Former Florida governor Jeb Bush made one of the most painful decisions of his life Saturday night: he suspended his 2016 campaign to run for president of the United States.
Bush ran his campaign on his track record, his common sense and his solid background of success. One would think that would have been enough to at least have brought him into the top circle.
He is ethical, knowledgeable, smart, and has a great track record.
But in the age of glitzy multi-media, the Harry Truman thing is no longer enough.
Worse, Bush has two prior presidents in the family that he either had to live up to, or to live down. In either case, they were shadows that followed him wherever he went.
Hillary Clinton’s own historic shadow was right there beside her and able to ride the glitzy 21st century wave of technology. But for the most part, Bush’s shadows mostly left him to face the public alone at every stage. It was only in South Carolina that the family came out to help – and it was too little, too late.
Especially when it came to appearing before the cameras: a place where Bush often appeared awkward and uncomfortable. His body language lacked confidence; when he spoked – always courteous, educated, to the point – his voice held no authority. He shined at Town Hall meetings: but America’s presidential campaigns no longer really depend on these since the country has grown so large, and broadcast media reigns supreme.
When the voters are watching the candidates on television, focus groups interviewed after the debates or the broadcast Town Hall meetings explain: They’re not looking for a micro-manager – presidents HIRE experts. What voters in America look for is a qualified executive who will lead: someone who is knowledgeable, ethical but authoritative and who automatically attracts a nation’s respect.
The media mavens who worked with Jeb Bush either did not work with him long enough, or he wasn’t paying attention. Or maybe he secretly just didn’t want this job bad enough – also a distinct possibility.
(Ted Cruz – Trump’s closest competitor — incidentally, is another candidate who either should be paying more attention to his media mavens – or should change the ones he is working with. He too has major issues with his body language and vocal delivery. Cruz is a candidate who should have easily bypassed Trump by now – but Trump has him beat by a country mile due to his charisma problem.)
In any case on Saturday night, Bush, 63, had enough.
When it was clear he would not even be able to pull South Carolina, where the Bush family is really well-loved, Bush told his supporters: “The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign,” he said. The audience gasped, according to CNN, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
But really, it’s no surprise. What’s surprising is that he was able to hang on this long.Hana Levi Julian