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The American Singularity – Week 49: Jeb Bush Exits the Stage

Saturday, February 20, 2016

By Reed Galen

Quote by a Smart Person: “My hatred is a thousand times more powerful than your good intentions.” Jim Goad

Welcome to the American Singularity.

In 1997 I went to work as an intern for then-Governor George W. Bush as a college senior in Austin. That little internship led me on literally the adventure of a lifetime – two winning presidential campaigns, a stint at the White House, and more friends and memories than I can count. For the Bush family, politics is a way of life – and when Jeb Bush decided to run this year he did so as worthy successor to his father and brother for the Presidency.

I came to South Carolina this week because I wanted to see at least one early state primary up close. I was here in 2000 when President Bush beat Senator John McCain on his way to the Republican nomination and ultimately the White House.

I came here to Columbia, specifically to Jeb Bush’s event this evening because I knew there was a good chance it would be a tough night. But I wanted to be here to see him and listen to him speak. To see so many friends who’ve worked their hearts out for the past year and will go home tonight bereft and exhausted.

Earlier this evening I saw a young woman on Jeb’s staff. Her face told me all I need to know. It was the realization by a young true-believer that a dream, at least this dream, was not meant to be. Campaigns are families and when they end, that dynamic is suddenly and immediately broken. You’ve made friends you’ll keep for life and you will get over this loss. But for this night and for the next few weeks, as they pack up their desks and pay final bills, the hurt and emptiness inside is damn near unbearable.

No one can accuse Jeb Bush of not giving his all. He ran the campaign he said he would: based on the beliefs and principles he holds dear. Unfortunately for him, the country and lastly his party, he is a man out of time. The country, so unsettled by years of war, economic upheaval and an unending sense of instability, that a candidate with an impressive resume and the bearing for the Presidency was judged by voters as not worthy of the office. We may well come to regret that.

For Governor and Mrs. Bush, all my friends who worked for or helped him as volunteers, and for those dozens of staff I don’t know, please try to take solace in knowing you ran the best race you could given the upside down and backward circumstances that we’ve found in 2016. Those words will be cold comfort; they’re all I have to offer.

Jeb Bush’s departure from the race deprives the GOP of yet another candidate who might have been able to unite left, right and center and bring some sense of reality to the race. We can only hope that one of our dwindling options finds the momentum and fire to try and bring us back to somewhere near sanity.



AuthorReed Galen