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December 03, 2014

Jeb Bush Just Can't Wait to Fight With Base!


Jeb Bush is steeling for a fight with the GOPís conservative base, signaling he will not bend from his centrist positions on immigration and Common Core education standards in 2016 -- even if it costs him support with grassroots conservatives.


Strategists interviewed by The Hill raised doubts about whether Bush could really avoid modifying at least his public statements in the rough-and-tumble GOP primary.

"Nobody gets a free pass in the Republican primary," said Ryan Williams, a former Romney spokesman.

One strategist said "chastising conservatives for being too conservative in a conservative primary process" wouldn't get him anywhere.

"History is littered with people who think rules of the primary don't apply to them," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based GOP strategist.

I agree: Jeb Bush is not only going nowhere, but he's going nowhere quickly. He will not be in the race for months before being vanquished; he will be out of the race in rather smart fashion.

I've mentioned this before, but when Rick Perry was about to announce his run, I wrote to some of his staffers asking how they planned to defuse the immigration issue (Perry had offered in-state tuition for illegals, and refused a border fence). The answer I got back was some gooey nonsense which basically translated into, "We're not changing a damn thing; we expect the conservative base to change to meet us."

That didn't work and I didn't expect it to. I expected -- or feared, rather, as I was a nascent Perry supporter -- that Perry's refusal to tack more towards the sentiment of the base would result in his ultimate doom. It did, but there was precious little ultimate about it: He was all done as a candidate, for all practical purposes, before the first primary votes were even cast.

In fact, he was all done as a major candidate as of his first debate appearance, in which he announced that those who didn't support in-state tuition for illegal aliens "have no heart."

That convinced people only of one thing: That they would not be supporting Rick Perry for Republican candidate for President.

Jeb Bush's notion that he will simply tame the savage conservative primary voters by hissing at them that illegal immigration is an "act of love" and that common core is just swell and workin' fine is delusional.

I've said this a thousand time. It applies to RINOs as well as TrueCons:

No one convinces nobody else of nothin' at all.

No one ever convinces anyone to change his political beliefs. Oh, yeah, it does happen, rarely, on an anecdotal level, but when thinking about politics on the statistical level (where one must think about it), it is safe enough to round down "almost never" to "never, ever" and just say no one ever convinces anyone to change his political beliefs, never, ever.

The task of a candidate is not to change minds. This is all but impossible. Rather, the task is to run on a set of issues such that a majority of people already agree with a candidate, and de-emphasize or even delegitimize that set of issues such that other issues are considered secondary or to not even matter at all (sets of issues upon which the public does not agree with the candidate).

Obama was a master of this latter skill, delegitimizing even the mention of issues upon which the public did not agree with him.

That is how you win. Not by actually changing people's minds, but simply by arguing the issues upon which they already agree with you are paramount and determinative, and the issues on which they disagree with you are minor and not worth discussing much.

Only egotistical fools bull forward with a plan to run on issues -- emphasize issues -- that he knows the voting public disagrees with him on.

A few men have managed to change the hearts and minds of men with the power of their words, their logic, their empathy. Jesus Christ was one of them. There are about thirty other people throughout history beside him who managed to do the same.

The average politician is simply not capable of this feat, and it exposes a politician as a fool of the highest rank to imagine himself so capable.

Politicians win simply by confirming the biases, bigotries, and beliefs of a majority of the voting public, not by shaping men's minds as a sculptor invests clay with form.

A winning politician is often likened to a weather vane. He can also be likened to a mirror. Barack Obama, a narcissistic fool if there ever was one, was nevertheless astute enough to recognize the heart of his appeal, noting that he was but a "blank screen" upon which voters could project their deepest beliefs.

So Jeb Bush's candidacy is essentially a Protest Candidacy. Protest Candidacies are all about "convincing people" of this or that thing they don't already believe. Occasionally they may have some impact, in that they raise the profile of an issue.

But what Protest Candidates do not do is win primaries, and Jeb Bush's Protest Candidacy (apparently protesting conservatism itself, it seems like) will likewise fail to result in an actual nomination.

It will be the most high-profile, most extravagantly funded Protest Candidacy in history, but it will result in a failure, as all Protest Candidacies result in failure.

Addendum: Commenters are talking about "splitting the RINO vote." I think an equally (if not more) likely scenario is Jeb's unifying the moderate vote, but around a different moderate.

Moderates aren't stupid. They know that a pure moderate is unacceptable to the party, and hence a loser. Hence, moderates tend to look for people who compromise between the moderate wing and the conservative wing.

Jeb's battle plan seems to be to champion the moderate wing, and actually just fight the conservative wing.

He'll wind up making another moderate look good by comparison. A Chris Christie type will only have to say some vaguely supportive things about conservatism, and he'll look like a more unifying figure, and a more plausible candidate, than Bush.

This is crazy.

I don't know how many of these egotistical imbeciles (Huntsman, Bush) are going to go into a primary swearing I can fight all 40 million of ya and beat ya!

You can't. This is a negotiation of a corporate merger, not a philosophy class with one man leading the class towards wisdom. A political campaign is a negotiation of a multiparty merger into one short-lived political corporation.

You don't win by "winning," you win by making most of the factions feel they're all winning.

Juiced? Nicholas Kronos:

183 If you read that story closely, it's all a big nothing, as Livia Soprano would say. Look at what Jeb! is actually *quoted* as saying--and who else is supplying most of the content, including the other quotes. Much of it is anonymous-sourced.

Bush: "No one really knows." Knows what? Well, we have the writer telling us what Bush was referring to, but how much should we trust Easley?

"It hasn't been tried recently." What is "it"? The writer says this was a swipe at Romney. Really? Would Bush run to the left of Romney? What about Bush's brother? That's pretty recent, too. Did his own brother not run on his convictions? And if we're talking about a moderate, what about Huntsman? Didn't Huntsman *try*?

I'd like to know more about the context before I accept that Jeb! actually trashed Romney and his own brother as not running on their convictions.

Note: I don't want Jeb! and won't support him. Even so, this is the media stirring up the GOP to fight against itself because the Democrats just lost and there's not much of a story on the Demo side. It's boring, old, drunk HRC.

My reply:

This is a good point and one I was considering adding an update on. The "Jeb is the moderate warrior who will fight the conservative base" story is largely promulgated *BY THE PROGRESSIVE MEDIA* in covering Jeb, not by Jeb in his own words, himself.

That said, I only tend to hear Jeb taking on the conservative base. I do not hear him attacking the progressive Social Justice Welfare State.

I think the media is juicing this some, possibly just seeing what they want to see, but Jeb is in fact helping them do this.

Let me note that when Jeb Bush spoke at Tom Tillis' campaign appearance a week before the election, he decided to make his pitch on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Jeb Bush obviously thinks that the conservative movement has lost its way and is pretty stupid and irrational.

But this is a great reason to write a book... and not such a good reason to run for president.

He'll make a lot more money with a book. With a presidential run, he'll just lose tens of millions of dollars.

I hope I'm not too cynical when I note that People do not want to be lectured that they are wrong.

It's just the truth.

I'm willing to consider I'm wrong, but I'll only hear that message from someone with authority, someone who I sort of defer to because I credit him with having done a lot of deep thinking about an issue.

Jeb Bush, I'm informed, is a bright guy, and was, by most accounts, a good governor (and a conservative one, too). But for all that, he's still just a stupid politician, and I'm not eager to hear All the Ways In Which I'm Wrong from him on campaign hustings.

Write a book, Jeb. I'll consider reading it, if the reviews are good.

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posted by Ace at 02:51 PM

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