31 October 2015

The Bush Brand and Jeb's Fall from Grace

The liberal media (and us liberals) like to point out how Republicans can be irrational. In the this GOP primary, they're disproving that claim.

Count me among the many who thought that Jeb Bush was a sure deal for the Republican primary. And yet he trails four candidates and while it is certainly not impossible for him to gain against those four, it seems unlikely. (Cruz and Carson seem highly unlikely to sustain their strong place in the polls: Trump and Rubio could.) Yet here he is in fifth place, cutting staff, and in the most recent debate in which he needed to perform strong, he actually spoke less than any other candidate. Things don't look good for him.

Meanwhile, Clinton looks more probable every week.

So why the big difference? Why is it that Bush - a brand name that has been hugely popular in the Republican Party for decades - has fallen out of favor and Clinton - another brand that has been popular for decades - is going strong?

It might be that the Republican Party is becoming more rational.

During Bill Clinton's time in office, the economy created 22.9 million jobs, the Dow rose 230%, and unemployment averaged 3.9% in his last full year in office. In his 8 years in office, he helped to turn a $290 billion deficit into a $236 billion surplus.Unsurprisingly, he left office with a 66% approval rating. That brand - the Clinton name - is pretty good.

During George W. Bush's time in office, the economy created 2.6 million jobs (around 1/10th the number created during Clinton's administration), the Dow fell 26%, and unemployment averaged 7.3% his last year in office. (It averaged 9.9% the year he left office in January.) In his 8 years in office, he turned a $236 billion surplus into a $458 billion deficit. And this litany of issues doesn't even include the two wars funded with a tax cut that resulted in thousands dead and millions displaced. Unsurprisingly, he left office with a 34% approval rating, a rating about half what Clinton had. That brand - the Bush brand - is pretty tarnished.

Shocked that the country re-elected George W., I just assumed that Republicans were irrational enough to try this Bush brand one more time. Turns out, they deserve more credit than that. It looks like Jeb's sure thing no longer is. And that, it seems to me - for whatever you think of Trump or Rubio, is progress. Jeb's fall is not really his ... it is a natural consequence of his big brother's fall.

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