Either the NY Times is still pretending that the GOP nomination hasn't been locked up by Jeb Bush because they want a nice long primary fight news cycle for the next year, or Jeb really isn't quite as good at this campaign thing as his dad and brother were.
Three months into what allies once confidently described as a “shock and awe” drive to overcome his rivals and dominate the Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush’s early campaigning looks like the juggernaut that wasn’t.
He is grappling with the Republican Party’s prickly and demanding ideological blocs, particularly evangelical leaders and pro-Israel hawks. He is struggling to win over grass-roots activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, states he has visited only a handful of times. And Mr. Bush’s undisputed advantage — the millions of dollars streaming rapidly into his political organization — may not be enough to knock out other contenders.
For all the Republican “bundlers” who have signed up to raise money for Mr. Bush, others remain uncommitted or are hedging their bets by aiding more than one candidate. Some are privately chafing at what they view as the Bush camp’s presumption of their loyalty.
Other wealthy donors, mindful of their power to reshape the Republican race with “super PAC” donations, have been more direct: The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently made what two people briefed on it described as an “animated” call to one of Mr. Bush’s top supporters after former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Bush adviser, criticizedPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in a speech in March.
It is a far cry, party officials, activists and donors said, from the early success of George W. Bush, Mr. Bush’s brother, in securing the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.
For the Bush family, inevitability is not what it used to be. “There hasn’t been a coalescing around him like there was for his brother in 1998 and 1999,” said Ed Martin, who led the Missouri Republican Party until February and is now president of the Eagle Forum, the conservative group founded by Phyllis Schlafly. “I just don’t have a sense among big donors and Republican leaders that this is Jeb’s to lose.”
This is all wishful thinking, frankly. If the last week in Indiana proved one thing, it's that the corporate wing of the GOP is firmly in charge, and the Tea Party nut jobs aren't calling the shots anymore. Bad bets in 2012 won't be made again this time around.
Jeb may be a meatball, but in the end I think he's more inevitable than Hillary as the respective 2016 nominee of their party. Too much old money, old power, and old skeletons for something new to emerge from the party of the 1850s.