Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jeb Bush Is Losing and The GOP Establishment Is to Blame

Yes, Jeb "Jebbie" Bush is a crappy candidate in my estimation (as a number of past posts have laid out), but in the bubble world of the GOP establishment, he was supposed to soar.    That plan to date has not played out and  Jebbie has been languishing in a distant second or even third place.  Meanwhile, loud mouth buffoon extraordinaire continues to surge.  If the GOP establishment wants to know why, it needs to look in the mirror.  It has in the past embraced and welcomed into the party the insane elements - i.e., Christofascists, open white supremacists, etc . - now viewing and following  Trump with adoration.  When you allow the insane to take over the grassroots of your political party, bad things are going to happen.  A piece in Salon throws the blame for Jebbie's losing effort at the feet of the GOP establishment.  Here are excerpts:
With polls showing Donald Trump in a better position than ever, and with the next presidential debate still nearly a month away, now appears to be the summer of the Republican Party donor class’s discontent.

Their favored candidate, Jeb Bush, has been (obsessively) tagged by Trump as a “low-energy person.” And Bush’s attempts to nab some of “The Donald’s” presumably invigorating xenophobia have been embarrassing, to say the least. For the CNBC-watching plutocrats who comprise “the establishment” of the Republican Party, the summer has been, if not quite a disaster, certainly a mess.

For the Very Serious People in U.S. punditry, however, the situation may be even worse. If you’re the kind of elite hot-taker who tries to understand Republicans by watching “Morning Joe” and reading George Will, Trump’s ascendancy undermines your entire political worldview. It seems to validate the liberal claim that GOP voters care more about whiteness than free markets. And it suggests that the Wall Street Republicans you rely on for insight into the GOP don’t have a clue.
[T]he truth is that Bush’s struggles — like Trump’s triumphs — are the product of conservative ideology itself.

Specifically, it’s the fault of Citizens United, and the tidal wave of outsider spending that it’s unleashed on American politics. If it weren’t for that essentially limitless outsider spending, there would likely be considerably fewer candidates in the GOP race. And if there were fewer candidates in the race, Bush would have an easier time joining together those Republicans who do not want to nominate Trump.

As things stand, Bush cannot distinguish himself from the rest of his “establishment”-friendly competitors, so he ends up looking like just one of the dozen-plus candidates who are not Donald Trump. Worse still, because Bush has already raised such an unfathomable amount of money for his super PAC, his inability to stand toe-to-toe with Trump makes him look in comparison not only drab but also weak. And there’s no one Republican voters hate more than the weak.

As my colleague Joan Walsh has been rightly noting for a while, “Jeb!” has been a straight-up bad candidate. He’s repeatedly done exactly what he shouldn’t. It has been 13 years since Bush last won an election, and one gets the sense that, when he wasn’t cashing checks from Lehman Brothers or hanging out with Michael Bloomberg, he spent the time forgetting everything he’d learned.

But it’s possible for two things to be true. Bush can be both a bad candidate and be wounded less by his own hand than by the results of conservatism itself. The men and women (but mostly men) in the Republican Party can rail against Bush to the Matt Bais of the world all they want. It won’t change the fact that when the Citizens United ruling was handed down and forever changed the rules of American politics, they were cheering as loud as anyone else.
The piece is on point so far as it goes, but it fails to look at the composition of the lunatics swarming to Trump - they are those who in my days in the GOP would have been viewed with disdain at best and barred from local city and county committees and caucuses.  Now, they are controlling them.   Just ask Eric Cantor what has become of the GOP grassroots. 

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