JEB BUSH IS A GOOD MAN, EVEN IF YOU HATE HIS BROTHER
The Republicans just lost their sanest contender. http://slate.me/1T0uIqt
- •Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign sputtered to a halt last week.Despite a fiery speech and an endorsement from his brother George, it became clear Jeb was finished.
- •Some supporters still expressed their support for Jeb, yet the undertone of pity couldn’t be ignored.A prime target of Donald Trump’s ire, Bush had been publicly ridiculed throughout the campaign.
- •Even diehard Bush-backers questioned his fortitude.As one man asked, “I loved your brother. Can you be in that category? … Can you be a sumbitch?”
- •Jeb’s refusal to lower himself to the level of his competitors may have cost him the nomination.After Marco Rubio secured the endorsement of popular Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Bush quietly suspended his campaign.
- •It was a notably understated exit, considering the howling madness of the Republican race thus far.Yet even during the fiercest infighting, Jeb had won admirers for his patience and humanity.
- •One British journalist even interrupted a Bush rally to tell the candidate about the impression he’d made:“My job as a columnist is to follow these rallies. I haven’t heard any other candidate give a long period in their speech to talking about people with learning disabilities, to talk about people at the bottom of the pack. And whatever happens to your campaign, sir, that heart you should be really proud of.”
- •Unlike other Republican candidates, Jeb was wary of fear-mongering and inflammatory rhetoric.Said Bush, “It’s not strong to denigrate people. It’s a sign of weakness.”
- •Still, Bush was tarred by the negative public image of his brother.The association is understandable but unfair, since the two men have radically different personalities and approaches.
- •Even without the Bush family baggage, Jeb wasn’t cut out for success in this election.Voters are more enthusiastic for younger candidates with radical platforms and multicultural backgrounds.
- •A non-confrontational introvert like Jeb was especially disadvantaged against a ruthless predator like Trump.Bush was unable to parry Trump’s attacks in the debates, and often looked uncomfortable.
- •He was better suited to quiet, thoughtful discussions about policy details and specific complaints.One disabled veteran at a town hall meeting said, “I was so impressed, because you took out a pen and notebook and just listened for three hours.”
- •Jeb’s meticulousness and compassion could have resonated with people, if they’d been willing to listen.His policy ideas were clearly defined in a 47-page pamphlet, he could fluently discuss student loan terminology, and he was passionate about education for children with developmental disabilities.
- •Still, this wasn’t enough to seriously challenge for the Republican presidential nomination.His inept politicking and unpopular brother made him a long shot.
- •But there’s a difference between being a bad candidate and a bad person.
- •And Jeb Bush is not a bad person.