Monday, February 22, 2016

The End of the Bush Dynasty?

I never have been a fan of Jeb Bush - or any of the Bush clan for that matter, especially the cretinous George W. Bush who brought so much otherwise avoidable misfortune on the nation. After his drubbing in South Carolina, it seems that even whacked out members of the GOP base were unwilling to give the Bush dynasty another chance to harm the country.  Too many of those of an older age remember the contrast between the Clinton White House years and the last Bush's misrule and national disaster.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at how Jeb went down the drain while Hillary Clinton has managed to stay relevant.  Here are highlights:
The Clinton political dynasty is still alive. The Bush dynasty has been routed. Their contrasting fates, to this point at least, tell us much about our two parties, the nature of this year’s presidential election, and the dueling legacies themselves.

The Republican and Democratic contests are very different, beginning with the fact that Hillary Clinton did not have to deal with Donald Trump, who targeted Jeb Bush with a viciousness rarely seen in contemporary politics. For months, the self-contained former Florida governor responded ineffectually to an opponent who flouted all the norms. This only made it easier for Trump to mock him as “low energy” and “weak.”

Bush was also entitled to a certain bitterness as he watched Marco Rubio, his ambitious and impatient protege, seize his natural base in the party: voters who loathe both Trump and Ted Cruz. Rubio’s definition of loyalty did not include yielding to his one-time mentor. . . .  his efforts came too late, and were, in any event, out of tune with so many in a party eager to respond to angry and exclusionary rhetoric.

Clinton now faces only one opponent, and Bernie Sanders, especially in contrast to the often thuggish behavior of Republican candidates toward each other, has been positively courtly. Building a durable progressive wing of the Democratic Party clearly matters more to him than scoring points off Clinton.

In a party whose election victories are increasingly dependent on heavy turnout among younger voters (when they don’t show up, the Democrats lose, as they did in 2010 and 2014), Sanders has overwhelmed Clinton among those under 45. He did it again in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday.

Endurance under trial is a defining characteristic of a Clinton brand that also has the benefit of being less established than the Bush trademark. The Clintons have been in the public consciousness since 1992. Bushes have been in presidential politics since 1980 and on the national stage since 1952, when Prescott Bush, Jeb’s grandfather, entered the U.S. Senate. If the Clintons aren’t exactly Facebook, neither are they General Motors or Studebaker. 

And while frustration on the Democratic left with Bill Clinton’s pro-business policies has fed support for Sanders, the antipathy to both Bush presidencies on the Republican right runs far deeper.  . . . . Moreover, even some of Bush’s natural allies among Republican professionals worried that public memories of the peaceful and prosperous Bill Clinton years were much fonder than those of a George W. Bush presidency characterized by an unpopular war and a financial meltdown.  

Jeb can console himself that his son George P. Bush , a Texas politician, is already in the family business, and that being scorned by fellow Republicans is part of the family’s tradition.

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