Daily Beast columnist Will Rahn doesn't pull any punches as he tells Jeb Bush to pack it in and drop out of the race for the good of the GOP.
The conventional wisdom a few months ago was that your brother’s catastrophic presidency would be your bid’s biggest hurdle. Now, in a fit of desperation, it looks like you’re about to draft him to stump for you. Putting aside that George W. is still despised by a not-insignificant swath of the Republican electorate, how is that going to play in the general should you somehow win the nomination? You’re making the Democrats’ job easy, Jeb. They’ll be more than happy to attach you to his legacy, and you’re doing that for them.
Speaking of the Democrats, we know what will happen if you drag this out through next spring. The going thinking right now is that the guys really low in the polls—your Rand Pauls and George Patakis—should be next to drop out. But what damage do they do to the GOP by staying in? You Bushes, meanwhile, for all your patrician aloofness, are some of the dirtiest campaigners out there, and every jab you get in at your fellow establishmentarians like Marco Rubio is going to be used against them by the left. It’s one thing to toughen up a nominee in a primary fight—it’s another to make them damaged goods, unready to lead. If you’ve got some golden piece of oppo that will take Rubio or John Kasich out of consideration, by all means use it now. Otherwise, time to step aside.
Electability has always been the central rationale of your candidacy. We’re reminded it’s been more than 30 years since a Republican outside the Bush family won the presidency. In 2000, your brother was able to make the case that he was the strongest candidate to take on the Democrats, particularly after he dragged John McCain’s name through the mud.
But your brother was an able campaigner, and you are not. The polls showed he had a particularly good chance of winning back the White House; the same can’t really be said of you. And again, he was a disaster as president. You were doing a decent job of shedding all that baggage, but now that’s he’s joining you on the campaign trail, you’re going to be shouldering all of it. And not for nothing, but your principal strategist, Mike Murphy, does have the distinction of being the only 2016 guru to have already run against Hillary and lost.
And even if your brother wasn’t a nincompoop, Jeb, you’re doing a fine job of messing this up on your own. You’ve already had more than your fair share of flubs. That “stuff happens” quote may have initially been taken out of context by the media, but guess what: Running for president, particularly when you’re a Republican, means dealing with a hostile press. You will not always be treated fairly, you will rarely be given the benefit of the doubt. Contrast your statement with Rubio’s nearly perfect response to a question about Black Lives Matter that was making the rounds on Twitter last week, and you see why Republicans worry about you leading the party through 2016.
I have to admit, in whatever alternate universe where the evil version of me is a Republican political blogger, I'd be giving the Bush camp the same advice. The longer he stays in, the longet he becomes the punch line of the attacks on the GOP. "Just like his brother, only incompetent and stupid" is not exactly the best image the GOP wants to project if they want to win.
Granted, it's hard not to project that image given the people running. But at this point, there's no way Jeb becomes the nominee. The problem is, the Republicans have already committed millions to his campaign, so he can keep going as long as he wants to.
And keep doing damage the whole time. Stay in Jeb, please!