Saturday, April 18, 2015

Too bad for Jeb Bush New Hampshire does not equal America

By Richard K. Barry

Cranky like my mama

If the whole country was like New Hampshire, Jeb Bush would be the Republican presidential nominee in a walk.

For Jeb Bush, New Hampshire serves as a linchpin of his strategy. Sandwiched between contests in Iowa and South Carolina that draw large numbers of evangelical voters, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary has served as a firewall of sorts for mainstream, center-right candidates such as Bush. The last two Republican nominees — Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 — both came in first place here after losing the Iowa caucuses to more socially conservative rivals.

"The more mainstream, sort of center of the party shows up in big numbers here," said New Hampshire's Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey. "It's more favorable to candidates like Gov. Bush" and other centrist choices in the wide GOP field.

Too bad for Jeb the rest of the country isn't like New Hampshire, at least not enough if it.

It shouldn't be very hard to remind the more conservative Republican voters of what Jeb Bush said in June of 2012, which was that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have a “hard time” fitting in during this Tea Party era.

One can argue that the Tea Party is not as influential now as in 2012, but they cannot be easily ignored. As the New York Times wrote about Jeb's comments at the time, and which still ring true, they exhibit "a growing distance between the [Bush] family, which until not very long ago embodied mainstream Republicanism, and the no-compromise conservative activists now driving the party."

Maybe Jeb can pull it off. Maybe he can find a way to talk to the more Conservative party activists who can be convinced that what they really need is a relative moderate who can beat Hillary Clinton.

I haven't noticed that much pragmatism from these people yet, nor have I noticed Jeb's ability to pander to them in quite the same way someone like Mitt Romney did.


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