John McCain

Stay Out the Bushes

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Speaking of candidates Americans don't want to vote for, Quin Hillyer makes the case for a third president Bush: John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, the tall one with an Al Gore appetite.

[H]e isn't running now, but the new, front-loaded primary system may, counterintuitively, allow him to enter the race late as a "white knight" rescuing Republicans from a morass of unhappiness and indecision.

Look: No. No, this won't happen. Republicans don't want it to happen. In June last year Gallup asked if Jeb was an "acceptable choice" for Republican primary voters. Fifty-two percent said he wasn't, more than said this of Bill Frist, of Mitt Romney, of Newt Gingrich, of George Pataki. The same month CNN asked the general population if they'd vote for Jeb; 63 percent said no, definitely not, 15 points higher than for even John Kerry. In a May Fox poll, Hillary beat him by 16 points. In a 2005 Hotline poll, if John McCain ran as an independent and Jeb as a Republican, Jeb would get 18 percent to McCain's 40, which is less than Ross Perot got. Quin's answer:

[A] lot can change in a year. Ask George H. W. Bush, he of the 91 percent approval rating in 1991, about how fast political fortunes can change. What if, by late winter of next year, the vaunted troop surge in Iraq is seen to have been a major success? What if the continued over-reaching by Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha makes President George W. Bush look good by comparison, just as Bill Clinton looked good when compared with the caricature Newt Gingrich allowed to be drawn of himself?

My answers: it is easier for polls to fall than for them to rise, if the surge works McCain will probably win the GOP nomination and cruise through the general, and the "over-reaching" by the Democrats consists of extremely popular anti-war positions.

Americans are done with the Bushes. They really are; they've decided that they make lousy presidents. Maybe there'll be some retroactive nostalgia for them after four years of the Biden presidency, but by that point the Mark Sanfords and Tim Pawlentys of the world are going to have better campaigns than a guy who hasn't run for anything in ten years.

NEXT: The Dan Smoot/Liz Smith Axis

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  1. Why stop at Florida? Let ol’ Jeb fuck up the U.S. for a bit as well.

  2. Republicans are so confident the surge is going to fail, and Iraq continue to get worse, that they’re making their electoral decisions based on that assumption…

    but they’re still eager to send other people’s kids into the meat grinder, despite the fact that they are confident it won’t do any good.

    I was going to write “Unbelievable!” but no, it’s not, really.

  3. “Republicans are so confident the surge is going to fail, and Iraq continue to get worse, that they’re making their electoral decisions based on that assumption…”

    Are you suggesting that they’re then going to blame the failure on the Dems? What would the strategy be for them, then?

    (besides imitating Pee Wee Herman – particularly at the movies – i mean)

    thx!

  4. This is some argument. You make a claim about how the people feel and then to support it you note “they really are.” And what are these “extremely popular anti-war positions” the Democrats are taking–do you mean the ones that whenever they try to translate into legislation, the polls you love show the majority are opposed to?

    Jeb was not in the cards even when Bush was riding high–this is not some new anti-Bush trend. (Back in the 90s people were fed up with Bush the elder–so what?)

    In any case, polls right now are meaningless as a barometer of how people will vote in the general election. (They do mean other things, but nothing relevant to Weigel’s claims.) In the 70s, Weigel types could confidently explain that someone like Ronald Reagan had no chance. A few years ago, Al Gore–unlike Jeb, a figure well known to the public–had very high no vote figures, but still managed to get more than the guy who defeated him.

  5. VM,

    I’m suggesting that they’re avoding candidates too closely associated with the war, because they know damn well it will be a loser in 2008.

    The strategy for the Dems will simply be to roll tape of Republicans talking about the war from 2002-2005.

  6. Gotcha.

    “The strategy for the Dems will simply be to roll tape of Republicans talking about the war from 2002-2005.”

    ooof. Gonna be a painful campaign.

    Or we’re gonna see lots of Clintonian wordsmithing by Repubs (see, “John”) to twist their words to “show” they were correct.

    Mishun Akomplishd!

    thanks

  7. “Americans are done with the Bushes.”

    Really? I’m not buying this for one second. We re-elected the Bush currently in charge after getting a really good look at his sorry band of merry Constitution shredders. We–the majority of Americans that is–bought into nearly every lie about why we went into Iraq for a good 4 1/2 years at the least. I really don’t think we are quite out of our retarded phase yet. We might never be.


  8. Americans are done with the Bushes. They really are; they’ve decided that they make lousy presidents. Maybe there’ll be some retroactive nostalgia for them after four years of the Biden presidency, but by that point the Mark Sanfords and Tim Pawlentys of the world are going to have better campaigns than a guy who hasn’t run for anything in ten years.

    Wow, they should put that paragraph next to the online dictionary definition of “pundit’s fallacy.”

  9. I really don’t think we are quite out of our retarded phase yet. We might never be.

    As delightfully true as that statement is, pinko, I’m inclined to agree with Weigel. I’m a Floridian who (unlike jimmydageek) actually liked Jeb as governor (at least as compared to the offered alternatives).

    But I don’t want him as prez…his actions during the Schiavo mess pretty much canned that one for me…

    And, more to the point, I think a lot of people out there probably do have Bush fatigue

  10. Hey, Ol’ Jeb already said he has no hope of running for Prez. He said his political capital is all spent.

    Nick

  11. But I don’t want him as prez…his actions during the Schiavo mess pretty much canned that one for me…

    I was actually trying to think of Jeb negatives and must confess I had pretty much forgotten that one.

