Bush shines, cracks, and crumbles all at once trying to address Putin presence in Syria
The only thing more interesting than Donald Trump's domination of the 2016 Republican primaries has been the spectacular fall of Jeb! Bush.
The younger brother of the idiotic George W. Bush, Jeb! has always been portrayed as 'the smart Bush'.
Actually, very little could be further from the truth; and this week's fourth Republican debate proved that beyond any doubt.
With his campaign contributors balking, his campaign staff walking, and unable to pull himself out of single digits, Jeb! was in dire need of what political operatives call a 'moment'. This is where a candidate successfuly captures an opportunity to say something that makes people believe that he/she is worthy of their support.
He would get that opportunity off the back of yet another gaffe from his arch-rival and current frontrunner, Donald Trump.
When debate moderator Maria Bartiromo asked Mr. Trump about the Russian campaign in Syria, he responded in part by saying: 'If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%; and I can't understand how anybody would be against it.'
Trump's answer was sound from a common-sense perspective. From a political perspective however - especially in a Republican presidential race - it was a huge mistake. It was so glaringly obvious that even Jeb! was able to spot it. He pounced.
'Donald - Donald is wrong on this. He is absolutely wrong on this. We're not going to be the world's policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world's leader. That's a, there's a huge difference where, without us leading, voids are filled', said Bush.
It was a hit. The crowd responded with resounding applause, and it actually looked like Jeb! had finally caught his 'moment'. He stood poised to take up the mantle of Neo Cold Warrior to the doubtless joy of Russian-hating throwbacks and neocons from coast to coast.
But then something happened - something terrible: Jeb! kept talking.
'And the idea that it, it's a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad, and then, then, Putin will take out ISIS, I mean that's like a board game. That's like playing Monopoly or something. That's not how the real world works. We have to lead. We have to be involved. We should have a no-fly zone in Syria. They're, they are barrel-bombing the innocents in that country. If you're a, if you're a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or, or Iraq, or Syria, you're gonna be beheaded. And if you're a moderate Mu, uh, uh, moderate Islamist, you're not gonna be able to survive either. We have to play a role in this to be able to bring the rest of the world to this, to this issue before it's too late.'
Virtually no applause.
Jeb!'s utterly non-sensical follow-up to his strong initial statement was a disaster on multiple levels. Not only did it kill his 'moment'; and not only did it show that he's just as dumb as, if not dumber than, his hapless brother. It was, in fact, so confused and pathetic that it was actually reminiscent of Sarah Palin's jaw-dropping display of idiocy back in 2008.
Had Jeb! been 'the smart Bush' or even 'a smart Bush' capable of clearly explaining how a Russian military presence in the Middle East would be inimical to America's 'rightful' leadership position in the region, he may well have stirred the masses. We may have seen a revitalized establishment candidate with a new overtly anti-Russian message working off the foundation set by Mitt Romney back in 2012. This is not a particularly tall order. George W. could have pulled it off without too much trouble at all.
But alas, it was a bit too much for Jeb! For even though he and George W. are two apples who fell very far from a very thin tree, that doesn't mean they landed in the same place. The former Florida governor is simply not destined to match the amazing accomplishments of his savant-like sibling, who managed to destroy the world while serving two unelected terms in office.
Jeb! can hold his head high in one regard though. He has the unique distinction within the Bush clan of both resurrecting and reburying a presidential campaign in the span of 35 seconds, which is a feat that neither Poppy the Patriarch nor Big Brother George could ever have achieved.