Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign died quietly in its sleep Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. The campaign finally found peace after a long, hard fought battle with not getting enough votes. Jeb was surrounded by his loved ones at the time of his campaign’s death, all of whom were disappointed, but not surprised that he had failed at the family pastime of trying to be the most important guy in the United States. “He may have gotten fourth place in South Carolina, but little Jebby will always be number three in our hearts,” stated Jeb’s mom at the campaign funeral. Jeb’s campaign is survived by three children, four grandchildren and many other potential presidential candidates of the future in his extended family.
The “Jeb!” campaign was born in Miami last summer after several flirtatious months of “actively exploring” and “seriously considering” the idea of a candidacy. Because of that long gestation period, and the unholy amount of Super PAC money raised during, Jeb was initially considered by many to be the frontrunner for his party. Yet in this Wonka factory tour that we call the Republican presidential primaries, anything can happen.
These primaries began when 16 eager children who were fortunate and wealthy enough to raise plenty of golden tickets decided to enter this world of political fantasy. At first, good-natured, patient Jeb seemed to be the Charlie of the bunch. But alas, the hooting oompa loompa who is currently in first place has pushed yet another innocent soul into the chocolate river of defeat.
But was it that bloviating billionaire who caused the death of Jeb’s campaign, or was it Jeb himself? Some have questioned whether this soft-spoken, sensitive turtle ever really had what it took to make it all the way to the November ballot. In the post mortem, we can see why Jeb’s campaign suffered as much as it did. He chose to run during a weird election cycle, where traditional qualifications for the Republican primaries, such as political experience and just generally not being an obnoxious asshole, led to disqualification.
Another burden upon Jeb’s campaign life was that unfortunate last name which he kept neatly tucked away in the letter B of “Jeb!” Because Jeb is an acronymic nickname with the B standing for Bush (his real name is John Ellis Bush), it is technically a misnomer when people call him “Jeb Bush.” This misnomer is exactly like when people say “ATM machine.”
America, as it transpired, was not too psyched about another ruler from the Bush dynasty. Let us not forget that big brother George once soared at a monarch-like 92 percent approval rating, but toward the end of his term he managed to achieve 19 percent, the lowest approval rating since approval ratings were invented.
Jeb will be remembered fondly for both his timidness and his courage. He made debates more exciting because you never knew what to expect from him. Would he let the other Republicans walk all over him, or would he have one of those nights where he takes some surprisingly strong swings?
In the twilight years of his campaign, as his poll numbers began to sink, he often resorted to the latter attitude. In a December debate he dropped that “you can’t insult your way to the presidency,” bomb on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, with the tone of a fed up nerd who finally and heroically stands up to a class bully.
Meanwhile, the other nerds onstage, hoping to steal some of the bully’s voters, cautiously stood by as if the first-place dominance by a reality TV star and mail-order steak salesman was a normal part of a campaign race. Jeb decided to go after the “chaos candidate,” and it may have accelerated the unfortunate death of his campaign. But as Jeb’s family have always said, at least he tried.
Looking back on Jeb’s campaign, many other fond memories come to mind. How many other presidential candidates sold a $75 guacamole bowl, affectionately titled the “Guaca Bowle,” as campaign merchandise? Let us also never forget when Jeb, in the dying days of his campaign, tweeted that photo of his handgun with the caption “America.”
Perhaps the second most cherishable memory of the Jeb campaign’s time on this earth was a triumphant, epic speech that will be remembered alongside Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Having roused the crowd with his powerful words of wisdom, Jeb solidified his place in presidential campaign history by imploring his audience, “please clap.”
A visitation for friends and family of the dearly departed campaign will take place next Wednesday in Jeb’s basement. In lieu of flowers, Jeb requests sympathy donations in the form of guacamole bowls. Please cry.