The man Jon Stewart called “the comb-over King” is giving Jeb Bush a bunch of bad hair days.
This was the guy who was supposed to be the optimistic candidate, who campaigns with “joy in my heart”. But Bush 3 been thrown horribly off his game by the great usurper, Donald Trump.
“Mr. Bush does not seem to be radiating much joy these days,” reports Jonathan Martin on today’s front page of The New York Times. “Mr. Trump, the surprise leader in the polls, had turned his summer into a miserable one for Mr. Bush.”
The taunts, provocations, broadsides and personal ridicule from The Donald have clearly thrown Jeb off his game. And his poll numbers have sunk to single digits.
“Trump is trying to insult his way into the Presidency,” said the somewhat glum candidate today on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Meanwhile, Trump is having a ball at the expense of others. Instead of dry and detailed policy statements, Trump plays on his celebrity with a mixture of bluster and outrage.
Bush needs to use a little humor to deflate Trump. And he must at least look like he’s having fun out on the trail.
Answering Trump’s barbs point-by-point on Good Morning America may be the right way to respond to Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, or Scott Walker. But not to a guy who operates outside the normal theater of politics.
“Bush’s YouTube response to one of Trump’s attacks was good — for 2008,” writes Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post. But sending a Twitter link to a 70-second video is not enough. Instead, Bush needs expand his use of social media and make brief Instagram slaps at Trump.
“Going forward, watch for other campaigns to use the popular social media site to draw distinctions between themselves and others in the race. If you can’t say it, explain it or show it in 15 seconds, you’re not doing it right,” says Capehart.
And Jeb Bush also needs to do more radio and podcasts: Quick interviews from his campaign bus interviews with liberal as well as conservative hosts.
Act like you have nothing to lose, Jeb. After all, right now you are only one of 17 Republican candidates.