Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jeb!, walks off the GOP stage with sand in his shoes ... by gimleteye

There is only one thing I want to say to Jeb Bush strategists: you did it, to yourselves.

To the rest of us, some amplification. Here is what is remarkable about the now-shuttered Jeb Bush campaign. The absence of critical analysis of Jeb's record as governor of Florida; a record he held up as exemplary and the reason for GOP voters to follow him.

Jeb's governance was marked by a style the media embraced as "a man on the move constantly". "Wonkish" turned up all the time. A man who held his staff accountable to the same standards of incessant work and responsiveness to citizens who reached him late at night by email. Jeb's attention to detail is mischaracterized as a family asset; one that American voters could trust. To counter this, Donald Trump put his own brand on Jeb's hide: "low energy". Sometimes, though, bumper stickers are right. Low energy stuck.

Shortly after he announced his bid for the Republican nomination, a few media reports did appear -- mostly featuring Dan Gelber, former House minority leader -- who emphasized (as we did in our blog commentaries) his narrow-minded, my-way-or-the-highway style of governance.

Jeb was the radical in the family. He was the one making up for lost time after his 1994 shocking defeat at the hand of the ole' coon hound, Lawton Chiles. As a consequence, Jeb missed his turn to run for president in 2000 -- grabbed by George W. When he won his first elected office in 1998 and moved into the Governor's Mansion, he went into the deep end of the pool with the nation's most conservative and right-wing foundations with his an action plan for Florida that would turn the state into a radical experiment for framing the law and policies by conservative values.

It was called "compassionate conservatism", holding the Terry Schiavo case as example number one. With Karl Rove sitting on his shoulder, it was anything but compassionate. As an environmental leader in Florida during Jeb's tenure, I can offer this observation: if you were on the other side of Jeb, the face you saw was the same mean and vindictive one offered to Michael Schiavo.

“I’m proud of the campaign that we’ve run to unify our country,” Jeb said, as he wrapped up his campaign in a flag that signified everything but meant nothing.

Jeb was not a unifier. He could not be a unifier. A Politico report, "Inside Jeb Bush's $150 Million Failure", analyzing the fault lines, paid particular attention to the roles of Sally Bradshaw and top campaign staff who not only isolated Jeb from bad news as it began to percolate through the primary campaign season, but also continued to give Jeb! only the news that he really wanted to hear: how to stick to the playbook. In other words, he ran his campaign exactly as he ran the state of Florida. It didn't work for the campaign as it didn't work for Florida.

Critics inside the inner circle during the Tallahassee years? Nowhere to be found. Dissent was intolerable. Facts altered to fit predetermined outcomes. Loyalty, first and foremost, a criteria for access. The enormous campaign war chest that Jeb! secured in the early phase of the campaign did nothing more than to reinforce a campaign built on a foundation of sand.

"Low energy" is unlikely to follow Jeb! back to Coral Gables. Here, he will continue to profit from corporate consultancies and investments -- the "better thing to do", as he quipped early in his campaign. Jeb will never understand how the politics he embraced also created the exact conditions for the GOP to be taken over by extremists. With feet in the sand, he could never keep up with the field he literally helped create.


Anonymous said...

It seems AIPAC is going to win no matter who gets elected and that is an Obama/Bush legacy.

Anonymous said...

I guess, that, now he has trow in the towel, We can all CLAP OUR HANDS !!

Anonymous said...

Terry Schaivo has her revenge! But all the gop'ers are neo-fascists.

Anonymous said...

What does AIPAC have to do with this story?

Anonymous said...

God help us!

Anonymous said...

'Sand in his shoes', the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce should give your blog that award!