Bush’s problems began when he was asked by Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly if he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
According to Fox.com, Bush said:
“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”
After a couple of tries Bush, according to CNN,
“By Wednesday acknowledged he would have done things differently in Iraq.”
I didn’t watch any of the Megyn Kelly interview live, but as I remember it, at the time every security service on the planet believed Saddam Hussein had deployable weapons of mass destruction including the French. France wanted more time to find them.
Nevertheless, the Bush campaign had to know that this question would be asked – as well as the follow up “Knowing what you know now, would you have done it?” and they should have had a good, succinct answer and moved on.
As others have pointed out, running for national office in America is not the same as playing in a Thursday night softball league. It is the Majors; the Big Leagues; it is the Show.
Jeb Bush has not run for public office since 2002 when he won re-election as Governor of Florida with over 56 percent of the vote.
This is 2015. Thirteen years off the stump is a long time. Almost ever major politician who has run for President after a long lay-off from day-to-day campaigning has found it extremely difficult to get back into game shape right off the bat.
There is a reason the Hillary Clinton campaign has kept her as far away from reporters as they can while still being on the surface of the Earth. Hillary hasn’t run for office since her re-election campaign for U.S. Senator from New York in 2006.
Playing at this level is, as I noted above, like being in the Major Leagues. A player who has been on the disabled list doesn’t return after 15 or 30 days to his spot in the lineup without having played in some warm-up games in the minor leagues to get their batting eye (if a position player) or arm strength (if a pitcher) back.
Former Governors and Senators can’t run for State Rep, or County Commissioner to sharpen their campaigning skills before getting into the Presidential field. They have to dive right in and strike out with men on 2nd and 3rd, or walk in the lead run in the full view of a pack press box.
But, the tsk-tsking that is now rife across the land by anyone who has ever even voted in an election, much less run a major campaign, over Jeb’s wiffing on Megyn Kelly’s pitches this week are probably overblown.
It is in everyone’s interests – Republicans aligned with other candidates (proto-candidates or announced) as well as every Democrat – to pronounce the Jeb Bush Presidential effort done for. Over. Finished. Kaput.
We are in the middle of May of 2015. The Iowa Caucuses are about eight months – EIGHT MONTHS – away.
Want to talk about bad weeks? How about President Barack Obama throwing a Summit for the leaders of Gulf State nations, and the biggest players chose to send deputies?
How about the President holding a so-called Poverty Summit at Georgetown University where the “Cost of Attendance” according to GU’s webpage is $64,500 per year or more than a quarter of a million dollars for a four-year degree?
Poverty, thy name is not Hoya.
I have no idea whether Jeb Bush will be the ultimate nominee. I do know that, assuming he get’s his batting stroke back as the campaign moves on, he will be the favorite as we move through the summer.
But, I absolutely know that if he is not the nominee it will not be because he stumbled over an answer to a question on a Fox News program in May of the odd-numbered year.
The Major League baseball season is 162 games. Every player hits a slump at some point in that stretch. The great ones take extra batting practice (or adjust their throwing mechanics if they are a pitcher) and work through it.
Like the Major League season, the race for the nomination for President is a grind.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.