GOP Establishment moneyman Josh Jordan explains his doubts about Jeb Bush:
Governor Jeb Bush, who just launched his campaign this week, brings liabilities to the general election that have not received the press attention they deserve. I bring them up not because they make him ‘bad’ or, in my view, unfit for office. I bring them up because these are liabilities that other Republican candidates do not have and represent baggage that any candidate, let alone one named Bush, can ill afford in a presidential election.
Prior to beginning his campaign, Bush resigned from three corporate boards: Tenet Healthcare, a health insurance company, Rayonier, a lumber/paper company, and Barclays, a large bank. Few things in this country are more politically toxic than health insurance companies, banks, and companies that promote cutting down trees. The Democrats playbook here may be simple, but it is very effective. Remember the damage President Obama’s campaign did to Mitt Romney in 2012? Bain Capital, anyone?
Bush supporters may argue that board memberships shouldn’t be a liability, as long as that service was honorable. But in 21st century politics, that just isn’t so.
None of the older, Establishment candidates has any clue how to fight on this altered battlefield.
Walker has — and won. Rubio has that sunny, Reaganesque disposition and appeals to the zeitgeist. Cruz is my bullet-point favorite and he’s a proven fighter, but I worry about his likability deficit. Fiorina gets it, but her record at HP is probably as big a political liability as Bush’s board memberships. Perry is great on the stump, but we still need to see if he’s learned his lessons from 2012 — and his politicking may be too old school for the general election. Paul keeps stepping into many of the same potholes his father did, but he adds an element of genuine debate to where the party should stand on domestic security issues, so even if he can’t win he’s still a vital part of the primary season. Jindal — so solid, so wonky… both parties produce a lot of candidates like him, but few of them win the nomination and none of them win the White House. If you’re like me, you just want to love Carson, but if you’re like me you also have to admit he’s not quite ready for prime time.
And that’s it, really. You have Bush, who brings too many liabilities the least of which is his last name. Then there are the Stunt Candidates — Graham, Huckabee, Pataki, Santorum, Trump — who seem to be in the race for reasons of ego, and/or to maintain their TV and speaking fee viability.
How do you stack them up?
UPDATE: I inadvertently left out Kasich, but I shouldn’t have — he might have made himself the worst of the bunch in this year-old story told today by Politico.
Kasich’s temper has made it harder to endear himself to the GOP’s wealthy benefactors. Last year, he traveled to Southern California to appear on a panel at a conference sponsored by the Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch. At one point, according to accounts provided by two sources present, Randy Kendrick, a major contributor and the wife of Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rose to say she disagreed with Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage, and questioned why he’d expressed the view it was what God wanted.
The governor’s response was fiery. “I don’t know about you, lady,” he said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising. “But when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”
Nothing suits a GOP contender worse than haranguing donors about expanding the welfare state to include the upper middle class.