Just days before the big Republican presidential primary debate, the Jeb! camp has devolved into open warfare. One faction wants Jeb! to aggressively attack Donald Trump’s racism, bigotry and outright lunacy. The other faction fears such a move would repel the very important Tea Party base any Republican candidate will need to win the nomination.
“If he comes across as too reasonable,” offered campaign manager, Danny Diaz, “he will turn off the angry, hate-filled, low-information base of the Party. On the other hand, if he tries to out crazy Trump or just lets his nonsense go unchallenged, Jeb! will turn off the moderates I believe we will need to win the general election.”
“Right now,” said Diaz, “our strategy is for Jeb! to simply play it by ear; attack when it seems prudent and let certain things slide when the situation calls for deference. Sort of a political rope-a-dope. There will be other candidates, you know, second-tier, who will surely attack Trump just to stir up some press.”
While Diaz’ thinking may be sound, it fails to take into account one important factor. Jeb! is not good thinking on his feet. When earlier this year Megyn Kelly of Fox News asked Jeb! the predictable question of whether, knowing what we know now, Jeb! would have invaded Iraq in 2003, he incredibly answered “of course, without a doubt!”
After Republican media mercilessly attacked Jeb! for his answer, conservative strategist, Ana Navarro, tried to undo the damage by incredibly claiming Jeb! “misheard the question!”
If Jeb! can’t handle a softball question such as Megyn Kelly’s, how will he have the judgment to know when to attack, or agree with, Trump?
In the game of golf, you are considered a bad player if you miss “tap in” putts (really, really short putts.) In politics you are considered a bad politician if you can’t handle a virtual “tap in” question.