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Is Bush Unnerved by Trump?

Jeb Bush suddenly lurched to life during Thursday night’s Fox News debate, offering crisp, forceful comments of the kind that have largely been absent from every one of the preceding six debates and begging the question: Is he completely cowed by Donald Trump?

With Trump on the stage, the former Florida governor had in previous debates seemed hesitant, like a tentative child who thought he was about to get smacked by his parent for saying something stupid. He often spoke meekly, seemed a bit apologetic, and sometimes politely stammered that he might like to get a word in before being denied by moderators of smacked down by Trump.

But during the final debate before Monday night’s Iowa caucus, Bush sounded far more self-assured. If voters respond, Trump’s absence may have had one unattended effect: Giving the beaten former favorite a chance to remove the stake from his heart and return from the political dead.

Bush did not put himself in a position to overtake Trump. He’s way too far behind for that. But he may finally be able to mount a challenge to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for the mantle of Establishment candidate.

The only problem for Bush is that Rubio also turned in a strong performance, offering his typical passionate comments and levying bruising attacks against both Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The other problem for Jeb is that what’s wrong with him as a candidate is not just his demeanor, but his moderate Republican, pro-amnesty, policies and his firm ensconcement in the GOP Establishment, which is not what most Republicans are looking for.

“We should have a path to legal status for the 12 million people that are here illegally,” he declared.

After adding certain conditions, he said, “I think that’s the conservative consensus pragmatic approach to how to solve this problem.”

Bush specifically embraced his exalted place in the Establishment.

But look below at how much less assertive he appeared during a previous debate with the dominant Trump by his side.

But of course, Bush’s ability to crawl out of his shell without Trump around begs a second question: Will he creep right back in it the next time he shares the dais with towering real estate mogul.

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50 Responses to Is Bush Unnerved by Trump?

  1. Of course, Jeb! is unnerved when he’s around The Donald. He was so sure that his big political backers and their money, his big name, his tenure as Gov of Florida, and “my father…my brother…” dynasty would just make his campaign a cakewalk.
    MrTrump appears in public and calls out his failings, points out his slow affect, and Jeb! is stunned at the lack of respect he’s enjoyed all of his adult life.

    Last night: you could almost smell the desperation emanating from the group assembled in the main debate. The undercard people have obviously accepted that they are just about done, so they seemed more relaxed.
    SenRubio appears strident, robotic, and about to crack from the stress.
    SenCruz is sure of his place, knowing that he’s ‘this’ close to being the winner and that reflects in everything he said.
    SenPaul is the eternal gadfly and he knows it.
    The Govs – Kasich and Christie and Bush know they aren’t going anywhere and have nothing to lose.
    DrCarson needs to get back to his real calling – life-saving medicine.

    The format for these so-called debates is getting tiresome and off-track. We don’t want to hear this candidate attack that one, we don’t want the moderators pointing out where a candidate has changed his view or position from one held years ago, and allowing them to just spout their campaign slogans is old and stale.
    A real debate would be where all the candidates are asked the same question and allowed to give their opinions or program.
    What we see today is a reality TV program about candidates who will vote someone off the podium.

    • You seem determined to tag Rubio with being robotic–I prefer well spoken myself. I would vote for him, for Kasich, for Christie, and for Jeb. But for Trump–never. Even it means no vote. If this means a vote for Hillary, as people like to repeat and repeat, well then it is.

    • You captured it. Agree. The X-Factor drama of these “debates” is pure hooey, insulting to the citizenry, the portion of the citizenry who are seriously scanning through the candidates, sorting them out.

      John Bolton had a funny line about these debates: “It’s like watching serial press conferences.” Each candidate spitting out the same old talking points. Just put a nickle in the slot on top of a candidate’s head….and out come the magic, focus group approved words.

      Who won? Who lost? Did you hear what XYZ said? Wow! Wait until Trump/Rubio/Paul hear about that! ” Sparks! Fireworks! Ratings!

      And how do you respond to that Gov. Christie? hmmmm? hmmmm? hmmmm? Whoops, time’s up.” And now, a commercial.

      It’s show business, nonsense, insulting, trivial, meaningless.

      I’m not watching them anymore. Last night, I watched about half, and said, “That’s it. I can’t take anymore.” I’ll do my own research without this political soap opera.

    • Agree, as usual, with srdem.

      What I see happening is Trump v Establishment. The myriad of hopeless candidates is like GM putting out a Buick and a Pontiac, etc., hoping that some marketing angle or shiny trim feature will catch the eye of some otherwise Chrysler buyer. The establishment is just desperate to force a brokered conventions so they can choose the next candidate. It’s more important to them for Trump to not win than a conservative to win. Hypocrite, elitist, lying bastards.

