Today’s Politico Playbook nicely summarized the Beltway media’s disdain for the electoral process while neatly encapsulating the conventional wisdom of DC elites. You see, there is no need to hold Presidential primaries next year, because Mike Allen has advised us, in something he dubbed his “facts of life:"
What should be the presidential race of a lifetime (open nomination in both parties) is starting to look like a slog and maybe even a snore. Barring a major disruption in the force field, it's looking like Hillary vs. Jeb, and the same might still be true a year from now. The new dynamic of the GOP race, once totally up for grabs, is that someone has to knock out Jeb. It could be Walker, it could be Rubio, it could be Rand - but it'll be hard. The D.C. chatter is that for all Bush's advantages in the invisible primary, he has yet to encounter random voters, or perform strongly in an unscripted (or even scripted!) setting. Bush skeptics wonder over drinks if he's Phil Gramm from '96 - huge war chest, but a paper tiger.
But here's the rub: There's no post-Reagan instance of a Republican candidate who locks up the center right slot, plus big donors and the clear establishment blessing, then loses the nomination - Bush 41, Dole, Bush 43, McCain, Romney. Obviously, this trend could break. But based on what we know about modern campaigns, Bush 45 looks very strong for the nomination at this point.
Why is Jeb Bush looking “very strong” for the GOP nomination in 2016? Because the Village said so. Because the people who cover Presidential politics genuflected before Jeb Bush at his first batted eyelash toward running for President. Because DC elites fawn over things like lists of former high-ranking government officials who will be advising the former Florida Governor, never mind the fact that some of these nefarious characters were responsible for the calamity that was the Iraq War. Because it is easy to dismiss polls showing that Bush is trailing his competition in Iowa and New Hampshire because his last name is “Bush,” ergo, he is presumptive even if he has already stepped on his dick with the hiring of a social media guru who quit because of racist tweets and during his one foreign policy speech, he confused Iraq and Iran and misstated, by an order of magnitude, the number of fighters in ISIS. Because the Village gave his brother a similar pass in 2000, never calling him out on his “fuzzy math” or vague policy ideas because he seemed like a decent guy to hang out with. Because the Village hasn’t questioned Jeb’s role in the 2000 election, Terry Schiavo, stand your ground laws, or his business dealings (much less some intemperate remarks he made about women and African-Americans during his 1994 run for Florida Governor).
In other words, the Village has spoken. The American people be damned.
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