Beinart’s near-eulogy for Jeb Bush got this great response from a reader:
The media assumed that the person with the most money would last the longest. And normally, that’s true. Campaigns are like marathons. The person who wins is the person who makes it to the finish line and most candidates have to drop out because they run out of money. In the case of Bush, everyone assumed he’d never run out of money because they expected people to continue donating to his campaign.
When Bush started, everyone thought his last name would be his biggest disadvantage. Turns out it’s the only thing keeping him alive.
The biggest problem with Jeb is the candidate himself. On the campaign trail, he makes numerous gaffes. On debate stages, he looks weak. When he tries to attack his opponents, he fails miserably.
How do you screw up an attack on an opponent who doesn’t show up for his job? Jeb could’ve asked why Rubio wants to cut government waste but continues to let government waste money on his salary. Jeb could’ve pointed out that Rubio just likened himself to Barack Obama and John Kerry. Instead, he just stood there. Either Jeb can’t think on his feet or he didn’t expect Rubio to have a defense ready.
And that brings me to the other problem with Bush: his campaign staff. For days, they were hinting that they were going to attack Rubio on his voting record. Gee, if you tell your opponent in advance that you’re going to attack him, don’t act shocked when he comes prepared to deflect your attack and attack you.
Jeb’s performance should be required viewing for all presidential candidates.
Another reader adds:
It takes a burning maniacal passion to win the White House. This is something Hillary certainly does have going for her, as do Trump and Fiorina. Maybe Sanders too. All the presidents had it.
Jeb did not. Neither did Fred Thompson or Rudy. The donor class would not know this in advance; no one would have known it.
The first reader responds:
This is why debates are good. They’re like auditions for potential donors. Jeb comes across as someone who wants to be president but doesn’t want to actually campaign for it. It’s telling that the moment where he showed the most life was when he was talking about his fantasy football picks.
Jeb filmed an even lamer response on fantasy football almost two weeks ago:
Fallows’ post-debate analysis went up late last night. Money quote:
I do not recall ever seeing someone who is so un-joyful a campaigner, so manifestly not-up for the battle, as poor Jeb Bush.
Frum joins the pile on:
“Apologize to my wife!”
“Resign from the Senate!”
Jonathan Chait looks ahead:
Rubio dispatched Bush with a tone so understated, and almost pitying, it marked the instant and widely acknowledged death of Bush’s hopes. Rubio now inherits from the vanquished Bush the role of champion of Bushonomics and the general Bush strategy of combining folksy personal appeals, tiny dollops of policy for the working class, liberal instincts on immigration, and a fanatical devotion to the policy agenda of the party’s donor class. Rubio is more like George W. Bush than Jeb Bush ever was.
By the time the campaign is over, not only will all of Jeb’s donors have defected to Rubio, Poppy Bush may be signing over Jeb’s share of the family inheritance to Rubio.