Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is Jeb Bush the Dumbest Man on the Planet?

I really DO wonder at times...

(And I fear the answer is "Yes!")

Anyway... here's Charles C.W. Cooke writing in NRO:

*  *  *

Jeb Bush and his team have it in for Marco Rubio.

Trouble is, they’re not entirely sure why.

One moment, Rubio is callously indifferent toward abortion; the next he is a mouth-breathing zealot who hopes to keep women barefoot in the kitchen.

Yesterday he was an incorrigible slacker whose routine truancy is cause for resignation; today, he is a talented lawmaker who is better suited to the upper house than to the executive branch.

Last month he was a great hope for the future; tonight he will be an uppity parvenu who has not yet comprehended that the White House is for adults.

The New York Times reports that Bush and his acolytes have put aside “$20 million to damage Mr. Rubio’s reputation and halt his sudden ascent in the polls.”



Would that [the Bushies] had a strategy to go along with their haul.

In New Hampshire, the Jeb-associated PAC “Right to Rise” has been testing how voters respond to being told that Rubio skipped a Senate vote designed to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Elsewhere, the outfit has been contriving attack ads suggesting that Rubio is excessively committed to the pro-life cause. Well, chaps, which is it? Does he care too little or care too much?

One can only dream of being a fly on the wall in the meetings: “Mike has a great plan.” “Okay.” “Yes, he’s going to damage Jeb’s main primary rival by hitting him from the left on abortion and starting a vicious rumor that he doesn’t spend enough time in Washington.” “Brilliant!”


About that latter critique: The Bush bunch seems to be somewhat unclear as to whether Rubio should stay in the Senate or engage in auto-defenestration from the top floor of the Russell Building.

During the last Republican debate, Jeb accused Rubio of treating his job like a “French work week” and invited him to “resign” if he remained unwilling to put in more hours. Alas, his PAC must have missed the headlines. In a story fed to the Times yesterday, Jeb’s hatchet man, Mike Murphy, all but endorsed Rubio’s re-election. “We all supported him for the Senate,” Murphy explained. “We all support him staying there.”

How touching it is to see the Bush campaign following the rules and declining to coordinate with its backers.



As for the overarching question “Is Rubio qualified to be president?” Bush seems conflicted.

Before he found himself in direct competition with Rubio, Jeb was effusive in his praise for him, describing him variously as “probably the most articulate conservative on the scene today,” as a man in possession of “what the Republican party needs to have,” and as the purveyor of a “hopeful, optimistic message.”

Rubio, Bush famously admitted, “makes me cry for joy.”

Does Rubio have presidential qualities? Jeb certainly used to think so, contending that Rubio exhibited the “intellectual acumen and the fortitude to be a good president.”

Now? He doesn’t know.



As David Frum has noted, if Jeb wanted to gravely injure Rubio, rather than bite impotently at his ankles, he would “salute” him “for courageously working across the aisle to support Obama on amnesty.”

“Look,” he would say, “Marco and I have our differences, but on immigration our views are identical.”

Naturally, Jeb can do this only if he is willing to commit suicide in the process, which, self-evidently, he is not.

And so, as Churchill might have put it, he will “go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent,” until his political death comes, mercifully and in good time, by natural causes alone.

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