Thursday, May 25, 2017

The dynasty is dead as Trump sees off Jeb Bush

The dynasty is dead as Trump sees off Jeb Bush
“The Bushes always bristled at the ‘d’ word,” said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, but they won’t have to worry about that anymore. “The dynasty has perished, with a whimper.” Jeb Bush has pulled the plug on his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, having failed to win a single primary. It’s hard to say which moment of Jeb’s doomed campaign was saddest, said Dara Lind on Vox.com. There was his team’s widely mocked decision to place an exclamation mark after Jeb’s name on his campaign logo, in an attempt to make the wonkish, patrician candidate seem exciting. There was the time that Bush implored a silent New Hampshire crowd to “please clap” during one of his speeches. But the final humiliation came when Jeb wheeled out his more personable brother, George W. Bush, to help campaign in South Carolina – and still crawled in a distant fourth.

The campaign must have been a confusing experience for Bush, said Betsy Woodruff on The Daily Beast. After Barack Obama thrashed Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, the Republicans brought together a brain trust of party elders to figure out where the GOP was going wrong. They concluded that the party needed to reach out beyond the “Old Christian White Man” demographic. Judged on those terms, Bush’s campaign should have been a great success. He consistently championed immigration reform, had many prominent Hispanic supporters and employed a diverse team that included many women in senior roles. Yet that and $150m in campaign donations “didn’t do him a lick of good”. Donald Trump, meanwhile, prospered by doing the exact opposite – stoking fear of immigrants and treating female rivals with “contempt”.

Trump was Bush’s undoing, said Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. The real estate mogul “seems to genuinely despise Bush”, and he used Bush’s “gentlemanly dignity” against him to devastating effect, mocking him as a “low-energy” wimp living under the thumb of his Mexican wife. Trump, whose political act owes a clear debt to the trash-talking conventions of professional wrestling, knows the public “always loves seeing the self-proclaimed good guy get whacked with a chair”. Well, I don’t, said Rod Dreher in The American Conservative. It made me queasy to see Trump repeatedly insult Bush and his family. I don’t regret that Bush is out of the race, “but I regret very much that what wins in American politics this year are the tactics employed by the man who conspicuously lacks what Bush plainly has: character”.


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