Jeb seeking second act after the curtain closes
Jeb Bush. Is he still around?
The Bushies are ignoring the writing on the wall (which has migrated to their foreheads) and have launched "Jeb Bush 2.0: Jeb Can Fix it!" – with an e-book, a tour, and everything.
Everything, that is, except a dose of reality.
In Tampa on Monday, Bush hopes to begin a political comeback. He will give a speech presenting himself as a problem-solving politician who carried out conservative reforms as Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007.
A campaign aide said the speech will be a "rejection of the 'competing pessimisms' created in the (President Barack) Obama era in favor of leadership that solves problems."
He will take the message to South Carolina and then on a three-day bus tour of New Hampshire.
The tour coincides with the release of a 730-page e-book, entitled "Reply All." It is a compilation of many of the email exchanges he had with Floridians during his time as governor.
The emails cover everything from his drive for tax cuts and education reform in Florida to dealing with hurricanes.
Beyond the work issues, there was plenty of the comical, such as when a 9-year-old girl wrote to tell him she did not like her piano lessons because "my teacher smells of dead alligators." She wanted to know if Jeb and brother George had taken piano while growing up.
"Yes, I had piano lessons," Bush emailed her. "It was tough and I didn't enjoy it. In fact, I wasn’t that good at it. But you know what? It gave me discipline which helped me as an adult."
Another writer wanted to know how the bilingual Bush became so fluent in Spanish.
"I learned Spanish by marrying a Mexican girl, by living in Venezuela and by taking Spanish courses in school. The first two were the most important," Bush replied.
Bush makes clear in a 2006 exchange with a reporter his support for comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that has roiled the Republican race this year as billionaire Donald Trump has pledged to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
Bush said a more secure border is needed "but the notion that we would felonize folks that have been here and that are contributing to our progress is just plain wrong."
Sure, there are second acts in politics. But after the curtain has come down and the audience has left the theater? The bottom line for Jeb Bush is that he had his moment and blew it. Voters have moved on and aren't listening anymore. He could go out on stage with a talking monkey, and no one would listen to what he has to say.
Polling in the low single digits in all the early states and with just 90 days to go until the Iowa Caucuses, Trump, Carson, Rubio, and Cruz would all have to blow up their campaigns for Jeb to have a chance. By not acknowledging his untenable position, Bush risks looking like a fool – something that should start worrying the Bush family, who have zealously guarded the legacy of the family name for decades.
If his aides and close advisers won't tell him the truth, it's time for the family to sit Jeb down and ease him out of the race.