Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jeb's Run for President Was Always Irresponsible

In last few days, besides Jay Costs tweets, there have been two pieces critical of Jeb Bush pointing to the irresponsibility of his campaign. Liam Donovan’s is here and in the Weekly Standard Steven Hayes

The common thread is that Jeb has found it impossible to promote himself in the race so he’s opted for a strategy of destroying all the alternatives to Trump but himself in the belief that faced with no alternative voters will turn to him. Having raised a great deal of money Bush has been successful in stopping better candidates--$20m against Rubio—and that this is a dangerous, irresponsible game he’s playing.

But I would contend that this charge of irresponsibility which ends up circling on Bush’s inability to win the nomination and or win the presidency doesn’t go far enough. Even in best case scenarios Jeb’s campaign was irresponsible.

First, if Jeb won the nomination but lost in the general you would’ve had what is perceived as a establishment candidate losing after the McCain and Romney losses. The result of this would be I think the breakup of the Republican Party, which in the abstract doesn’t sound so bad, but its replacement could be just about anything or things and it would almost certainly hand power to the Democrats for a decade or more. So Jeb wins the nomination and there’s something like a 50:50 chance the party is destroyed. Not good.

But what if Jeb won the general and became President? Then it’s—policy differences aside—all good, right? Ah, no. In that case we’d have the following sequence: Bush I-Clinton-Bush II-Obama-Bush III with the loser in the race being Clinton II. That simply can’t be, if the idea of a democratic republic is to hold, and most conservatives know it.

Alone among commentators Jonah Goldberg has insisted that in the Hillary e-mail scandal the server IS the smoking gun. Similarly, I would insist that insist that the irresponsibility of the Jeb campaign was inherent, was present at the beginning. Before he announced Barbara Bush let slip that she didn’t want him to run. The lesson, as always, listen to your mother.

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