Roger L. Simon

How Jeb Can (Still) Save His Reputation and Help America at the Same Time

Photo courtesy AP Images.

Near the beginning of this endless presidential season, I called upon Jeb Bush to drop out and, as he did so, call for Hillary Clinton to drop out too. No more dynasties. No Bushes, no Clintons. We’re a democratic republic, not a monarchy.

He didn’t listen to me, you may have noticed.

Since then things have gotten worse, much worse.  Jeb is mired way back in the polls, his supporters wasting millions that could be spent curing cancer making unfunny and useless attack ads that are embarrassing to watch. He struggles to be noticed, lashing out at his opponents, then dialing back and pretending he’s a statesman, reminding us what a great governor he was in Florida. No one’s interested. The younger Bush has become an increasingly pathetic figure, sitting, as he will be, at the end of the debate table on Thursday, waiting to be humiliated in Iowa and New Hampshire and undoubtedly in South Carolina shortly thereafter. Why would he want to undergo that?

He doesn’t have to.  It’s very late, but it’s not too late.  He should pull out now and do just as I recommended months ago — call on Hillary Clinton to drop out too.

It would be a patriotic act. He would be doing America an immense favor.  Only some aging feminists, Huma Abedin and a few corrupt Chinese businessmen really want Hillary to be president. Who knows if Bill even does?  Much of the country, publicly or privately, wants her out of the picture. Her campaign events seem like zombie conventions for the living dead. How could anyone be enthusiastic? No one wants to go through another Watergate when there are  serious problems to deal with, a Middle East in flames, Europe imploding and the economy in free fall.

The private email server and the Clinton Foundation are scandals that are not going away, no matter how they are adjudicated. They will keep popping up — and should.  If Hillary were to overcome them and actually become president, our country would find itself  the most divided it has been since the Civil War with a POTUS most citizens think is a congenital liar on the day she takes office.  How would she ever be able to bring us together? Her inaugural address would induce a national migraine that wouldn’t go away for years.

Jeb is in a position to help stop this at the same time as he resurrects his own tarnished reputation. He will have the bully pulpit for that brief moment when he drops out and he can use it to tell the truth.  America doesn’t need another Bush and it certainly doesn’t need another Clinton, particularly one under the shadow of indictment.

He’d feel so much better after he did that.  No more anger.  No more entitlement.  He’d be free of something that clearly is making him unhappy.  Anyone can see that.  If he weren’t a politician (i. e., an egomaniac) he would see it himself too, instantly.

Sure, the Dems will respond — Jeb’s just a sore loser, he was tanking in the polls, etc.  But much of that will ring hollow because he will have spoken a truth most of the country truly believes.  They didn’t want him and they don’t want her, even when it seems they do.  They just swallow her because they have to.  That’s because they’re Democrats, less concerned with democracy these days than Republicans.  Democrats are almost as obedient as lemmings — and about as thoughtful.  That’s sad but true.

If Jeb had been a Democrat, he might have been president.  He can console himself with that.  But he also can contribute to stopping Hillary — and that’s far more important. He should pull out before the voting begins.