blood, whether physical or metaphorical.

Jeb simply isn't bloodthirsty enough. When someone shoots an arrow at Jeb, instead of shooting back, he just looks down in astonishment at the feathers sticking out of his stomach. He spent much of the debates looking like a mole that's been dragged from its protected underground lair, and, blinking in the bright sunlight, has no idea how to defend itself against the coyotes which surround it.

And, nice guys finish, if not last, at best sixth in a field of ten.

In the last couple debates, Jeb has tried to be a little more combative, because his advisors have told him he needs to be. But you can tell, it's really just not in his nature.

But while it's hard to blame Jeb for being too nice, it's a little easier to criticize the vague sense of entitlement that always surrounded his campaign. Jeb's pedigree is that of card-carrying member of the East Coast WASP establishment who used to run the country. You can see it in the way he talks about the illegal immigrants, with the sort of noblesse oblige that WASPs of good character were expected to show when speaking of the less fortunate.

But it's a little as if Jeb is living in a time warp, and doesn't quite realize that the world has changed. The nexus of power has long since shifted from the WASPs to the Jews, and while most of the candidates were eagerly declaring their allegiance to Israel in hopes of some of that Adelson and Singer money, Bush seemed to think that if he carried himself like Clark Clifford, he'd inherit the Presidency.

It just doesn't work that way anymore.


Jokah Macpherson said...

Your mentioning Jeb being the original heir apparent of the Bush legacy got me to wondering how many other siblings there were out there, and holy crap there's three more (plus one that didn't survive to adulthood).

In fact, it turns out that modern U.S. presidents, as a general rule, have what I would consider to be a large number of siblings (if you include step-sibilings). Reagan (1), Roosevelt (1, half) and Coolidge (1, did not survive to adulthood) are the the only exceptions to this rule going back at least to Harding...and in fact, no U.S. presidents have been only children. Doesn't look like this will change next year, either.

Anonymous said...

What, has Jeb formally ended his campaign yet? Outside of that, it isn't over until his financiers say it's over.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
Yeah, Pauline, Marvin and Dorothy don't get much publicity. (I had to look them up.)

Hmm, interesting. With Obama, you're talking a lot of half-siblings, but those count. I suppose it's good to be exposed to the rough and tumble of a big family if you're going to go into politics. It's also good to have the support system.

BTW, I think you're forgetting Clinton as a President from a small family. He had only one half-brother, Roger.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Technically, of course, you're right. But it's hard to see Jeb coming back at this point, and now that most of the big money guys have deserted him. I know, never say never, and I'll look like an idiot if he does stage some sort of miraculous comeback, but I can't see it at this point.

Jokah Macpherson said...

According to Wikipedia, Clinton's father, William Jefferson Blythe, had two other children from prior marriages - it's ok, I had not heard of them either prior to looking it up earlier today. Practically speaking, Roger, the half-brother on his mother's side, was probably the only one you'd really consider a sibling, so your point is well taken.

I've heard rumblings before about Blythe not being the president's true father so there's that as well but I'm not sure that anything has ever come of it.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
I hadn't realized that Blythe had two other kids, but I also think it's fairly certain that he wasn't Clinton's real father. I wrote this post on how Clinton gives himself away as a sociopath before:

Anyway, here's the relevant excerpt:

William Blythe, the traveling salesman (and accused bigamist) whom Virginia Kelley claimed was Clinton’s father, died in a car accident in May 1946, three months before Clinton was born. That much is not in dispute. The problem is that nine months before Clinton was born, Blythe was serving his country in Italy. When this information surfaced after Clinton was elected President, Kelley said that Clinton’s birth was induced a month early because of a fall she had taken. In her 1994 memoir, however, she never mentioned this. And Clinton weighed eight and a half pounds at birth, a weight almost never reached by premature infants.

Anonymous said...

In the long run, I think it would be best if Jeb not become president of the USA. I'm curious about his family, his Mexican wife and his kids (all of them having had brushes with the law). How has Columba impacted her children, what kind of mother was she to her offspring? I personally am intrigued by the Jeb Bush family dynamics.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
At this point, it looks as if you don't have to worry.

It's hard to find out much about Columba, partly because she doesn't speak much English, even after all these years in the country. Or, at least she won't speak it publicly.

Rifleman said...

The nexus of power has long since shifted from the WASPs to the Jews, and while most of the candidates were eagerly declaring their allegiance to Israel in hopes of some of that Adelson and Singer money...

Check out the list of Power Elites whose daughters married Jews and in some cases converted to Judaism:







John Craig said...

Rifleman --
It may have been partly a matter of these powerful families wanting Jewish connections, but I think it was at least equally a matter of Jewish interests wanting to bring these powerful families into the fold.

Anonymous said...

Revilo Oliver frequently wrote of the propensity of wealthy and influential Jewish families to marry their daughters into wealthy goy families even as they discouraged other Jews from intermarrying.

Jewishness is matrilineal, but most definitely not matriarchial, despite the famed pushiness of Jewesses.

Interestingly, the trend now is for Jewish families to marry their sons off to the shiksa daughters of wealthy families. Chelsea Clinton, Ivanka Trump, Lauren Bush Lauren, et al.

Anonymous said...

Is Jeb less hawkish than the rest of the Republican field (excepting Rand Paul and Trump)?

Its interesting to note the media coverage of the billionaire Koch brothers (fueled by Harry Reid, at the time). Koch brothers were portrayed as evil, and perverting democracy with their wealth.

Haven't heard any media complaints about billionaires Sheldon Adelson or Paul Singer, whose money funds Republican candidates who pledge to fight wars to make the world safer for Israel.

Just about all the main stream Republican presidential candidates have paid homage to Adelson. Adelson has called for nuking Iran. He will either use his money to support, or destroy the Republican contenders.

Singer has endorsed Rubio - who is probably the most hawkish Republican candidate.

Tom Steyer is another billionaire activist, but for the environment. From Wikipedia "Steyer is a leading Democratic activist and fundraiser". He also happens to be Jewish. Haven't heard any media complaints about that either.

I am not sure how many other billionaire activists are out there.

- Ed

PS - out of curiosity I read a fairly long article in Rolling Stone about the Koch brothers. The main factual (I assume) points against them were instances of neglect that resulted in harm (like a gas pipeline rupture). Other than that there wasn't much - except the hatred that seethed through the entire article.

John Craig said...

Ed --
I get the impression that Jeb's stance on the Middle East is pretty much standard Republican. He defended his brother's war against Iraq, but I think he pretty much felt he had to do that, as a sort of familial loyalty thing.

Yes, there's a huge difference win media coverage of the Koch brothers and Adelson and Singer. And I like the way that the media, or at least the NY times, felt obliged to say about Singer that there wasn't any "litmus test" a candidate had to pass to gain his approval, even though there was a very obvious one.

You're forgetting about the biggest one of all, George Soros. He's mostly a left wing guy, and though he's Jewish, he's not a big supporter of Israel.