Elementary, My Dear Jeb [Updated]
As the Republican primaries rumble on, the pivoting from “Anybody but Mitt” to “Anybody but this bunch of useless demogogic clowns” continues. Jeb Bush wades into the fray, only to be labeled “confused” by Jake Gibson of Fox News:
Jeb Bush seems a little confused by some of the rhetoric being tossed around by the GOP’s 2012 presidential frontrunners in debates and out on the campaign trail.
“I used to be a conservative ...
Uh-huh. I mean, Huh?
... and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are,” said the former Florida Governor.
No shit, Sherlock. I think that bird flew the coop a few decades ago, Jeb.
“I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.”
Insensitivity to escaping avians aside, he doesn’t sound very confused to me. In fact, the bulk of the comments over at Fox News right now seem to share his befuddlement, if that’s what it is.
Of course, in these volatile times, a Republican only has to express a relatively sane point of view from the safety of the peanut gallery to be hailed as the next Great White Hope. The usually fairly level-headed Guardian gins this up into:
Speculation that a late challenger might still emerge in the increasingly bitter race for the Republican presidential nomination is set to surge after former Florida governor Jeb Bush made remarks criticising the current field.
Bush, who is the brother of President George W Bush and son of President George Bush Sr, is a beloved figure among many conservatives who see him as a strong and charismatic leader who is popular in the must-win swing state of Florida.
That contrasts with a widespread unease among many Republican leaders and grassroots activists with the remaining crop of Republican candidates and the vitriolic nature of the fight between frontrunner Mitt Romney and his main challengers Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
But further very recent quotes from Politico show few signs that Jeb thinks 2012 will be his year to make a break for it, and 2016 doesn’t seem any more likely if we’re to believe him now:
“I know these men and they are very capable… but I’m kind of hopeful the primary process ends so we unite behind a candidate and eliminate the potential of a circular firing squad,” said Bush after the event ...
He really isn’t that sensitive to airborne escapees, is he?
... while dismissing that he would be a consensus candidate.
“That won’t happen… yeah… positive,” he told Fox News about the possibility of entering the race. “Next time [in 2016] I hope to work for the re-election of a Republican incumbent.”
If that’s confusing to anyone, here he is again, saying the same thing more emphatically:
The former Florida Governor also rejected speculation the party would try to recruit him or another candidate if Romney were to lose in Michigan next Tuesday. He said, “Not going to happen. The party nominee will be amongst the candidates that are in the race now.”
Okeydokey. How far off the rails is this primary? It’s scaring the pants off Karl Rove:
Former Bush White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove said he shared Jeb Bush’s concern Thursday in an interview on “Fox News.” “Look, I share his concern,” he said. “These debates have tended to sort of focus the effort on exactly what he says—operating out of fear, in part, because of the nature of the kind of questions and the fact that they’re all trying to gain an advantage over each other.
Karl Rove is obviously a rookie when it comes to this electioneering thing.
So the hope of Jeb, Not The Great White Hope, and Karl, Never The Demagogic Asshole Who’d Dig His Own Grandmother Up And Kill Her All Over Again To Win, is that once the candidate’s settled, he’ll be able to pivot seamlessly from positions and rhetoric adopted during the primaries to stances that will “not turn off independent voters that will be part of a winning coalition.”
The flapping of wings is growing deafening over here. Or perhaps it’s white coats.
Maybe the GOP’s grand strategy involves inducing mass amnesia. Don’t drink the water or breathe the air, folks. They’re coming for your precious bodily fluids.
More: Add Rudy Juliani to the current crop of GOP concern trolls who wouldn’t know a flying chicken if it landed on their pointy heads:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he was concerned that Republican stances on social issues would alienate voters and make “the party look like it isn’t a modern party.”
Giuliani added that he was “absolutely” sure that the GOP’s stance on issues like abortion and contraception could open it to the risk of a rising third party.
“I’m concerned about how do we get back the Northeast as a voting bloc when we seem to be not modern enough on social [issues],” Giuliani said to CNN.
The former mayor went on to say the issue of gay rights, in particular, could be increasingly difficult to justify.
More more: The revolting Weazel Zippers commentariat are emphatically NOT Jeb Bush fans.