While the Jeb Bush campaign operation is effective, it is hard to believe that it can portray him as a political outsider.
Obviously, many voters in this campaign want someone who is (or who seems to be) an “outsider” to Washington, DC, and professional politics.
Can Jeb Bush campaign in such a way as to actually attract such voters?
Politico has reported on such efforts under the headline, “Jeb Bush’s Identity Crisis.”
Jeb Bush is desperate to win over Republicans who reward authenticity. But he’s struggling to figure out which voice to use.
Stuck behind three candidates who have never before held elected office, the establishment-backed Bush is suddenly selling himself in Iowa as a “disruptor” and promising to “disrupt the status quo in Washington,” never mind his presidential pedigree.
At a town hall inside a coffee shop here Wednesday, he used a variation of that word eight times in the first eight minutes. And as he fights to break through the noise of a crowded GOP field, Bush is increasingly refining his stump speech by borrowing the slogans and sales pitches of his Republican rivals – Donald Trump included.
Before a crowd of 500 Republicans at the Scott County GOP Reagan Dinner this week, Bush closed his speech with a promise that echoes the slogan his chief rival wears on his hat, to “restore America’s greatness again.” And during remarks Wednesday morning in another coffee shop in Muscatine, Bush, as an aside, offered the crowd a simple takeaway: “I want you to leave with a common theme—you’ve got talkers and you’ve got doers.” The talker/doer construct, of course, was one of Scott Walker’s standard stump lines until he quit the race last month.
So indistinguishable is Bush from his many rivals now that one Iowa-based reporter asked the former Florida governor about his promise to “defeat the Washington machine.” “No, that was Rand Paul,” Bush quickly corrected.
In my opinion, Jeb’s older brother has already used up this trick. George W. Bush won over conservatives and was considered one because he was a Republican governor of Texas. But now that we had eight years of George W. Bush, climaxing in an attempt at stimulus to re-start the economy, and a massive bank bailout, no one is going to ever believe that a Bush can be a political outsider again.