My enthusiasm for a presidential race in 2016 where the Republican candidate is Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney is utterly nil. In fact, I don't even have the stomach for a primary where they are the front runners. It's been done before. In Mitt's case, it's been done twice before, even.
You know who else ran for President three times? Nixon. And Reagan. Do we learn, or are we about to have to endure another election cycle with Mitt shaking his fingers in our faces and pretending he gives a damn? Which I guess is more than we can expect with Jeb, who will not only shake his finger in our face and pretend he gives a damn, but also invite y'all to a beer out on the ranch or something.
No thanks to either one. But why are they both jockeying for placement so early? Answer: donors.
Joan Walsh, writing about "Mitt's snit," points out that Mitt not only loathes Jeb Bush, he wants all of the Jeb Bush donors too. Well, donors and Mitt's conviction that he's entitled to be not only the GOP nominee of record forever and ever amen, but also the President of the United States for as long as he wants to be that, or until he decides to be King of the World because Mormon Jesus said so.
Over the weekend the Washington Post ran a long profile of the relationship between the two men, which it said was characterized by “competitiveness and snippiness.” It’s a fun read. Apparently Mitt’s still mad that Bush took his time endorsing him in 2012, waiting until after Florida’s crucial primary (which Romney won anyway), and that he criticized Romney’s campaign moves on immigration.
Also: Romney is worried that Bush’s work for Lehman Brothers and Barclays “makes Bush vulnerable to the same kind of Democratic attacks that he faced in 2012 over his career as Bain Capital co-founder and chief executive.”
That makes Romney the logical alternative how?
The piece makes the rationale for a Romney run sound like a tantrum: “Jeb endorsed me too late, he criticized my campaign, and if one idle plutocrat who hasn’t won public office for more than a decade can become president, it’s going to be me!”
In fact, the real driving force seems to be entitlement. As Bill Kristol put it (and he knows a thing or two about nepotism and entitlement): “A Romney-Bush race would be more personal — about whose turn it is and who is owed it.”
“Whose turn it is and who is owed it.” That reminded me of Ann Romney telling ABC’s Diane Sawyer in 2012: “It’s Mitt’s time. It’s our turn now.”
There's your entitlement words, folks. Right there. It's our turn, not that stinky former Governor of Florida guy whose last name happens to be the same as his brother who wasn't conservative enough but still managed to wreck the country.
At least Bush seems to have a rationale for a run — to articulate a new way of talking about Latinos and gay people that probably doesn’t lead to policy changes, but at least tests whether kinder, gentler rhetoric can help grow the party nationally. What is Romney’s? He’s told friends “he considers poverty the topic du jour.” But poverty was just as high in 2012 and Romney had no answer for it – except to famously disdain “the 47 percent of Americans…who won’t take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Neither one of these clowns is qualified to talk about poverty. Until they give up everything they have and live without health care, heat, enough to eat, and the grinding oppression of never even being given the time of day because they're nobody they don't get to pretend they give a damn about poor people or the issues they face.
Here's a taste of what Rmoney has planned for us plebes:
Besides a focus on helping the poor, the other two pillars he’s told people he would build a new campaign around are supporting the middle class and a muscular foreign policy, an area where he believes he was strongly vindicated from his 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama. Romney, for instance, warned about the strategic threat posed by Russia, which many at the time thought was an overstatement. The multimillionaire also is cognizant of the damage done last time by his derisive remarks about “47 percent” of the population, whom he cast as moochers.
“If he does go forward, there will be heavier doses of foreign policy,” a senior adviser told POLITICO. “That was a strength of his last campaign. A lot of what he said has been borne out … All that feeds into a narrative.”
“The economic focus has to be different as well,” he added. “There will be more focus on mobility and softer economic issues. There will also probably be more on upward mobility and opportunity.”
Oh, please. Romney didn't warn about Russians; he warned about Soviets, those elusive nationalists who became Russians, Ukranians, and more after the Soviet Union dissolved.
As far as the economic focus goes, don't forget that Mitt Romney has not repatriated all of his overseas money sheltering him from tax obligations on those companies Bain Capital bought and stripped of all their assets and employees before consolidating them.
All talk and no real substance. That's what we'll get from them all, so when you see any Clown Car Candidate open their mouth and start talking, assume they're humming the Trickle Down Tax Cut Rag.