Monday, June 15, 2015


Jeb Bush is throwing his hat in the ring today in his adopted city of Miami Florida. In reality he's pointing at his hat already in the center of the ring on top of Ted Cruz's and going "Yeah, that's mine. I mean, it says 'Jeb Bush' right on it--so that wasn't exactly a tough call--but it's mine. That is definitely my hat guys." Of course this contrasts to Hillary's 'second launch' this weekend--another case of stating what everyone already knew.

So now Bush is IN.

But He CAN'T WIN!!
FiveThirtyEight finds him a "weak front runner"--while most of the party's big-wigs haven't chosen a candidate yet, Bush has a lackluster 1pt lead over the crowd and only 28% of the assigned total so far. That isn't great. Most eventual party nominees were doing better by this point.
But wait, you say, if no one is doing any better and Bush generally polls in front, doesn't that make him the guy to beat? Well, yes--if you think he's in a good position to win the nomination and then the general when things get rolling--but if there's one group of people who hate Jeb worse than the Democrats, it's the Republican base. To the Democrats he's a maybe-credible-threat (especially against Hillary)--but to the Republican base he's the triumph of the establishment combined with the betrayal of Bush times the opportunity cost of a real conservative candidate.

The base would rather have Michelle Bachmann than Jeb Bush--and that ain't an exaggeration.

Combine this with the fact that Bush is effectively running the "general" during the primary by sticking to his guns on Common Core and a path-to-citizenship for illegals and his lack of pandering alone is a kick in the face for conservatives.

If he can't win the primary he won't win the general--if he somehow manages to pull out a primary win contrast ex-presidents W. vs. Bill and see who wins the battle of the last names. Bush is a non-starter.

On The Other Hand . . .
On, uh, the other hand, Bush is winning right now and his campaign hasn't even started. In theory things should go up from here. Who is going to get in and change things? Kaisch? Uh-huh. Bush is going to raise all the money he needs and while his burn-rate is mega (allegedly he hired a lot of consultants to keep them out of other people's groups) his fund-raising is mega.

Those guys trailing him in 538's list? Rand Paul and Huckabee--two non-starters. The real threats (Rubio and Walker) are down at the very bottom with 1 endorsement point each). Once you take out the nonsense candidates Bush has a 12pt lead.

Let's also keep something else in mind: if the Republican party is to have a demographic future the future of it looks something like Jeb Bush. Yes, he might be too-early for the GOP in 2016--but he might not. At some point some Republican is going to have (a) reach out to Hispanics in a way that is meaningful (i.e. not Ted Cruz) and (b) find a path back to bi-partisanship. A guy who is clearly his-own-man isn't a bad place to start with that.

Also: while much will be made of his last name, there's only so far you can go with that if Hillary is in the race. Jeb is actually likable. Hillary is 'likable enough.' The fact is that Jeb is hated virulently by the base not because he is the anti-base: Huntsman was the anti-base too and he was mocked but drew comparatively little hate-mail. No, Bush is hated because he's a top-tier threat.

His campaign may have stumbled a few times--but he visited Europe without any gaffes and the election is more than a year away. Walker isn't looking like the Lebron James of politics he is on paper (don't count him out--but he isn't running the table either) and Rubio is still a first-term Senator. Jeb is in the pole-position and seeing that as anything but a big-ass-positive is naive.

The Net-Net on Jeb
Despite Jeb's strength he has a tough path in the early days. He pretty much has to win Florida or he's done and that was the same strategy as Guillani (remember how that turned out). If it were Jeb vs. Walker that'd  be one thing--but Jeb vs. Rubio is a whole different ballgame. Jeb will have advantages Rudy didn't (Florida is hideously expensive--and Jeb will have hideous amounts of dough)--but while Jeb's ties to the Cuban community are not bullshit (he was the Republican chair in Florida and made it his mission to register every Cuban as a Republican--he pretty much did) he's up against a real, actual Hispanic.

It's too early to call anything right now--but The Omnivore find's Jeb's lead real but brittle. If he tanks too much in New Hampshire or doesn't win Florida (worst case: comes in third) it's hard to see how he continues. Sure, his strategy is the long-game but he has to convince donors he has staying power. That's going to be hard if he isn't winning anything. That, uhm, goes for voters too.

The question is going to be how Jeb decides to play things post-roll-out. Does he go Romney-Death-Star on Marco Rubio? Does he decide to cripple Scott Walker and figure Iowa is a loss--but he can beat Rubio head-to-head? Does he 11th-Commandment / Run-The-General and just attack Hillary out of the gate? Hard to say. He'll have a fair amount of firepower so we should see some fireworks once he opens his positive front.

That will tell us more about how he's proceeding than the paper-primary we can see from here.

But What's He Thinking?
This isn't a hard one. The GOP needs an establishment candidate and while Walker and Perry can audition for that position Bush can just go be it. He's the old-school GOP that had credibility with a lineage back more than seven years. He's pre-crazy, moderate, and while he hasn't been governor of Florida for a while his political roots here go way, way back. He really does have a claim to Hispanic outreach that no one--not even Rubio--can match.

So he's thinking he's obviously the guy.

But what's, you know, in his head? Let's take a look via Omnivorous Telepathy . . .

I'm gonna fucking poison Marco's Merlot after all this is over. I'll use something that won't kill him--just ruin his whole week. What a fucker. He's 40 and it's his time now?? He's off the Christmas card list! Maybe I can have Sgt. Ramos on the force give him another 14 traffic tickets. Wouldn't that be something. I should check on that.

But let's see--Walker's a little tougher: can't people see he's dumb as a stick? Gotta expose him. Debates are bullshit--but maybe I can plant some questions with my buddies at FOX. Let's see . . . what should I . . . Oh--who was the 31st President? That's a good one. What periodicals do you read? Heh. That one got Palin and Walker will have to ask what a 'periodical' is. What's your major, baby? I should set that up with some foxy lady. Moron.

Now I just need to ship some of these consultants off to someplace safe  . . . hey . . . didn't Obama free up some space at Gitmo?? I bet I know someone who knows someone--alright super-expensive team, it's time for a little 'Havana Vacation.' Heh heh. Goodbye burn-rate!

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