Jeb Bush Panicking to Discover Voters Just Aren't That into Him

The ultimate Potemkin candidate of 2016?


I always like them better after they retire. |||

In my July-issue Editor's Note column released earlier today, I expressed some skepticism about National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke's conservatarian project, partly on grounds that libertarians should be wary of a political party that keeps on coughing up government-growing Republicans with the last name "Bush." So it's only fair to point out that, according to the shrewd political Washington Examiner political columnist Byron York, Jeb Bush is floundering to the point of shaking up his campaign staff.

The remedying began Monday with word that Bush has shaken up his campaign before the campaign has even been formally announced. The Bush team sent out word that Danny Diaz, a respected, hard-charging Republican operative, will become the campaign's manager instead of Bush's original choice, the highly thought-of Iowa strategist David Kochel, who will move to another senior position in the campaign. […]

"[The donors] said that in January, Bush laid out a scenario of where he would be by now, and it has not remotely happened," [an adviser to the Bush campaign] recalled. "They said the plan was for Bush to use this period to emerge as frontrunner, and launch as decisive frontrunner with the model, interestingly enough, being George W. Bush in 1999. But that hasn't happened, obviously, and I expect this bloodletting is to show that they are aware and trying to take steps to address."

Jeb Bush shows every outward sign to be the ultimate Potemkin candidate in 2016. His main three (inter-related) selling propositions are his best-in-the-early-field name recognition, his ability to amass the biggest warchest, and his ensuing (theoretical) inevitability. The main obstacle to that plan: actual voters, whose views on ratifying another Bush coronation have been refreshingly hostile. As I argued back in February, 2015-16 is not a good season for a GOP candidate running on "electability."

This reflects positively on Republicans, and negatively on Democrats, who seem to be grimly trudging toward a coronation of their own. I would bet the farm against a Bush-Clinton general election; here's hoping that the latter half of that combo feels the sting of competition as well.