The Epic Failure of Jeb’s Campaign Illustrates the Incompetence of Republican Political Professionals
Oct 29, 2015
RUSH: Two of the most prominent media themes or narratives today: “Jeb Bush didn’t pull it off.” Jeb Bush didn’t pull it out. Jeb Bush walked right into Marco Rubio’s trap. And the second primary narrative in the Drive-By Media today is: “Donald Trump? Man, is he fading! Oh, man, look at Trump! Why, he didn’t insult anybody last night. He wasn’t the most spoken candidate. He didn’t have the most speaking time last night. We barely heard from him in long chunks.” So the two themes are “Jeb blew it royally” and “Trump is fading away.”
And the Jeb Bush campaign, folks, and Jeb Bush himself illustrate — this is the real point — how bad the Republican professional election businesspeople have become, in my humble opinion. The Jeb Bush campaign, the advice that he’s getting, the way they think that Jeb needs to act and things that they think he needs to do to rebound to me are great evidence that time has passed them by. I’ll just give you one example here, and I’m gonna expand on this in the next segment. But isn’t it rather obvious now that the Republican primary electorate is fed up with politicians, fed up with establishment elected officials that they are considered the problem?
Every time Jeb Bush — and if he did it once, he did it 20 times last night — started reciting his great effort as governor, “I’ve worked every day; I’ve cut taxes every year,” I ended up screaming at the TV, “Jeb, don’t you…? Every time you cite your political resume, it’s a negative! People are tired of politicians and people who talk this way and recite their resume. It’s people of that ilk who are considered to be the problems,” and yet his consultants told him to just keep reciting the resume, what a great job you did as governor and how you worked with Democrats and how you crossed the aisle and how you did all these things.”
It’s death. It was.
To me, it was stunning avoidance of reality.
RUSH: Now, back to this Jeb Bush business. Look, I got a lot to squeeze in here today, and I want to get your phone calls. We got a great board already lining up here and an audio sound bite roster that’s to die for. But the Jeb Bush thing is really instructive. Once we have a nominee it’s gonna be really important to find out, after we have a nominee, who’s running the campaign because if it’s anybody at all involved with the Jeb Bush campaign, it’s problematic. People right now want nothing to do with politicians, professional politicians. The way they talk. The way they describe their resume, their enhancements, that’s the biggest turn off in the country right now, on our side of the aisle, at least.
In this Republican primary period the last thing people are going to be moved by is somebody’s professional politician resume. And that’s all Jeb Bush has offered throughout these debates, is to highlight what he did as governor of Florida, how many tax cuts here and how much he cut government here, or grew that or whatever. And last night I finally said, “Jeb, telling people how good a politician you are is not gonna work. In fact, it’s gonna kill you. It’s gonna hurt you badly.” Take a look at the effort that was made by the Bush campaign to save his campaign last night.
Here we have a Politico story, the headline: “Bush Walks Into Rubio’s Trap — For Jeb supporters it was a night of crushing disappointment.” The first thing, we all knew what it was gonna be. They announced the marketing plan. They announced the trick. They told everybody what they were gonna do in advance. They were gonna hit Rubio on not being in the Senate for so many, many votes. They were gonna try to say that Rubio should get out because he doesn’t want the job, doesn’t like the job, he doesn’t like this job, he ought not be president, he ought to quit. Fine. You tell people, you tell Rubio a week in advance this is what you’re gonna do, Rubio’s got a week to prepare an answer that blows you out of the water, which he did.
And it didn’t just blow Jeb out of the water. It blew the media out of the water. All the votes that John Kerry missed that they applauded because he was serious about his campaign. And all the votes that Algore missed and all the votes that John McCain missed and all the votes that these other Democrats missed when they were in the Senate running for president, all of that was applauded because they were serious about running. So Rubio just nuked ’em on this last night.
But beyond that, folks, to me, just observing this, and I’m saying this dispassionately. You know, I’ve met Jeb a couple of times. George W. Bush has been wonderful to me, as has his father. I have no animus whatsoever for the Bush family. If there is animus within the conservative, quote, unquote, movement or Republican establishment, I have none, on a personal base. I admire them all. They are undeniably a terrific family and so forth. But, man, that’s what makes it even tougher to say. It has been obvious to me from day one that Jeb didn’t really want to do this. But Jeb is a placeholder. Jeb’s a placeholder for the people who want to return to power in Washington with him as the candidate getting them there. And when you don’t want to do something, you’re probably not gonna achieve it. There’s no amount of coaching, and there’s no amount of advice that can create for you passionate desire.
