How Other Candidates Make Jeb Bush Look More Presidential Than He Is
America is short of many things — solutions to that whole ISIS problem, foreign language speakers, conservative comedians — but Republican presidential candidates is definitely not one.
On Monday, we got our 11th and 12th entrees into 2016's race, with Jeb Bush and Donald Trump both officially declaring their runs… and officially changing nothing about their behavior, besides how they have to start following the campaign finance rules now.
While no one is really quite sure what to make of Trump and his latest foray into the race — will he stay in it? Or is it all just a publicity stunt? — Jeb Bush is a pretty open book.
He's got the family history, the governing experience, the supporters to back his campaign and some really good Spanish to boot. Out of all the candidates, he's looking positively presidential.
Let's delve into that for a second, though, because we can be pretty damn sure that sheen of his isn't purely a reflection of his own strong points.
We can start with who he's up against, all of whom have some pretty serious issues. Trump may be rich, and he's polling right along with some of the political heavy hitters, but now we'll never be able to forget what he said about Mexico.
Ted Cruz is mainly running on a platform of being loud and obnoxious, and it's not just the Democrats who say that. Rand Paul is capitalizing a lot on the fact that his famous father's name sounds a lot like his.
Ben Carson, surprisingly for a neurosurgeon, seems to enjoy ignoring science when it suits him.
Carly Fiorina is best known for laying off thousands of employees when she was a CEO — before she got fired, that is. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum essentially just want you to know that they love Jesus.
Lindsay Graham has been around for a while, but he can't seem to get anyone talking about him.
Marco Rubio has a decent shot as a Jeb challenger but, then again, his views on climate change are a bit rich for someone hailing from the state most likely to drown first (Bush agrees, but somehow it's Rubio's climate change denial that gets discussed more often.). George Pataki is — who, again?
That leaves us with Jeb. Or ¡Jeb! as he's known to his Spanish-speaking supporters. With all those others out of the way, he's not looking so bad, right?
The thing is, all you have to do is look a little closer to see Jeb's problems may just be the biggest of them all.
Take his refusal to officially declare his run for presidency up until Monday, for example.
He claimed numerous times he was just testing the waters, taking this thing for a test drive, all the while raising millions of dollars for his super PAC, largely in the form of huge donations from extraordinarily rich supporters — which, of course, isn't allowed now that he's officially a candidate and can no longer claim any connection with the super-PAC.
Smooth move, Jeb, although it's not like he did it secretly; the loophole simply functions as such that he was (barely!) legally able to brush off any complaints about it by saying he hadn't officially declared his candidacy.
But it's not like anyone is out there campaigning on his or her ability to raise money well (besides Trump, who generally replaces “raise” with “make” and talks exclusively about that), so let's move on to one of Jeb's main talking points: immigration.
He's been criticized on the right for being too soft because he supports a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants.
He also speaks fluent Spanish, which makes sense considering he was the governor of what is essentially a bilingual state and is married to a Mexican woman.
What he hasn't claimed to support is a legal pathway to citizenship, which, to be fair, may be exactly what he wants. The line he's attempting to straddle, however, separates the Latino base he's trying to attract and the traditional Republican base, which generally wants a far more stringent stance.
This has opened the Latino field up for Hillary Clinton who, besides Lindsay Graham, is the only candidate to call loudly and continuously for a path to citizenship, even for illegal immigrants.
Bush has gone on to say a presidency of his would include comprehensive immigration reform, but given the two sets of people he'll be trying to please in the run-up to the election, we can pretty well assume he won't be giving us any particulars just yet.
There are, after all, likely no scenarios that would lead both to the ballot boxes with Jeb Bush as their candidate of choice.
We've seen some vague attempts at strong stances from Bush — a 4 percent sustained growth rate for the economy! Stronger foreign policy! — but he hasn't yet shown he's got ideas of his own that he can stand behind.
So far, it's been a campaign of hiding — hiding his response to the question about whether invading Iraq was a bad move, hiding his money-raising scheme behind a veil of “testing the waters,” hiding a clear-cut idea of what he wants on immigration behind a veil that shows only the desirable parts of his face to all of his potential constituents.
Although he tries to hide it, when it comes down to it, pretty much all we know concretely about Bush is that he's another Bush.
He sure doesn't make it easy to tell what exactly he would bring to the White House besides the family name, so it's up to us to remember the last two times we let someone from this family govern the country.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.
Citations: Jeb Bush Announces White House Bid Saying America Deserves Better (The New York Times), Trump jumps in The Donalds latest White House run is officially on (CNN), Who Is Running for President and Whos Not (The New York Times), The 10 best lines from Donald Trumps announcement speech (Politico), How Ted Cruz Stands Against Everything This Generation Believes In (Elite Daily), Why Rand Paul Is Too Complicated And Hypocritical To Be President (Elite Daily), Science to Carson Youre wrong (CNN), Judge refuses to dismiss Perry indictment (Politico), The Education of Scott Walker (Politico), Floridians seem a lot more worried about climate change than Marco Rubio is (The Washington Post)
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