Bush Thinks Media is Behind His Poor Numbers

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Jeb Bush pulled his creaking corpse of a campaign onto Meet the Press Sunday to explain why he could possibly think he still has a shot at the presidency. Host Chuck Todd asked Bush why people were not happy with what they had seen from the candidate thus far. And instead of taking responsibility for having run one of the most lackluster campaigns in modern history, Bush blamed it on the press.

“Probably because they watch the cable shows and they read the political press,” Bush said.

So in other words, if you pay attention to politics, you probably don’t like him. Hmm, maybe he’s a little more self-aware than people think.

But of course that’s not what Bush meant. He meant that because the pundits are all shouting that Bush is not a good candidate, it has created this perception among the voters. In any other year, he might have (barely) gotten away with that kind of excuse. But in a year where Donald Trump and Ben Carson are leading the rest of the field by a wide margin, it seems pretty clear that the voters don’t give a damn what the political press has to say. Those two aren’t exactly getting favorable coverage out there.

“I’ve just got to be able to break through the clutter of all the punditry class, and I think I can do that,” Bush explained.

Why, though, do you think that? What evidence has there been so far? There’s all this talk about how you’re going to go out there and do better. Well, what have you been doing for the last four or five months? Why wouldn’t you strive to “do better” from the very first moment of your announcement? Did you really think America was just going to hand you the keys to the kingdom because your last name is Bush?

“We need to be hopeful and optimistic, have an aspirational message,” he said. “I don’t think conservatives are going to win the presidency unless we campaign with our arms wide open.”

That’s been his message from the start, but here’s the problem. You can’t just add an exclamation mark to the end of your name, declare that it “connotes excitement” and then fail to show any excitement of your own. Bush was hurt by Trump saying he was low energy. Why? Because once he said it, voters looked and saw it was plainly true.

We want a candidate who is inspiring. And there are inspiring men on either side of Bush. It’s not just Trump. It’s Carson, with his uplifting message. It’s Marco Rubio, with his heart. So many of the candidates running for president show more life and passion than Bush. Bush seems like he’s being forced into this campaign by someone.

The other problem – and this one may be an even bigger one – is that Rubio and Trump have both succeeded in making Bush look small. Rubio, quite frankly, made him look like a child at the last debate. Americans will put up with a lot from a politician, but we don’t like to see them made to look weak. We would rather elect a crook than we would elect a weakling.

And if it’s Bush vs. Hillary next year, we’ll see just that.