By Don Feder – BarbWire guest contributor
Remember those cheesy ’50s horror flicks where prehistoric monsters battled over Tokyo? The creatures end up destroying each other and the people come out to celebrate in the last reel.
If we’re lucky, that will be the scenario in next year’s Republican primaries – with Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney splitting the establishment vote, leading to the nomination of an authentic conservative for the first time since Ronald Reagan.
Bonnie Prince Jeb has hearts of the GOP donor class all aflutter. He’s the crown prince of the Bush dynasty – grandson of a U.S. Senator, son and brother of presidents. His campaign slogan should be: “The Restoration is at hand. God save the Bush!”
Mitt Romney is also a legacy – a moderate Republican governor (who adopts conservative coloration when it’s convenient) and the son of a moderate Republican governor, who bought the nomination in 2012 having failed to do so in 2008.
Both believe they’re entitled to the 2016 nomination almost by divine right. Both are so out of step with the party they aspire to lead that they might as well be circus clowns trying to coordinate the D-Day landings.
Besides name recognition and money, what does Bush Jr. have? He hasn’t campaigned in 12 years or governed in eight. The rubber-chicken circuit has taken its toll. He looks less like W’s younger brother than the father of NJ Governor Chris Crisco – but not in a good way.
If he does run, it won’t be as a conservative, insiders say. (I am shocked, shocked, to learn this!) He thinks the Republican Party should soften its tone. How do you get softer than Romney’s 2012 rhetoric (“Excuse me for breathing, and Obama is really a swell guy, but….”)
On two issues, Jeb has staked out positions well to the left of the party’s base. To enter this country illegally is “an act of love,” Bush told a group of donors in Stamford (his kinda town) Connecticut. Those who violate our laws to come here do it so their kids can eat, said a man who looks like he’s never missed a meal. (They’re starving in Mexico?)
Are the career criminals, gang members and kitchen-help (not to mention the al-Qaeda-trained terrorists) who are coming with the famine victims also lovable?
Is it an act of love for Jeb and other country-club Republicans to facilitate their legalization, which will encourage millions more to come? Typical of his class, the illegals Bush encounters are gardeners, cooks and maids. For Republican donors, they’re cheap labor. For the rest of us, they’re a financial burden, a crime problem and the end of national identity. You might call this an act of love too – of the non-consensual kind.
Once upon a time, the governor defended the integrity of marriage. But now that he has his sights set on the presidency, he doesn’t want to talk about those icky social issues. When a federal judge decided to inflict “same-sex marriage” on Florida recently, Jeb told us we must “respect the rule of law.”
It’s always comforting to encounter a Republican who thinks judges make laws – who respects jurists who legislate their ideology in the guise of interpreting the constitution. How about the 62% of Florida voters (4.9 million of them) who passed a defense of marriage amendment to the Florida constitution in 2008. As Rodney Dangerfield would say, don’t they get no respect?
If the word of one federal judge deserves respect, then a Supreme Court decision must be worthy of adulation. To be consistent, Jeb must also respect Roe v. Wade and all of the other judicial assaults on individual liberties and states rights. In the face of judicial activism, the greatest threat to democracy and constitutional government of our age, he’ll cower in the trenches, behind a barricade of clichés.
The real danger of Bonnie Prince Jeb is that he’s so awful he might end up frightening conservatives into Romney’s arms. That’s right, he’s baaack! Mitt too is actively exploring, seriously considering, consulting his former donors and staff, etc. Mitt the Mild is an alternative to Jeb the way Ebola is an alternative to Legionnaires Disease.
In 2008, John McCain quipped that The Great Pretender is “very consistent – totally consistent – because he’s had two positions at least on every issue.” As a friend once put it, Mitt’s conversion to Reagan Republican came not on the road to Damascus but the road to Des Moines.
Running against Ted Kennedy in 1994, and again as a candidate for Massachusetts governor in 2002, Romney touted abortion on demand, stringent gun control, open borders and gay rights.
By 2005, when he was starting to seriously considering a run for the White House, Mitt was magically transformed into a pro-marriage, pro-life (thanks to a fictional Harvard stem-cell researcher), pro-Second Amendment politician who was tough on illegal immigration. Of course that didn’t stop him from putting $50 co-pays for abortion into RomneyCare, at a time when he claimed to be pro-life, or suggesting “self-deportation” (the biggest laugh-line of 2012) as the answer to our open-borders crisis.
I could almost forgive Mitt’s shameless opportunism and bald-faced lies if it weren’t for the abysmal campaign he ran in 2012.
Mitt and his advisors (the usual crowd of clueless Republican consultants) decided that all they had to do was stay out of the way and let Obama and his orc army self-destruct. They would remain relentlessly positive (even in the face of blistering attacks). They weren’t going to say anything controversial that would jeopardize Mitt with undecided voters. It was jobs, jobs, jobs as far as the eye could see.
The president was “a nice guy, but we just can’t afford him for four more years,” and “a nice guy” who “just doesn’t understand how to run the economy.” While Romney was administering these gentle rebukes, Mr. Nice was savaging him as a corporate-raider, job-destroyer and health-insurance snatcher, who ate widows and orphans for breakfast, and only cared about tax cuts for his millionaire friends.
How do you blow a campaign against a man whose policies kept unemployment at 8 percent for most of his first term, increased the number of Americans living in poverty by 6.4 million, increased long-term unemployment by 87% and raised the national debt by two-thirds?
How do you lose to a man who started his first term with an apology tour, bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, did his best to keep America energy-dependent, appointed the weirdest assortment of leftwing loons to his administration, encouraged the alien influx, lied about the Benghazi massacre for two weeks (blaming what he knew to be an act of terrorism on an obscure Internet video), put the Moslem Brotherhood in power in Egypt and constantly betrayed Israel?
Obama should bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Mitt, in recognition of his meritorious service in 2012.
He lost to Obama 51% to 47%. He lost every contested state except North Carolina. He lost four million Republican voters who were there in 2008, but stayed home in 2012. You have to be some kind of Republican candidate to lose four million voters McCain inspired.
And now he wants to do it all over again. Isn’t that exciting? Why are you screaming?
Best case scenario: Jeb and Mitt both throw their top hats in the ring, raise a ton of Wall Street money, batter each other bloody, and both end up going down for the count. If the Crisco Kid runs too, it’ll be the triple crown of RINO slugfests.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.
First published at GrassTopsUSA.com.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.