Did Jeb Save His Campaign At The GOP Debate? The Candidate Came To Life, But It Wasn't Enough
I think we were all in agreement that Jeb's days as a presidential candidate were numbered, but after tonight's showing, Jeb Bush's campaign is alive and well after the GOP CNN debate. Tonight was, in many ways, a toss up for Bush, and it was one that left pundits, fans, Republicans, and even Democrats wondering: Will he? Won't he? But it seems like Bush answered the question on his own. Now the only thing we're left wondering is: Was it enough? Bush took Trump and his fellow candidates to task on a number of issues, but it seemed like Bush leaned on tons of in-fighting to earn camera time and mic time on the stage in Las Vegas.
Yes, he had plans for policy and for the future of America, but Jeb also took a page out of Trump's book tonight, and I'm not sure that actually translated to many of his constituents. Trump has, so far, built his presidential campaign on fear-mongering, racism, misogyny, and ill-advised plans to keep many out of America on the basis of religious intolerance. At every single debate so far, Trump has made it part of his purview to insult women (including Megyn Kelly and his fellow hopeful Carly Fiorina), to insult his fellow candidates, to interrupt, to degrade, and to flaunt his money and his indifference toward a PC attitude. It's earned him quite the fanbase, but it's also shown the ugly underbelly of a party people already have few kind words to say about.
The Jeb Bush we saw on stage tonight was one we've caught glimpses of in previous debates: He was quick to jump in to comment, and made a point to show the ways in which he differs from a man like Trump and a prerogative like his. What Bush didn't bank on, I'm sure, was all the ways in which he would sound like Trump, insulting and interrupting him, jumping in whenever possible to make sure his voice was heard, even if it didn't need to be.
In his closing statement, Bush said:
As yourself, which candidate will keep you and our country safer, stronger, freer?
It's a question many, many Americans are facing right now — and not just one they're considering after the GOP debate tonight. It's one they're faced with day after day, when our safety and security are at risk. Only problem is that not many are sold on the thought of that candidate being Jeb Bush.
Rough dismount for Jeb @JebBush -- really tough. Had some moments in this debate.. but, that dismount was not good... at all.— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) December 16, 2015
Jeb would make a pretty good remedial math teacher at a community college. #GOPDebate— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) December 16, 2015
Faced with a playing field as disappointing as the current GOP, it's no surprise that Jeb sounds like a rational candidate, especially when compared to candidates who are interested in revoking Americans' rights and ensuring we keep Muslims well outside of our boarders. But that said, I still don't believe tonight's showing gave Bush the bump he needed to stay alive.
I don't make false promises. I deliver real results.
But tonight, his real results smelled like desperation. He was trying so hard to make his case heard and to convince people that yes, he should be here; that yes, he would make a great president; that yes, it's OK to stoop to Trump's level because hey, Trump does it! When it comes to the presidency, I'm not exactly comfortable with a leader who feels the need to insult and interrupt to prove he deserves to be here. No one deserves anything, Jeb. Not even a legacy.
Facebook says top candidates discussed during #GOPDebate are: 1. Donald Trump 2. Ted Cruz 3. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson (tie)— Brian Ries (@moneyries) December 16, 2015
Thinking back to when Jeb first emerged on the scene, his once fairytale road to the White House now just feels like its run entirely on fumes. And I don't think many will tune in to watch its ending.
Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images