Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Jeb Bush scarier than Sarah Palin?

To my mind, no.  Waaaay, no.

But to the likes of Axelrod and Emmanuel, waaaay yes.

The Obama campaign was surely and quite understandably proud of their victory/-ies back in 2008.  Not only did he have some unique hurdles to clear (his race, his reverend, his hometown political machine), he also had to best a formidable opponent in Hillary Clinton.  Husband and I were not the only ones who preferred her to him; but we also knew that, if he emerged the victor, he would be stronger for it.

Then came John McCain.  And Sarah.

Obama did pull out a victory, but I find it troubling that he didn't completely slaughter them (electorally-speaking).  By all accounts, his win should have been a landslide of historic proportions.  As it was, "landslides" have been value-engineered down to 53% to 46%.  Reagan, on the other hand, mopped the floor with Mondale in 1984 -- 59% to 41%.  Nixon killed McGovern 61% to 38%.  Johnson humiliated Goldwater 61% to 39%.  FDR filleted Hoover  57% to 40% only four years after Hoover cleaned Al Smith's clock 58% to 41%.

Frankly, given McCain's inept campaign, the fact that half the party hated his guts and his monumentally-cynical, Pandora's-box-opening pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate, the GOP's loss margins should have been colossal.  They weren't, and that fact should disquiet every Democratic political operative suiting up for Obama's reelection campaign.

Especially if Jeb decides to run.

My instinct (such that it is with a 20-year-old, undergraduate political science degree) is to discount any long-lasting Bush-fatigue if the party's elders and base really smell blood in the water and think dislodging Obama from the White House is actually possible.  Sure, they'll flirt with Palin and perhaps some of the parsley-around-the-pig types like Gingrich, Huckabee and T-Paw, but every single one of them knows Jeb was supposed to be the Bush son to carry on the family legacy and rehabilitate the Bush name...not W.  Jeb's the smart one; the one who has the "little brown ones", as G.H.W.B. affectionately called them, born of Jeb's Mexican wife...a wife who also perfected Jeb's Spanish-speaking abilities; Jeb's the one who Democrats even liked during his time as governor of Florida.  It was supposed to be Jeb, and Republicans will forget about W. in a New-York minute if they think he can win.

And he could.  Especially if Sarah brings her wingnuts along and Karl Rove is at the wheel.  This thought should knock the Obama people down a few (more) pegs and sober them up from the intoxicating thought that Sarah Palin will be the standard bearer. Two years from right now, the Republican field of contenders will either have whittled down to one person or soon will and the general election campaign will begin in earnest.  The Obama boys and girls better start praying now that it isn't Jeb they're facing (and have a damn good plan in place if it is).

[Hat tip:  HuffPo; image via:  Cynical-C Blog.]