Friday, October 23, 2015

The Republican Race to Date

On this week’s Candidate Casino Charles Krauthammer put fewer chips on Jeb Bush and fingered a woeful campaign as the problem. In prior weeks, Jeb has either been picked as the Republican favorite or near favorite. This tells me the pros are looking at this election through the wrong prism.

The key to understanding the current race is 2012 in combination with 2008. By the end of his term conservatives were ambivalent about George W. They liked him in many ways, defending him against Democratic attacks but they were not at all happy with the increase in spending (pretty much across the board) and ambitious use of the military (the sizable isolationist win) that had occurred under his leadership. They wanted a ‘real’ conservative, but accepted McCain as the only viable choice in the ’08 field.
By the 2012 cycle it was clear to conservatives, that Obama was a terrible president. Pick someone decent and they’d win. The ‘establishment’ choice was clearly Romney. The primaries consisted of the base frantically searching for an alternative. Not finding one, they reluctantly listened to the party elders and accepted Romney. They didn’t trust him as far as actually being a conservative, but they were persuaded that he would win. And then Romney ran a tepid, squishy general election campaign and lost.
Twice the base set aside its reservations, ignored its instincts, and followed the party establishment and twice the resulting nominee had lost. The last, in what conservatives perceived—correctly or incorrectly doesn’t matter here—as a crucial and very winnable election. In November of 2012 it was clear that the race in 2015 – 16 was going to be a very bumpy ride indeed.
Thus, Jeb is carrying a duel legacy. He’s third in the Bush line and third in the McCain-Romney-Establishment Choice line. If you’re wondering why Bush has struggled, and you’re looking to how he’s conducted his campaign, pause, put on the Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again at top volume and consider what happened in 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, but that's not the point. The point is: who do the "Won't Get Fooled Again" porkies think will be both a winner and a govern-er?