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News Foreign Policy Thursday, May 14 2015

'Misoverestimated': Jeb Bush's Terrible Week

May 14, 2015

It’s only Thursday and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Jeb Bush has had the worst week of any presidential candidate this cycle. He’s aligning himself with his brother’s disastrous foreign policy, running scared from the conservative wing of his party, flubbing answers to simple questions and, unsurprisingly, tanking in the polls. Speaking in the language coined by his brother, Bushism, it looks like we “misoverestimated” Jeb and his bid for the White House.

Take a look at Bush’s wince-inducing week:


Politico: Was Jeb dropped on head as a child?: “So to fully appreciate the importance of Jeb’s revelation that George W. will be his chief adviser when it comes to the Mideast, you’ve got to keep in mind that Jeb’s entire campaign is built around one selling point: Jeb is the smart one in the family.”

New York Times: Wow, Jeb Bush Is Awful: “The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t keep his ‘I’m-my-own-man’ mantra going through the spring. He over-babbled at a private gathering. He didn’t know how to answer the Iraq question, which should have been the first thing he tackled on the first day he ever considered that he might someday think for even a minute about running for president.”

CNN: Chris Christie hits Jeb Bush on Iraq War“But the comments gave Christie — who is actively contemplating a presidential bid, and would compete with Bush for establishment Republican support if both run — an opening to differentiate himself from Bush, and an opportunity for attack. Christie jabbed at the former Florida governor, who’s brother and father have served in the White House, saying that Americans should ‘avoid … continuing to go backwards in this country.'”

Washington Examiner: Jeb Bush’s disastrous defense of the Iraq War“If Jeb Bush sticks to his position — that he would still authorize war knowing what we know today — it will represent a step backward for the Republican Party…Jeb’s statement is likely to resonate until he either changes his position or loses the race for the Republican nomination. Should he become the nominee, the issue will dog him into the general election campaign.”

New York Times: Jeb Bush Says He Misinterpreted Iraq Query: “It was the third time in six weeks that Mr. Bush had to backpedal, offering a stark reminder that despite his deep political ties and his family’s history in elected office, he remains a novice on the national campaign trail … But for Mr. Bush, the last six weeks have been a bracing reminder that helping a relative run for president is not the same as running yourself.”

Politico: Will Iraq take down another Bush?“Now, Jeb Bush is floundering on the same terrain, as political rivals pounce on his first uneven effort to address perhaps his biggest political liability — his brother’s record and, specifically, the legacy of the Iraq War. Caught between the competing imperatives of rebranding himself apart from his family’s presidential pedigree and not wobbling on the national security, currently the top issue for Republican primary voters.”

New York Times: Jeb Bush’s Iraq Debacle Gets Weirder“Later on Tuesday, the conservative radio host Sean Hannity handed Mr. Bush a shovel to dig himself out of the Iraq hole, but Mr. Bush decided to just dig deeper. ‘I interpreted the question wrong, I guess,’ he said. He guesses? If he doesn’t know, who would? So would Jeb Bush have authorized the invasion of Iraq, as his brother, George W. Bush did? His answer, assuming he understood the question this time: “I don’t know what that decision would have been.” To put it charitably, that shows something less than Commander-in-Chief firmness.”

New York Times: Brother’s Past Proves Tricky for Jeb Bush: “Mr. Bush began exploring a presidential run by declaring that he would be his own man. But he is struggling to navigate his relationship with George W. Bush and his legacy. He has fumbled the most basic, predictable questions about the Iraq war — while behind the scenes, he has assured skeptical conservatives that he draws wisdom and important counsel from the former president.”

The Week: How Jeb Bush blundered into making the Iraq War his problem: “Besides being the most shopworn cliché of moral cowardice, “mistakes were made” is not even an answer an insurance agent would accept for a home flood. Why should we accept it from a man who has the benefit of hindsight and the ambition to be commander-in-chief? It is a little disconcerting that Jeb Bush, who has so far run the smoothest, most professional, and well-conceived campaign in the Republican field, has given so little thought to the most easy-to-anticipate policy question about making another Bush president.”

Washington Post: For Jeb Bush, it’s Groundhog Day on Iraq: “It’s Groundhog Day…in Baghdad. There’s yet another Bush, saying the same dumb things about Iraq. There’s yet another Bush, shrugging his shoulders in the same goofy way, wincing just as in days of old, looking so much like his older brother but, more importantly, saying more or less the same things. After days of stumbling around trying to come up with an answer to the question first posed to him by Megyn Kelly of Fox News, he finally said that when it came to Iraq he would have done what his brother did — plunge into a debacle.”

American Bridge: Web Ad: George and Jeb: Foreign Policy Fools:

American Bridge: The Indecider: On Iraq Jeb Says Knowing What He Knows Now He Still Doesn’t Know: “If the Iraq War was a fiasco, trying to follow Jeb Bush’s position on it mystifying. Did the brother of George W. think he was really going to ride to the presidency without giving a strong answer on this question? Or is he just woefully unprepared for the office he seeks?”


U.S. News & World Report: Early Polls Tough to Swallow for Bush“Bush is currently in seventh place in Iowa, registering just 5 percent of the vote, according to an early May Quinnipiac University survey. A quarter of likely Republican caucus participants have already ruled him out, and his approval rating is just 39 percent, with a plurality of GOPers complaining he isn’t conservative enough…Bush’s favorable rating is 45 percent among likely primary voters, with 34 percent viewing him unfavorably. That’s a net positive of 11 percentage points, but it trails behind past presidential contenders with familiar names at the same point in the campaign cycle. In April 2007, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s net positive favorability was 54 percentage points, Arizona Sen. John McCain’s was 50 and Romney’s was 33…An underlying problem he confronts almost everywhere is that he’s largely defined already – not by much of what he’s said or done, but by his brother.”

American Bridge: NEW VIDEO on JEB: Things Losing Campaigns Say: Polls Don’t Matter“Something else was happening while Jeb Bush tried to backtrack from doubling down on his brother’s foreign policy — he cratered in national and key primary state polls, a clear rejection from conservative and mainstream Republicans of Bush’s record.”

American Bridge: Cause → Effect: Jeb Drops Out of Iowa Straw Poll After Embarrassing Numbers: “May 6, 2015: ‘More of those surveyed view Bush unfavorably than favorably, compared to Walker’s 5-1 positive ratio. And 45 percent say Bush is not conservative enough. It’s among the GOP conservative base that Bush finds himself trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul.’ — Quinnipiac Iowa Poll. May 12, 2015: ‘No Iowa Straw Poll for Jeb Bush…Bush, a former Florida governor, is the first among the Republican 2016 presidential field to officially opt out of the straw poll.’ — DMR: Jeb Bush to skip Iowa Straw Poll.”

Published: May 14, 2015

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