by Krystal Heath – follow her on Twitter, @TheFriddle
#CPAC2015 was this past week – it had the usual ups and downs of any political gathering. The spectrum of constituencies from libertarian minded youths to, well, old white men, were all amply represented. Each of the (presumed) GOP Presidential candidates were on hand for the event, with Rand Paul winning the straw poll for the third consecutive year with 26% of the vote, followed by Scott Walker (21%), and Ted Cruz (12%).
However, neither side of the political world is focusing on the top 3 contenders at CPAC as the conference concludes. Instead, from both left and right – we’re hearing about Jeb Bush (who came in 5th with 8% of the vote). We’re told that Jeb Bush will either the inevitable GOP nomination or that he should be thrown out of the party completely. Okay, maybe not thrown out, but at least walked out on. In funny hats.
In fact, to read the plethora of articles on Bush’s appearance at CPAC – and even to watch some of the videos – you’d think there was a mass exodus of CPAC attendees when he spoke. Every article I’ve read says “dozens” of people walked out when Bush took the stage. But as someone who was in the ballroom at the time of this supposedly massive revolt, it certainly didn’t seem that way. From my seat, looked like 5 people following a dude with a flag. It was a few more than that…
But how many of these people actually LEFT Jeb Bush’s speech? Count ’em as they come out the doorway. I get maybe 20. Maybe. And a lot of them are wearing Rand Paul shirts and stickers… one day arrivals bused in to support their guy… and maybe even to walk out on Bush?
What the video doesn’t show is that there were at least 5 cameras to every walkout participant trailing along behind the gentleman with the flag. Bottom line, a “massive walkout” on Jeb Bush just didn’t happen. I’m not the only one who was in the ballroom and noticed the discrepancy of walkout numbers.
Huge walkout during Jeb speech. I counted almost 3 people storming out and/ or going to restroom.
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) February 27, 2015
.@JebBush gets a standing O, so he filled the room. If there’s a walkout I can’t see it, altho hear a smattering of boos
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) February 27, 2015
He was heckled and booed sure, but there simply wasn’t a massive walkout on Jeb Bush. Of the thousands of people at CPAC, thousands were in the room. Sure, Bush’s team bused in supporters… so did Rand’s. It’s a common CPAC occurrence.
Here’s the deal. Unless you yourself run for office, you’re never in your lifetime going to find a candidate with whom you agree on every single issue. Anyone has the right to run for President. If Jeb wants to run, more power to him. I’ll sit and listen to what he has to say, if for no other reason than that he is part of American history, the respectful thing to do is to listen.
That said, Jeb Bush isn’t my top choice for President. Or my second. Or even my third. And it’s not because he’s for common core (completely out of touch with conservatives). Nor is it because I disagree with him on amnesty. In fact, Jeb Bush did some pretty great things as Governor of Florida.
What it comes down to is one very simple reason why I don’t want Jeb Bush as the GOP candidate. I just don’t think he can win. Can Jeb Bush win a Republican primary? Sure. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if he won it handily. But I don’t think the country as a whole is ready for another Bush.
Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee. And Hillary is beatable. But Jeb Bush isn’t the man who can beat her. If we present America with a throwback Tuesday edition of election day and ask them if they preferred life under a Clinton or a Bush… we don’t win that discussion. Hillary does. And America simply can’t afford that. Why?
It is very likely that we will replace 3 Supreme Court justices during the next President’s term. In a day and age where legislation is rewritten from the bench, we simply cannot risk allowing a liberal Democrat to make appointments which will dictate our children’s – our America’s – future.
Republicans must win in 2016. I believe we will. But not if Jeb Bush is our candidate.