So Jeb is done. It was an easy call, as he was never even competitive.
And many inside the beltway are stunned. Karl Rove is no doubt stunned. Oh maybe not recently stunned – as it was widely believed that South Carolina would end it for Jeb most of this past week. But for many months prior, the establishment had assumed Jeb would eventually rise to the top. He was their inevitable one. All of this Trump and Cruz stuff was just a distraction until people got serious.
They were wrong….so so wrong. They were Rove-Wrong. And most of us knew it from day one.
These wizards are the followers of the conventional wisdom – and conventional wisdom is almost never right in politics. The conventional wisdom had Jeb winning the nomination much like Romney did four years ago. He had the money, the experience, the resume and the name. Oh, and it was his turn.
I did not ever think that however. I predicted that his campaign would be a non-starter – and that’s literally how it turned out. He never really even got started. He raised over a hundred mill, but never got out of the gate. His campaign is likely the poorest return on the donor dollar in all of political history.
To me, this was an obvious fait accompli: the Republican electorate was not in the mood for another squishy establishment candidate this go round – and moreover – conservatives do not believe in or support political dynasties or elected royalty. With a country of 300 million, we don’t need three Presidents from the same family. Period.
Nobody outside the establishment wanted anything to do with another Bush. This was so obvious everywhere but Washington. And this would have been the case even if the first two had not been such a disaster in many ways. This is why it was never going to happen for Jeb.
And then along came Donald Trump – and his impact on the primary campaign was and is still massive. He may be unstoppable now in fact. Trump has changed many things – maybe everything – and he demonstrated that perhaps many Americans hate the establishment more than they love their previously held principles.
Which is odd, because I always hated Washington because the DC system violated my principles – and I thought others did too. But that’s a topic for another column.
The subject now is that Trump’s rise and Jeb’s demise were self inflicted wounds – by the establishment – on the establishment. There has never been the focus on the establishment – the donor class – the consultant class – the Washington Cartel – the elites – the House of Cards – as there is now. And Jeb is exhibit A.
So this is about Jeb, but not just about Jeb. This anger is why candidates like he and John Kasich are at the bottom. It’s why Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham are already gone. Hiring establishment consultants is perhaps why Scott Walker has been long gone.
Stealth establishment secret agents Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are also gone. (Yes, that will ruffle some feathers, but I stand by my case.)
This loathing of the DC party is why the establishment has had to glom onto a man who came into prominence by kicking their tails in 2010 as their last resort. I speak of course of Marco Rubio, who for all his warts, did us all a favor by exposing Charlie Crist and running him slap out of the party. Crist was an establishment golden boy. Vain. Tan. Squishy and philosophically incoherent, Crist was a popular sitting governor and a shoe in for the Senate until Rubio unmasked him.
And yeah, Rubio is also unmasked now, but it’s quite stunning that the powers that be have had to resort to supporting him.
But back to this anger and hatred. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and Lindsey Graham and John McCain are now as much the enemy, if not more, than Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. How did this happen?
Consider: People throughout history have generally loathed turn coats and spies more than they’ve hated enemy soldiers – and we’re seeing that today with the Republican electorate. They so hate the Washington party insiders that most of the ire on talk radio and on the internet is directed at these turncoat Republicans.
These same voters gave the Republicans mandates in 2010 and 2014 – and that mandate was to stop Obama. It was loud and clear, and the entire Democrat party nationally is almost hollowed out as a result.
And yet, with Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell leading the retreat- the Republicans caved time and again to Obama. Reince Preibus recently indicated that the party needed to show that it could “make Washington work” and govern. The GOP still lives in fear of two things above all else: A: being called racists and B: a government shutdown.
The base is sick and tired of it. That’s why they have pushed non establishment candidates to the top of the heap. This was bound to happen. It was always going to happen. Trump has magnified all of this, but Jeb was never going to be the nominee.
No one thought Jeb 2016 was a good idea – at least – no one outside of Washington and the mind numbingly tone deaf and isolated from reality establishment.
Edmund Wright is a contributor to Breitbart, American Thinker, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. This is the 14th Installment of Rove-Stupid: The New Definition of the Republican Establishment. You can read the rest here.