This morning, it is clear that the Bush Dynasty is history, with Jeb Bush’s poor performance in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, and his announcement of his withdrawal from the Presidential race.
A year ago, it seemed obvious that he would likely be the GOP Presidential candidate, but the entrance of Donald Trump eight months ago destroyed that possibility, and once Trump called Jeb “low energy”, Jeb was befuddled what to do in response. It took him a long time to mount a serious attack, and it was too late.
Jeb was supposed to be the Republican nominee in 2000, the favored younger son, smarter and more knowledgeable than his brother George W, and Jeb had avoided being the “black sheep” of the family with the alcoholism and drug use of George W making his parents very unhappy with him.
But Jeb lost the 1994 Florida gubernatorial election by 60,000 votes, most of the margin for Governor Lawton Chiles being in South Florida, while George W, despite a pitiful debate performance against Texas Governor Ann Richards, was able to win the Texas Governorship in the same year, 1994.
One will always have to wonder whether Jeb would have been able to be elected as George W was in 2000; whether he would have won on his own power in his home state, instead of having a Supreme Court case to win the Sunshine State and the election; and whether he would have acted differently around September 11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina.
Jeb was a lost opportunity, one of many who wanted the Presidency; were considered serious contenders; and yet lost the chance, while lesser candidates won.
In this category, we could, in the past half century, put Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968; Ted Kennedy in 1980; Al Gore in 2000; John McCain in 2000; and Hillary Clinton in 2008, along with Jeb Bush in 2000 and now in 2016.
And now, the question is whether Hillary Clinton can overcome Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential nomination, after failing to overcome Barack Obama eight years ago. Or will she, like Jeb, expected to win, end up failing, as Jeb has done?
In any case, George H. W. and Barbara Bush may, very well, live to the next inauguration and beyond, at age 92 and 91 respectively in January 2017, but they will NOT see the inauguration of a second son to the Presidency.
The other question that arises is whether Bill Clinton, age 70 by the time of the inauguration in 2017, see his wife, on her second try, now 16 years, not 8, since he left the Oval Office, become President, or have the ultimate failure, despite all evidence that she would become the first woman President?
We shall see soon enough over the next number of months!