Friday, March 13, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Why Jeb Bush is Not Wooing the "Base"

by Kit

Conservative writers John Nolte and Jonah Goldberg recently bemoaned, rather understandably, on twitter that while Mitt Romney at least tried to appeal to the conservative “base” Jeb Bush seems to show little to no desire to do so.

The better question would be, “Why would Jeb Bush want to appeal to the base?”

Like with Romney in the 2012 primaries, the base has already decided they hated him. Throughout the spring they attacked Governor Romney with an almost unparalleled sanguinolent fury. Anyone who lacked their required level of hatred for Romney was attacked for being an establishment, Rockefeller-Republican RINO already in the tank (and maybe on the dole!) for Romney. One example was Jonah Goldberg, who, though critic of Romney, failed to blast the candidate in every column as the death of conservatism and the Republican Party and was therefore branded as a RINO squish. An idiotic accusation considering this was the man who wrote Liberal Fascism and had attacked Bush’s spending binges… in 2003.

They only calmed down (somewhat) in the summer when Santorum and Gingrich dropped out, making Romney the definite nominee. They weren’t going to support Ron Paul even if hell froze over. So they (begrudgingly) gave their (reluctant) backing to Romney as he turned his sights towards Obama, though he still had to deal with attacks from the Ron Paul-wing of the GOP and the base still snipping at his heels, making sure he stayed within the dogma of the Talk-Radio Orthodoxy. The Party put out a platform bending over backwards to appeal to the Religious Right. For example, it called for a legal crackdowns on pornography (not child, adult). All while some, especially in the Religious Right, defended brain-dead quacks like Todd Akin.

And when he lost? Despite Romney’s gyrations and prostrations they attacked him for abandoning conservatism and failing to stick to conservative principles and running as a moderate. Romney was never pure enough for them and nothing he did would appease them, short of handing the nomination over to someone like Rick Santorum. They only warmed to him when he was seen as the anti-Jeb bush.

So, with this in mind, why would Jeb Bush want to appeal to a group of people who, as he well knows, already hate his guts, will never be satisfied by any level of contrition on his part, and might even undermine his general election campaign?

Heck, as Rick Perry learned, being a “conservative” candidate is no protection as they might still tear into your background looking for some spit of evidence that you are secretly a RINO squish. They were starting to do this to Scott Walker until the left started ragging him about his lack of a Bachelor’s Degree.

So, in their zeal to ensure that only the most pure of purest candidates is elected we have an election season where the most likely candidate knows that in order to win he must aim for the center and hope the crushing weight of inevitability and his army of donors carries him across the finish line. After all of the talk radio set’s inquisitorial vetting of any candidate they may now have created first candidate to run in the Rockefeller Republican mold in 40 years.



Kit said...

Ok, he's not quite as bad as a Rockefeller Republican would be, but you get the point.

tryanmax said...

I always thought talk radio's rationalizations for their overly-aggressive vetting echoed of "I hit you because I love you."

Critch said...

I'm not a Tea Partier by any means, but Jeb Bush seems wishy-washy. He just does. Years ago he said he didn't see a problem with an "assault weapons ban", he didn't see a problem with "registration of guns", frankly, why would I vote for a man who seems to be that anti-2nd Amendment? He seems soft on immigration, I know that we can't deport millions of people, but you can shut that border down until we sort things out. if he wins the primaries and is the GOP candidate, I'll vote for him...but we can do better.

AndrewPrice said...

My dislike for Bush is well known, but I have to agree with your analysis Kit. There is no reason whatsoever to pander to people who have made it clear that they will never accept you and will instead spend their time trying to undermine you.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I noticed some time ago that the "genuine conservative" movement has disingenuously adopted the idea of "tough love" to try to hide their hateful attacks on everyone they keep savaging.

Critch said...

I like the Reagan Theorem: "If you agree with someone 80% of the time, they're probably your friend." Jeb is certainly smart enough and I know he was a popular governor, so for the most part I'm keeping an open mind. I just have a few issues with him.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Reagan was right, and if we went with that, then I think we could easily win 60%+ of the public. Unfortunately, our side seems obsessed with 100% purity.

As for Bush, my biggest issue is that his brother and father both proved to be so bad for conservatism. That worries me.

Kit said...

re the Reagan Theorem,

Just about every "genuine conservatives" I've come across will say they agree to it. But when an issue comes up where a number of Republicans go against the party line they will declare that we cannot afford to compromise on this issue.

darski said...

what the repubs are demonstrating is that "if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. The thought that (yet) another Bush could run for office tells me that you are better off with the democrats. Dems are purposely evil, repubs are evil by stupidity.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's because they don't mean it. In effect, for the fringe, every controversial issue is a litmus test. In the end, there is almost nothing you can disagree about without being tagged as a RINO commie.

Kit said...


Another thing I've noticed is they seem to want pundits, not politicians. Pundits can say just about whatever they want however they want as long as it does not involve excessive profanity or endorsements of the Holocaust.The only requirement is that it brings in readers/viewers. (i.e., $$$)

Politicians, however, must deliver their messages the same way Hitchcock advised filmmakers to deliver exposition; "it is a pill that must be sugar-coated".

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That is the problem with what is essentially obsession. It's not enough that someone agree with you, the must also share your level of passion. Hence, they want to see their leaders talk obsessively about their issue(s).

Kit said...

"That is the problem with what is essentially obsession. It's not enough that someone agree with you, the must also share your level of passion. Hence, they want to see their leaders talk obsessively about their issue(s)."

I would say it is more than that. They want a guy who will make them all shout "Hell yeah!" every time. They want a populist showman who will cater to their every hope and whim.

Someone in the mold of George Wallace, Huey Long, and Barack Obama.

Kit said...

Wallace and Long were both big government Democrats, by the way.

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