    I voted for Jeb all three times he ran for governor, which is rare for me. But I doubt I’d vote for him for Prez.

    By the way are other Florida papers fawning over Charlie Crist the way the Orlando Sentinel seems to be?

  12. “his actions during the Schiavo mess pretty much canned that one for me”

    That sort of did it for me too, but I wonder…

    Just out of curiousity, what did McCain do during the Schiavo nonsense? I can’t remember.

  13. seems that way in tampa, isaac.

  14. Why stop at Florida? Let ol’ Jeb fuck up the U.S. for a bit as well.

    What exactly did he fuck up in Florida? He is possibly the only Republican I have ever voted for in my life, and other than his disgraceful actions on l’affaire Schiavo we could have done a lot worse. If nothing else at least you don’t start cringing as soon as he opens his mouth and does battle with the English language.

  15. My bad. My main strife with Jeb was his handling of the Schiavo case. Otherwise, I concede that there were very few faults during his tenure.

  16. Before googling “McCain Schiavo,” I was pretty sure the authoritarian a-hole would be on the side of state intervention into this private matter to displace her legally recognized surrogate decisionmaker with the wisdom of Our Master in Washington.

    And waddaya know, he was all for it.

  17. Re Jeb: If he wanted to run in ’12 or ’16, his chances would depend largely on who he was running against. I don’t think he could win in 2008 because there is a lot of “Bush fatigue” out there. But give us all a chance to forget — or to have, say, Preznit HRC to give us a different bad taste in our mouths — and things may look different.

  18. polls mean nothing at crunch time. if the only way the republicans can win is with jeb…they will sell their kids to make it happen. If the rumor is true that Jeb is the love child of L.B.J…..he might have missed the retardo gene….

  19. As someone who is a registered FL Republican and who has voted for Jeb for governor, I do not want him as president. Not because I think he’d do a bad job as president (he’d likely do better by my lights than either his brother or his father), but for purely small “r” republican reasons, there have been enough Bushes at the top of the federal executive branch to last at least a century. It is time for the GOP to develop people from other families for the top jobs.

    Sorry Jeb, GW took the spot, you should of tried to knock Nelson out of his Senate seat when you had the chance.

  20. By the way are other Florida papers fawning over Charlie Crist the way the Orlando Sentinel seems to be?

    Nope…as referenced here:http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/020107/opl_7695817.shtml

    Admittedly the author, Littlepage, is a flaming liberal and a bit of a crank but he’s a staple of the paper.

  21. “And waddaya know, he was all for it.”

    Thanks for that. I guess that firmly closes the book on the straight talk express; that is, if there is going to be any consistency at all. If the Schiavo affair condemns Jeb, it should condemn all those other douchebags who rushed back to DC milk the issue.

    So by my count, with Brownback (?) that makes three elephants down for the count…so it’s Rudy then?

  22. I’m done with the Bushes … until Jenna ’36.

  23. joe demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of both major parties:

    The strategy for the Dems will simply be to roll tape of Republicans talking about the war from 2002-2005.

    Yep, that’ll do it.

  24. There’s only one thing that could get me to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008:

    Jeb Bush as the GOP nominee.

    It’s not that I think he’s the worst the GOP has to offer, it’s just that we don’t need another dynasty. Given a choice between two dynasties, I’d choose the less disastrous of the two.

  25. Ideally, we could have Hillary for eight years, and then Jeb for eight years after that. 1988-2024 with a Bush or a Clinton as president. At that point, we could call the whole thing off and have a rotating hereditary monarchy.

  26. swilfredo–

    Jeb’s monkeying around with the state university governance system has done damage that will take decades to unravel. The sloppy mess he created will take several more years in court just to determine who has authority to do what. His administration has also created a structural funding deficit for the universities that will probably never be made up. Disclaimer: I am normally in favor of decreasing government funding. However, in Florida, the Legislature also sets tuition rates, which means that universities have no ability to make up the lost revenue by increasing tuition.

    Jeb did a good job responding to the hurricanes, and is undoubtedly more intelligent and articulate than his brothers. But Jeb has a hostility toward dissenting viewpoints that makes W seem downright diplomatic. He would never want to be President since he wouldn’t be able to always have his way with Congress like he did with the FL legislature.

  27. I thought Jeb Bush was a surprisingly good governor (sans the Schiavo mess and a couple of other matters), but, like most Americans (I hope), I’m not voting for yet another rerun candidate. I think we can come up with another family from which we can extract a president.

    Still, it’s too bad we didn’t get the smarter Bush in 2000. I think he would’ve been a much, much better president than his brother. Maybe not great but certainly not awful.

    thoreau, if it somehow came down to a Clinton-Bush general election, I would vote third party even if I didn’t normally do so. I don’t think either could get nominated (assuming that Jeb runs–something I’m almost certain won’t happen this time around), but I’m opposed to continuing this perverse trend one election longer. No Clintons. No Bushes. Next!

  28. Jeb’s monkeying around with the state university governance system has done damage that will take decades to unravel.

    I hear you, but I think that is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The state university system has a lot of other problems outside of governance. My office is on the campus of one of the state schools but not affiliated with it. I see the university president all of the time, and her only focus is on creating a research goliath. As a taxpayer it is my belief that our state university system is supposed to be in the business of educating the citizens, but I don’t even see that on the short list of priorities. I just can’t get excited about the governance.

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