Jeb Bush is sinking in national opinion polls and has even fallen behind Donald Trump here in his home state of Florida. Following Bush’s race-baiting on Monday his standing continues to slip. Years of arrogance, entitlement and being disconnected from the realities of grassroots activists in his party have taken a toll on Jeb!
On the campaign trail Bush regularly demonstrates an arrogance and inability to connect with GOP base voters. His speeches often take on a condescending tone and many of his interviews on television yield a frustrated figure. Despite Bush being built up by Republican establishment talking heads and cable news channels, his standing in the polls continues to drop.
The tone which Bush takes in speeches, that of a school master lecturing unruly students is the same exact tenor he took in Florida. While many in the capital press corps were not impressed by this, in the low-caliber world of Florida politics Bush got away with it for years. Many reporters in Florida were not snowed by the act and if Bush didn’t like a news story or the tone of a question he would blow up. Jeb faced zero electoral consequences with low-information Florida General Election voters (Bush didn’t face a GOP Primary challenge in 1998 or 2002) for the way he conducted himself in office. The economy was good and when he ran for reelection in 2002 the Florida Democratic Party gave him an assist by nominating an equally tone deaf candidate who was worse than milk toast on the stump.
Bush however not having had to connect with GOP activists in some time and without a sharp concise message for television interview is looking like a dud in this Presidential race. The name Phil Gramm (1996) quickly comes to mind when watching Bush’s campaign implode. Gramm, a big money GOP Senator from Texas had all the momentum early on but did not even make it to New Hampshire. Gramm’s Supply-Side economic theories were still in vogue during the 1990’s in the GOP but he proved to be a poor candidate who despite having the second most endorsements in the race and the near united support of the conservative talking heads that had come to prominence in the Clinton first term, he was a dud.
The rustiness of Bush is apparent almost every time he speaks. Caught in between a desire to placate conservative activists, yet still look reasonable for the media and monied interests, he has not been able to define himself properly. What’s worse Bush consistently looks shifty, arrogant and borderline uncomfortable on the stump. This happens after years of not running for office, not having to connect with GOP primaries and being handled with kid gloves by the media for whatever reason.
After years of being virtually handed success and credibility, Jeb Bush’s run of luck is catching up with him. That’s why in the latest Q-poll he finds himself a stunning 21 points behind Trump nationally. With nowhere else to go, Bush will stick it out but what is obvious is that GOP primary voters are looking for someone other than him. While he could still win the nomination, his rustiness and sense of entitlement have led him to stare into the abyss.
I used to believe that, whatever their politics, at least the Bushes were no bigots. Guess I was wrong.