Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vampire-Paller Jeb In Trouble

Ever since I exposed Jeb Bush as a vampire-paller last year, I've been waiting for his campaign to collapse. I'm a bit saddened that no opposition researchers seem to have found my article or had any interest in using it, but that's probably because Jeb has been shooting himself in the foot all on his own, over and over again.

The South Carolina Republican Primary this weekend could very well be ground zero for Jeb's campaign. According to recent polls, Trump is ahead by a large margin among likely primary voters, and while Jeb sought the endorsement of popular South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, it instead went to Marco Rubio. The next few states look even worse, so a bad showing on Saturday might just do him in.

One could imagine GOP front-runner Donald Trump getting away with it -- calling himself the greatest presidential disrupter or whatnot -- but coming from Bush, it felt forced and unconvincing, as if he were a 22-year-old pitching a venture capital firm on Tinder for gerbils. Trump could pitch that -- it’d be a great, great place for classy gerbils to meet -- but you could tell, deep down, Jeb knew how ridiculous it sounded.

“Disrupter Jeb,” who’d set aside his glasses for a more youthful, contacts-based look, was just one of numerous Jebs put forward by the candidate that night. There was "Swagger Jeb," trying to mimic Trump’s bluster and self-confidence, boasting of his abilities. There was "Tea Party Jeb," stressing how he’d move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on his first day in office and countermand President Barack Obama’s executive orders. There was "Adult Jeb," highlighting his experience handling natural disasters and battles with teachers unions as Florida’s governor.

And then there was Jeb Bush, a member of today’s most successful political dynasty, highlighting the hawkish foreign policy of his brother, former President George W. Bush and the strong moral fiber of his father, former President George H. W. Bush. “If every child had parents like George and Barbara Bush growing up, we’d be a completely different country,” he told the crowd.

It's possible that Jeb might be a better president than his brother. At least, I would sure hope so. But what he's shown so far in the race for the Republican nomination is that he's a flat-out terrible campaigner, while his brother was an excellent one. And by the way, I expect that's pretty much the nicest thing you will ever hear me say about George W. Bush.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, appears set to duplicate his big New Hampshire win on Saturday. I think those witches who tried to hex him need to go back to the drawing board, because he's doing far better than anyone expected at this point in the race.

UPDATE: So as it turns out, the polls were right. Trump won South Carolina, and Jeb is done. And to think it happened without anyone deploying my vampire-paller allegations against him! I'll keep them around, though, should he ever run for office again.

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