      As Trump might say, “They’re all fired!”.

  2. Personally I felt like a big heavy dentist’s apron was lifted off me without the constant cuts to Trump’s scowl…Whew. Maybe Jeb felt the same. He did well–but to me, the story was how tacky Cruz was. I have never warmed up to him and never will now.

    • That’s because you’re a leftist who claims to be a Republican.

      Just look at the candidates you support. How are Bush’s, Kasich’s or Christie’s positions any different than Hillary’s? They aren’t.

      Just vote for Hillary and get it over with. You’re not fooling anybody but yourself.

      • I am a registered Dem still…Obama sent me to the conservative side and then I mistakenly believed all the things sites like that had good to say about conservatism and then bam! the site went for a giant non-conservative. I am stuck with no party, no one to vote for. The people I named differ from Hillary in so many ways you probably don’t have the lifespan left for me to note them. At least they never said she was a smokin’ person and they loved her and if someone gave her a big donation, would she come to that person’s wedding.

  3. Once again, Trump outsmarted everyone–intentional or not. Cruz lived up to his terrible reputation as an unlikeable, smarmy huckster–and then some. It doesn’t matter where he was born, he will never be living @ 1600.
    Marco demonstrated that he is too immature and easily flummoxed to ever be a leader- Obama-lite.
    Jeb! is a gentleman – a genuinely nice guy…but we all know what happens to ‘nice guys’.
    Christie, the NJ thug, worries me. He will do or say anything to get the job.

    That leaves Trump, the Artful Dodger. If he wins, I predict there will be a new best-seller: “The Art of the Dodge”. So far, it’s working!

  4. New subj? Story in the Post on how Politico is melting down…Mike Allen Jim Vanderhei–leaving along with many others. We did notice it was becoming more and more liberal…

  5. In my opinion, Trump has fallen quite a bit this past week. I know I did not miss him last night. The problem is I don’t believe anyone had a good enough night to win Iowa.

    Bush is not used to being bullied. Whoever is running his campaign has done a horrible job and that includes Jeb. The Bush name has been nothing but an anchor.

    • Yeah, I am not sure I buy the MoJoe line that Trump has this all planned. Foundations are tax shelters–so this won’t hurt Trump. If I were anyone, I would not give to a cobbled up website with no 501(c)(3) or maybe no hackproof security…but we know how I am.

  6. I would not disagree of your assessment of Jeb being unnerved by Trump.

    When I heard him speak at the Red State Gathering in August, he came across to me then as somewhat timid, nice guy, college professor-type who gives easy As, and didn’t really want the job.

    • We will need an aggressive personality to reverse the damage Obama has done to this Country.
      No more passive compliance to the liberals.
      We need to restore the America we grew up in.
      If the libs don’t like it,….leave.

    • He just doesn’t across as a happy, confident, centered person. Nice, yes. Good to his family, yes. Help those in need, yes. But not a warrior, a fighter, an “I challenge you, sir, to a duel at sunrise” type, a light up the afterburners type. Just the way it is. And he shares the strange trait Bush 1 and Bush2 displayed in front of a television camera: he looks uncomfortable, awkward, at a loss for the right words, confused. These days, right or wrong, how you come across on television can win or lose and election for you.

      • Just wanted to add, based on an “how you come across on television” basis, Abraham Lincoln would have never become President had television been around in those days. He had a high pitched, very soft voice, was gangly, with long arms, homely, and sometimes caricatured as a monkey in political cartoons. Ouch. Remember: television is how you look, not what you’ve said or done.

        • I think of Abraham Lincoln’s voice to be much like Ben Carson’s in pitch, tone and cadence. One difference might be that Lincoln was likely much more fluid going from one sentence or thought to the next, than Dr. Carson is.

          Ok, I’ll move off that topic now. ;+}

  7. I got a questionnaire from the DNC in themail today–so poisonous. It really was a push-poll. You know, where they phrase the questions so slantedly they questions impart info instead of ask for it. Things like do you think a priority should be stop the obstructionist Republicans? Or which are the worst things the Republicans want to do–things like reverse gay marriage or stop women’s rights. Ridiculous and I said so and sent it back.

  8. There are so many folks suffering from “Bush Deraingment Syndrome”, he can never be elected. Duh. He really should sign off gracefully and steer his supporters and resources into the eventual nominee.

  9. Well let’s see…bush is an Aquarian and trump is a Gemini ….two air signs that usually get along quite well…shall look into their other planetary aspects to see what is causing this scuffle astrologically speaking…time to get scientific!

    • A Gemini? I would have guessed Scorpio or Leo. Gemini–the twins–double talk, two-faced…I have forgotten a lot of this. I am a Pisces–the combo of all signs…dreamy, unfocused sometimes… So don’t go by me.