Jeb Bush was, for an instant or two over the summer, the GOP’s frontrunner for the nomination, but apparently he didn’t really like it (or maybe he’s just telling himself that). In an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Jeb was asked how he feels about being in fifth place now, and he told host John Dickerson that he’s much happier there:
I’ve always thought that there was going to be a high expectation for me. And I totally get it. Being the frontrunner made me feel like the other guys just dancing right through this. I have to go earn it. I have higher expectations on me than people have on me. So it doesn’t bother me a bit that the expectations are high. And I want to win, which means that you garner momentum when it matters and so feel I good about where we are right now.
The expectations on the top two or three candidates are usually pretty high, and they’re lower for anybody else. With Donald Trump in the lead and inexplicably holding it, it’s hard to have high expectations for anybody in the GOP clown car. Jeb Bush is trying to paint himself as a serious candidate, but it’s hard to take him seriously if he’s okay with Trump being in the lead.
Dickerson asked Jeb whether everything he says about Trump is making him a little hypocritical, since he told Trump at the 5th GOP debate that he couldn’t insult his way to the presidency, and then proceeded to insult him at a post-debate rally. Jeb didn’t see it this way, and one has to wonder whether he thinks he can’t call out Trump on his nonsense if he’s at the top. Or, at the very least, that it would be harder do so from up there.
The GOP is terrified that Trump will end up as the clear nominee going into the summer conventions, and Jeb, who’s polling at roughly three percent right now, is going to “campaign his heart out” in order to make sure that doesn’t happen. Yeah…good luck with that.
Jeb feels it’s a little liberating to be the guy who can “post up against the guy” who isn’t qualified to be president because it makes him better able to share his vision. However, it’s a little sad, and a little telling, that he’s okay with Trump and Cruz holding the top two spots, because they’re both too crazy to be president. This whole interview makes it seem like he’s not really a serious candidate either; no serious candidate should be okay with being as far back as he is. It means he’s not reaching his voters, and the circus that is the Donald Trump Show is.
Featured image via screen capture from CBS Face the Nation video