So far, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s campaign for
president in 2016 has been underwhelming. He has raised
substantial campaign funds, and he has for the most part a
first-rate campaign staff, but his performance as a candidate
has not raised his standing in the polls (which he earlier led),
nor his standing with political observers (many of whom had
anticipated him as the Republican frontrunner going into the
primary/caucus season in early 2016).
With the third GOP presidential debate only a few days away,
the pressure grows sharply for Mr, Bush to turn in a much
better performance than he did in the first two. He isn’t helping
himself either by complaining about his opponents, especially
Donald Trump and Ben Carson, each of who lead him in most
As far as I know, no one has ever successfully won the
presidency by complaining about his opponents. On the other
hand, Mr, Bush has put forward some excellent economic
plans, including a very serious free market plan to eliminate
the unpopular and unworkable Obamacare legislation without
incurring much hardship to those who need a new federal plan.
Mr. Bush’s resume is as good, or better than that any of his
rivals, and his experience as chief executive of the large state
of Florida was impressive. Nor was temporarily downsizing
his campaign staff and expenditures without good sense,
His primary problem so far seems to be a lack of notable
skills as a campaigner, including those of a debater. A
further frustration for his supporters and those of the other
experienced candidates is that three non-politicians with no
previous elected experience, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and
Carly Fiorina, are leading the GOP field by a large margin at
the present time.
The irony of his situation is that Mr, Bush, by virtue of his
fundraising, staff and name recognition, is best-suited to
endure through the present environment and possibly
re-emerge three months from now when the all-important
state primary and caucus voting begins. This is exactly what
Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie are doing with far less resources.
When challenged by reporters, Mr. Bush is ill-advised to say
“blah blah blah.” And when ruminating over the campaign so
far, it does him no good to deride those voters who are giving
his less-experienced opponents higher poll numbers. He is
well-advised to continue to come up with good economic
solutions to the nation’s toughest problems, and to work on
his communication skills. He might not be able to become a
William Jennings Bryan or a Ronald Reagan on the stump, but
he can and should improve his campaign manner.
I hope Mr, Bush did not believe, when he entered the 2016
contest, that his nomination was inevitable or fore-ordained (as
perhaps some of his supporters believed). Winning a major party
nomination for president is always very hard work, and this cycle,
it appears to very hard work indeed.
Mr. Christie, Mr. Rubio and Mr. Kasich are also very credible as
future leaders of the free world in this cycle, and it would appear
that the one of them, including Mr, Bush, who wants it most, and
will work for it the hardest, has the best chance for the prize.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.