It won’t be an unrecorded miracle of the Lord. Nor will it be a modern-day Houdini act, but one can bet in six months the herd mentality that dominates the news of the nation will be talking about the political resurrection of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential candidacy.
Remember that fella a few years back written off because of bimbo eruptions? He surprised the media by running second in the New Hampshire primary, and thus became “the Comeback Kid.”
So pervasive is the view that Jeb is roadkill one shouldn’t be surprised if those institutions of collective wisdom---the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal---don’t editorialize that Governor Bush should withdraw to help clear the field.
Jeb ought to print up a greeting card to send to all those writing him off with that famous Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain, his nom d’plume) quote embossed on the outside in both English and Spanish: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Twain, ironically, was responding to a reporter’s inquiry about his health and had written the reporter back. His response was published in the June 2nd, 1897 edition of the now defunct New York Journal.
There are at least two prominent Idaho Republicans who think it is too early, before even one ballot has been cast, to be reading Jeb’s obituary.
They are Boise attorney and former Idaho Attorney General, Lt. Governor and almost Governor David Leroy; and, Emily Baker, the office managing partner for the region-wide Gallatin Public Affairs firm.
Both can be called Bush loyalists as each has worked for either Bush “41” (George Herbert Walker Bush) or Bush “43” (George W. Bush). Neither, though, is a designated spokesperson for the Jeb Bush campaign. They are, however, members in good standing of the extended Bush family, and both articulated why it is way premature to write Jeb’s obit.
First, is the “competency and qualified” issue, which both think will matter when voters actually step into voting booths. They reason even many Tea Party Republicans will come back to their guy - it has been fun to flirt with the two major outsiders - but voting for president is serious business. Most folks will want the experience and qualifications of someone who has actually run a large government bureaucracy.
In the current Republican field only two have: Jeb Bush and Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Asked to respond to speculation that to jump start his campaign (and get past the debacle of the “Jeb Can Fix It” slogan) Bush might try to entice Kasich to be his “running mate” now. The thinking is there would be a clear perception that together they can deliver their home state’s electoral votes (Florida has 29 and Ohio has 18) in November, 2016.
Jeb knows the Republican ticket has to carry their home states to offset the lock presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will have on California’s 55 electoral votes.
This is a version of the second argument against counting Jeb down for the count. Jeb can win in November and he is the only Republican in the field that national polls have shown can run even or even defeat Mrs. Clinton.
Third, Jeb has the money (reportedly around $110 million) to stay in the game right to the convention . He has raised the most, still has the most (the exception being billionaire Trump who is self-financing), and more importantly the “money boys” on Wall Street are standing by him because they know those that run the RNC know the party is headed for extinction if its nomnee is an outsider, or an inexperienced senator.
One may ask just how can the national party manipulate the process to ensure a brokered convention?
The answer is GOP powers will mandates changes in the process of selecting national convention delegates. States will have to forego any winner-take-all-the-delegates primaries and caucuses. The party will mandate proportional to the vote allocation of delegates and/or whoever receives the most votes in a congressional district. The result regardless will be a brokered convention.
Then, in a back room behind closed doors “Wall Street” will dictate either the Bush/Kasich ticket, or give Mitt Romney another shot. Most intriguing, though, would be a “draft” of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Fifth, and finally, there is a tenacity to the Buahes that they mask, but its there just beneath the skin. It is best exemplified by the matriarch, Barbara Bush. Quite simply all the Bushes know politics is a contact sport. They play to win, a simple fact one should never underestimate. They may forgive, they never forget.
Leroy and Baker make a compelling case reports on Jeb’s political demise if not exaggerated, are certainly premature.