Charlie Pierce says it’s time to take the Bush campaign out behind the barn and put a merciful end to it.
To be completely fair, no candidate was less suited to the carnival of souls that this campaign has become than was Jeb (!). He had lots of money, and lots of influential friends, and he even had a mainly undeserved reputation as a Republican with the ability to reach out to minorities. Then, two things happened. He ran facefirst into I, Trump, who found in Jeb (!) the perfect foil—humorless, stuffy, and very easily pantsed on stage. Nobody could have anticipated how truly deformed one man could make our politics. But, for all that, Jeb (!) has proven to be an absolute lemon of a candidate. He has entirely different—but no less serious—problems with English than his brother did. He couldn’t find spontaneity if you gave him the ghost of Robin Williams as a guide. And, let us never forget that The Base has decided that his surname is a curse unto 10 generations, and Jeb (!) is nowhere near the pol to turn all that around in one election cycle. Rubio is younger. Cruz is more conservative. Fiorina is a bigger prevaricator. Ben Carson is crazier. Rand Paul is quirkier. And He, Trump is more, well, everything. Even if you put him at the top of the Single Digit Club, where’s the room for Jeb (!) to run in a Republican primary field?
It’s not your year, big fella. Just admit it. Don’t go to Vegas next week and stand up there and get your trou’ dropped on you again. (I mean, Jesus H. Christ on a package tour of the Balkans, Rubio embarrassed you last time.) Maintain some dignity. Take the campaign out behind the shed and come back alone. There’s no hope for it now. It’s suffering, Jeb (!), and only you can do it.
In a way, you have to feel sorry for the guy. He missed his shot by coming this close to being the first of the Bush fils to follow his father’s footsteps into office. But he lost the Florida governor’s race the first time out, leaving the door open for W to do the Texas two-step into office and leaving Jeb to have to wait until next time, finally winning election in Florida in 1998. He nearly fumbled the 2000 election, drawing way too much attention to his inability to cleanly deliver his state when it should have been an easy get. And now this. The poor guy can’t catch a break.
It’s one thing to lose an election or a primary in an evenly matched field. But in this collection of fascists, religious whackos, hate-mongers, and know-nothings, it must be really humiliating. Heh.