If you don’t have it, if you’re there because it’s expected of you, if you’re there because others have talked you into it, if you’re there because you feel it’s an obligation to be true to the family’s history and legacy, whatever, the thing that’s been missing, in my humble opinion — I know nothing. I’m just like you, observing this from afar. It doesn’t seem that his heart has ever really been in this. The two most recent debates have been described as make-or-break. And Jeb’s no different in these two than he was in the first two. Well, wait, how many have there been? Three. So he’s been the same at all three. There hasn’t been an uptick in energy, passion, fighting forcefully for more time. There hasn’t been any of that. I think this whole debate format, scenario, situation, he’s uncomfortable with the pugilistic characteristics, aspects of it. The campaign said that they were gonna get the nomination without winning the primaries. Never really wanted to do this. This is something they have to do and go through, but their heart really isn’t in it.
But the people behind him really want it. Whoever they are, I don’t know, whoever they are, the people that want to get back into positions of power that they can only get if their guy’s president. Either they want back there or they want there for the first time, never have been there, but I’m certain that the people behind the scenes are the ones that really want it. But they can’t go on stage and debate, so they’ve gotta tell Jeb what to do, and it isn’t him. All this coaching, all this advice, it’s led to paralysis.
When you’re trying to remember everything everybody’s told you to do, “If Rubio says this…” and I’m sure they’ve rehearsed. “If Rubio says this, you’ve gotta come back with this.” Okay, so Rubio starts saying it, and Jeb says (imitating Bush), “Okay, what do I have to do? Oh, God, oh, God, I hope they don’t call on me yet. Oh, God, I gotta remember, oh, oh, ah, ah.” It’s pressure packed and instead of being who he is, he’s trying to remember what he’s been told to say, and how to act when he says it. But further, even beyond that, this attack on Rubio last night, in my mind, illustrates better than anything that Trump is not a fluke. And you’re saying, “Well, what’s Trump got to do with it?” Just hang in there. Whoever is running Jeb’s campaign is so out of it, so wedded to the way it’s always been done, so wedded to the politics of decades ago, that it’s almost embarrassing.
You’ve got one debate to revive your campaign. After everything you’ve seen, here’s Trump leading the pack, here’s Carson leading the pack in certain states. Why are they? It’s plenty easy to find out who and why these two guys are leading and have that be a guide and tell you what you must do if you want to knock them off. And the one thing they aren’t is professional politicians. They don’t have a professional political resume, and that’s their strength. And what’s Jeb being advised to do? Continually recite his. And it’s not connecting. Jeb is simply not connecting with anybody. It’s kind of sad to see here. And this, we’re told, the people on the Jeb campaign, they’re the cream of the crop. They’re the best in the Republican Party. That’s why they’re with Jeb.
Marco Rubio to Jeb Bush, after Bush attacked Rubio for his voting record, and this is dead-on right. “The only reason you’re doing it is that we’re running for the same position and somebody’s convinced you that attacking me will help you.” It’s exactly right. Somebody convinced you. Somebody told him you gotta go after old Marco for not showing up in the Senate. These guys are friends. Rubio is Jeb’s protege. Left to his own devices, he would not ever go there. He doesn’t believe it himself. But he was saddled with it by his advisors, and if these advisors, consultants and whoever — and I don’t know who they are, no names in mind. If these people can’t even figure out why Jeb is where he is and what needs to happen to move up, they can’t see what’s right in front of them.
Jeb wanted to embarrass Marco Rubio. What did they say, Rubio was gonna be rendered moot? They think Rubio is gonna be so shocked he would not have a reply? Did they think Rubio is gonna be so put down and so humiliated and so embarrassed and so called out that he wouldn’t have anything to say in reply? Now, imagine these people advising Jeb how to go after Hillary? I shudder, folks, I shudder to think what that would be. But using intelligence guided by experience I would have to think it be as ineffective there as it is here.
Jeb was not snared by the moderators last night. Some partisan hack moderator didn’t scoop Jeb up in a net. Jeb’s advisors — and I’m not removing Jeb from all responsibility, but I think I know what’s going on here. You put it all together and his heart is not really in it, the people that do want it are the advisors, consultants, whoever is behind him, they’re telling him what he’s gotta do. That means he’s not being himself. It all makes sense because it all makes understandable the lack of desire or passion that we see.