Political Animal


April 30, 2013 10:22 AM Never Mind What Mama Said

By Ed Kilgore

Many, perhaps most, political writers are prone to falling in love with particular politicians and becoming their open or covert advocates. Few are as transparent about it, though, as WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin, who was one (along with Matt Drudge) of Mitt Romney’s few early champions in the conservative commentariat during the 2012 presidential cycle, and indeed turned her valuable journalistic real estate at the Post into something of a campaign billboard.

You have to figure she’s looking for a new chieftain moving ahead, and she’s written a lot of positive stuff about Marco Rubio. But now Rubin seems to be hedging her bets, if her post yesterday on “ten reasons Jeb should run” for president is any indication.

She offers a pretty tired recitation of assets for Jeb, much of it reminiscent of the Romney campaign’s efforts to turn his increasingly abandoned record as governor way back when into fresh material. The funniest thing is that she asserts twice that liberals are “terrified” by the prospect of another Bush candidacy, which to use a technical term it is often necessary to deploy after reading Rubin, is dead wrong. Do you know any liberals who fear America will be seized by Jeb-o-mania? I don’t.

The second funniest thing is that she breezily declares the “dynastic” issue dead if HRC runs. Trouble is, there’s a contrary authority on this subject who is pretty persuasive: Barbara Bush, who just last week wrote off a Jeb Bush presidential campaign on grounds that “we’ve had enough Bushes.” If you are keeping score at home, there have already been two President Bushes, as opposed to one President Clinton. Clinton left office with very high job approval ratings while W., despite the recent improvement of his “favorables” from abysmal to mediocre thanks to four years of invisibility, is probably not looking for space for his image on Mount Rushmore. As for HRC and Jeb, I need only note that last month a poll of Florida showed the latest Clinton leading the latest Bush in the latter’s home state by double digits in a prospective 2016 contest to cast a lot of doubt on Rubin’s entire hypothesis.

Perhaps Rubin is discharging some debt to Jeb or to his family with this strange though hardly atypical burst of hype, and will soon return to celebrating Marco Rubio. But then again, I didn’t think Mitt Romney was going to survive the abattoir of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest, either. So maybe she’s in touch with some internal wellsprings of Republican thinking that Barbara Bush and I just can’t comprehend.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on April 30, 2013 10:43 AM:

    Well, it's good to see Jen-Ru back to doing what she does best - polishing the knob of a Bush male.

    Yes, Jen-Ru, do try to run-up intereinst in running Jeb.

    This country doesn't at all suffer from Bush-fatigue after the oldest brother got done pooing all over it, and using The Constitution like it was toilet paper.

    Besides, Jeb's the smarter one, right?
    That's like being smarter than a hound dog.

    So, Jen-Ru, let's relive Jeb's shining moment - the Terry Schiavo mess.
    I bet people rembember that fondly.

  • registeredguest on April 30, 2013 10:57 AM:

    Further evidence as if needed that the right wing pundits aren't very original.

    How many times are they going to claim liberals are afraid of someone running for an office. We were all afraid of Palin, then Romney, and now Jeb.

    In fact if there was any fear ever, it was always of the "please don't throw me in the briar patch" variety.

    I doubt they'll ever catch on.

  • KadeKo on April 30, 2013 11:32 AM:

    My memory may be faulty, but wasn't there a lot of this "waaah, too many dynasty families" when HRC was "leading" in the proverbial gate, before the horserace of the 2008 campaign season got started?

    I don't recall peep one in the chattering classes about it when Shrub was on his way to the coronation of 2000.

  • azportsider on April 30, 2013 11:44 AM:

    "...some internal wellsprings of Republican thinking..."

    I think I hurt myself laughing at this notion.

  • Fix the damn pop up ! on April 30, 2013 12:11 PM:

    You should be embarrassed to be on the web with a site that does this.

    The blank pop up which delivers horrible "super secret special" spam is incredibly amateur - I can't read your site anymore and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    Fix it !

  • schtick on April 30, 2013 12:18 PM:

    That poll in florida don't mean squat. The people that polled for HRC will be off the rolls by then.

    crapchat....basic phshts.....it is

  • low-tech cyclist on April 30, 2013 1:25 PM:

    Rubin must be feeling nervous about Rubio's prospects.

    I think Rubio's going to win the GOP nomination in 2016 for the same reasons Romney won it in 2012: the rest of the field (excluding guys like Pawlenty who don't have a following beyond the op-ed pages) will be a clown show that will make him look reasonable by comparison.

  • Rick B on April 30, 2013 2:38 PM:

    Ad-block plus for Firefox totally eliminates the popup ads.

  • gdb on April 30, 2013 2:57 PM:

    Jeb Bush in 2016 is indeed a giggle (albeit, what other current Repub considered for 2016 would you believe is better?). Hillary in 2016 should be a downer for Progressives. BHO has been following her policies with her advisors for 5 years. You mean the Dems can do no better in 2016 than a 3rd way re-tread that had real downsides in 2008 (Hillary was beat by a relative unknown who has hardly proven to be a political giant).

  • beb on April 30, 2013 7:07 PM:

    Reality check. Despite being dumber than slime mold, Romney pulled 48% of the voters, against the man who got Bin Laden. So against someone with an IQ in the double-digits and an ad budget in the billions it's entirely possible that Jeb could get elected.

  • / on May 01, 2013 1:41 AM:

    the only way the republicans will win the presidency is with a candidate with populist appeal.

    (paul ryan and mitt romney is an amazing choice in this regard. i thought huckabee maybe had a shot?)

    rubio might be able to thread that needle--populist but still pro-business.