by George Rasley
Jeb Bush is to Republican politics what the little mechanical moles are to the arcade game Whack-A-Mole; an annoyance that bursts forth according to some malevolent algorithm and the faster you beat it down the quicker it pops back up.
Jeb! surfaced most recently to encourage some as yet unidentified sacrificial lamb to run against President Trump in the upcoming 2020 Republican primaries. Bush’s reason for encouraging the challenge was that it would be good for the GOP to “have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative…”
“I think someone should run. Just because Republicans ought to be given a choice,” Bush said in an interview with Obama advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “The Axe Files.”
“But to have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative I think is important,” Bush added. “And our country needs to have competing ideologies … that are dynamic, that focus on the world we’re in and the world we’re moving towards rather than revert back to a nostalgic time.”
Former Governor Bush has apparently forgotten, or maybe he never figured out, what such a conversation about what it is to be a conservative did for his late father’s prospects for reelection back in 1992.
As CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie pointed out in his book TAKEOVER, when Pat Buchanan ran against incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush in the 1992 Republican primaries he pounded away on the charge that Bush was never a conservative. Buchanan charged that Bush used his role as Reagan’s vice president to secure the GOP nomination and be elected president in 1988, and then worked to dismantle the Reagan Revolution.
Buchanan said Bush’s record was an affront to Reagan conservatives, as Bush began his term in office with an “Inauguration Day Massacre” that swept most Reaganites—even ones who had worked tirelessly for his election—out of the federal government, and he broke his promises to us conservative and the American public, most infamously by breaking his “read my lips” pledge never to raise taxes.
After being relentlessly reminded of George H.W. Bush’s betrayals many conservatives responded in 1992 by staying home or supporting third-party candidate Ross Perot, and as a result, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, with only 43 percent of the vote, brought the White House back under Democratic control.
With Socialist Bernie Sanders and wrong on every issue Joe Biden as the Democratic frontrunners, is putting one of them in the White House what Jeb Bush really wants for America and the Republican Party?
Remember, all the whispered and some open discussion of a potential primary challenge is all in the context of would a moderate Republican opponent take on President Trump. Such an opponent would not be from the Right or the conservative movement, so how would such a contest result in “a conversation about what it is to be a conservative…”?
Answer: It wouldn’t.
A recent Gallup Organization poll showed that 90 percent of Republicans approve of President Trump’s overall job performance and 93 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy leaving a potential opponent no room to run against Trump from the Right.
Since no primary opponent would be running against Trump from the Right, and no Republican (even a self-proclaimed moderate like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan) would mirror the Far-Left Democrats’ Socialist platform, the campaign would inevitably devolve into slash and burn personality attacks, which would not enhance the President’s re-election prospects.
The result would likely be a repeat of 1992 in which a wounded Republican President and a fractured Republican Party would go into the General Election against a Democrat Party united around one overarching principle; regaining power.
As we see it, Jeb Bush’s claim that he wants a primary to spark “a conversation about what it is to be a conservative…” is nothing more than a cover story to justify a scorched earth primary campaign against Donald Trump that would only advantage the Democrats and jeopardize all the conservative successes of Trump’s first term.
Maybe Jeb Bush is as ignorant of his own later father’s experience with being primaried as he sounds, but we doubt that is the case. Maybe what Jeb really wants is a general election debacle after which the old Republican establishment could reassert itself, as it did in 1996 and 2000, but that is not what any conservative we know desires.
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Photo “Jeb Bush” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA2.0.