As Republican endorsements go, Jeb Bush’s announced support for Mitt Romney seems like a relatively big deal. Not Etch-A-Sketch big, mind you, but noteworthy nevertheless.
The point, of course, is that Bush helps represent the Republican Party establishment, and his endorsement sends a signal of sorts to the GOP: we have a nominee, so let’s wrap up the process.
“Congratulations to Governor Mitt Romney on his win last night and to all the candidates for a hard fought, thoughtful debate and primary season. Primary elections have been held in thirty-four states, and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind Governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall. I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our Party’s nomination. We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.”
That’s it. That’s the whole endorsement. There was no public appearance; no interview; no joint rally. Just a four-sentence press release, which couldn’t have been more generic.
Indeed, look at that press release again: Jeb Bush supports Romney, not because he’s a visionary leader for our times, but because 34 states have held primaries and caucuses, so it seems like as good a time as any to “unite.”
This wasn’t a “Romney is an inspiration and will be a terrific American president” statement, it was a “let’s get this over with” statement.
I don’t doubt Romney is glad to have the support, but the fact that Bush didn’t volunteer to be with Romney in public to make the announcement doesn’t exactly signal enthusiasm.
To this extent, Jeb Bush’s endorsement seems oddly similar to the entire Republican Party’s reaction to Mitt Romney through this entire nominating process. They know he’s going to get the party’s nod, and they know there’s no one else, but the absence of passion is hard to miss.