It’s not exactly a secret that Jeb Bush’s path to the Republicans’ presidential nomination has run into unexpected obstacles. Facing underwhelming fundraising totals, lackluster standing in polls, and increasingly public hand-wringing from the GOP establishment, the former governor’s standing recently reached new lows.
Addressing his many troubles at a campaign event in New Hampshire over the weekend, Jeb Bush said, “Blah blah blah blah, that’s my answer, blah blah blah.”
Note, that’s not my rude interpretation of a more substantive answer. That’s literally what Bush said, as my colleague Will Femia reported.
But that’s not all he said.
“If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done,” Mr. Bush said, then “I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation.”He added, “I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”
At different times in recent months, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have suggested they don’t much care for the process of running for president. It’s grueling, tiresome, and draining.
But no one seems quite as miserable as Jeb Bush.
His comments generated quite a bit of attention over the weekend, and for good reason. Once struggling candidates start speaking publicly about all the “real cool things” he or she could be doing if only they weren’t running for president, it likely means that candidate has given at least passing thought to walking away.
What’s more, Jeb’s tone is strikingly whiny. He may have enjoyed his tenure as governor, working alongside a Republican legislature after running two easy statewide races in which he faced little GOP opposition, but the Floridian is now facing the toughest challenge of his professional life – and he’s not responding to the adversity especially well.
Making matters slightly worse, the Washington Post reported the other day on the high anxiety among the GOP candidate’s donors. One Bush fundraiser told the paper, “It feels very much like a death spiral, and it breaks my heart. I don’t know anyone who wants to reinvest now.” The campaign, this person added, has been “head-scratchingly bad in every element. I wouldn’t be shocked in 60 days from now if he wasn’t in the race.”
For what it’s worth, the news isn’t all bad: Bill Kristol is absolutely certain there is “no way” Jeb Bush will win the Republican nomination.
Given Kristol’s track record, Jeb’s rivals might as well drop out now.