We live in an time when it often feels as if there are no consequences.
After losing two wars, a financial crisis and a concerted effort to prevent a recovery, Republicans now hold more elected state and federal offices than any time since the Great Depression. Instead of preventing gun deaths, the gun industry profits off them by raising the specter that universal background checks will somehow lead to confiscation. The gun lobby has prevented researchers from even looking into “the basic questions” of gun violence and gets a heads up from the Centers for Disease Control whenever the government agency is about to publish any study related to firearms.
It’s enough to make you just give up and say, “Stuff happens.”
But watching Jeb Bush turn into the Liz Cheney of 2016 is enough to make you believe that even a few Republicans remember 2001-2008.
A new YouGov poll shows the former governor of Florida receiving 4 percent support in the GOP primary. When Mitt Romney struggled with being a unsurprising establishment favorite in 2012, he never dropped below 14 percent. In terms of poll numbers, Bush isn’t this year’s Romney. He’s this year’s Michele Bachmann.
Unfortunately, Jeb’s struggles have little to do with him being the personification of everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party. He represents all the failed policies Republicans want to repeat. He’s literally arguing that we can afford a $3 trillion tax break that mostly goes to the richest and a third Bush war in Iraq — but we can’t afford to keep Social Security as it is.
But these are the views — more or less — of every serious Republican candidate for president.
The GOP candidates for president, except the clownish Trump, haven’t rejected the failures of the George W. Bush administration. And not even Trump disputed Jeb’s insistence at the last GOP debate that W. “Kept us safe” because there was only one 9/11 on his watch. That was the one line of Jeb’s that inspired the crowed to burst into cheers.
George is far more popular than Jeb. And if anything saves his campaign, it will be W. stepping out to keep the bucks raining in.
Jeb could be easily winning this race if he was offering anything that inspired the GOP base.
But dull, condescending yammering falls flat compared to Trump’s racism/xenophobia, Carson’s Christian supremacy, Fiorina’s bald-face lying and Rubio’s ability to occasionally sound human.
If Jeb weren’t terrible at running for president, we could easily be seeing the GOP rushing to embrace another Bush. While that would reaffirm the public perception that GOP cannot learn from recent history, it’s nice to imagine there is some small consequence to proudly embracing the legacy of a presidency that continues to scar America and the world.