Monday, February 22, 2016

Response to While We Were Sleeping

(See: Just Above Sunset: While We Were Sleeping)

I really liked reading Seth Stevenson in Slate, about hanging around the Jeb Bush campaign last Monday, the day Jeb invited his brother, "W", to introduce him at his rally in Charleston:
I saw people leaving once Dubya was done, and after it became clear that Laura Bush, also sitting on stage, wouldn’t be speaking. They stepped on discarded “Jeb!” placards as they headed for the exits.
And so two days later, after "addressing a modest gathering inside a gazebo" at a country club -- inside a gazebo! -- someone approached him:
“I loved your brother. Can you be in that category?” inquired an older man, rather doubtfully. “Can you be a sumbitch?” 
“I will be tough. I will be resolute. I will be firm. I will be clear. I will be determined,” Jeb answered. ... It was the least sumbitchy thing you ever saw in your life.
Oh, that's great.

So it turns out, after all, that the real problem with Jeb Bush isn't that he would end up being his brother, it's that he wouldn't!

To further understand what I'm about to say, you may want to read David Axelrod's "The Obama Theory of Trump" in the New York Times in late January, about what he told Barack Obama back in 2006 about why Obama just might win if he ran for president:
Open-seat presidential elections are shaped by perceptions of the style and personality of the outgoing incumbent. Voters rarely seek the replica of what they have. They almost always seek the remedy, the candidate who has the personal qualities the public finds lacking in the departing executive. 
A young, energetic John F. Kennedy succeeded the grandfatherly, somnolent Dwight D. Eisenhower, promising “a new generation of leadership.” In a slight variation, a puritanical Jimmy Carter, offering “a government as good as its people,” defeated the unelected incumbent Gerald R. Ford, who bore the burden of the morally bankrupt Nixon era. 
Even George H.W. Bush, running to succeed the popular and larger-than-life Ronald Reagan, subtly made a virtue of his own lack of charisma and edge. 
The pattern followed in 2008, as Mr. Bush’s son completed his final term in office. 
“The most influential politician in 2008 won’t be on the ballot,” I wrote to Senator Obama in 2006. “His name is George W. Bush.”
So, in fact, Stevenson may have struck on that secret formula we've all been looking for, which is an understanding of what the Republican base voter is looking for.

He's not looking for an outsider or some way to shake up Washington, he's looking for the exact opposite of Barack Obama -- someone who's not too bright; someone without actual ideas, nor a wonky bone in his body; someone not at all gracious or nice or adept at diplomacy; and someone who doesn't give a shit what any person or group or organization or country thinks or says about him being totally incompetent at doing absolutely anything useful for the planet.

To sum it up -- for lack of a better term -- they're simply looking for a sumbitch! And the bigger the sumbitch, the better!

This antichrist will probably get the Republican nomination, and whoever the Democrats choose to run against him in the general election will look, in contrast, like the second coming of Jesus Christ.

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