Jeb Bush's Disastrous Joke About Washington & Iowa Totally Fell Flat At The Republican Debate
In a totally failed moment of humor at the fourth GOP debate Tuesday night, Jeb Bush's Washington-Iowa joke had nearly every viewer shaking their head. The former Florida governor was attempting to compare Washington, Iowa, and Washington, D.C., but his stuttering delivery caused the audience to laugh at him rather, than at the joke.
I was in Washington, Iowa about three months ago, talking about how bad Washington, D.C. is. It was — get the — kind of the — anyway. We had — it — and I talked to a banker there.
The verbal train wreck is nearly as hard to read as it was to watch. Bush disastrously dropped the punchline of his own joke, trailing off into the human version of the "see what I did there" meme (which will undoubtedly hit the Internet in mere moments). Coming right off the #JebCanFixIt catastrophe, and the even more recent Baby Hitler debacle, this latest meme could plague Bush in the post-debate media frenzy.
The joke was supposedly an introductory anecdote to a condemnation of Dodd-Frank, a 2010 banking reform bill passed in response to the collapse of big banks during the recession. The legislation received a lot of attention during this debate — nearly all of it criticism of the financial regulatory laws that the bill created. And though Bush tried to include his own thoughts about the state of financial regulation in America, his point was thoroughly obscured by the audience straight-up laughing at him.
Bush was attempting to parallel the small-town concerns of the average American with the financial bureaucracy of the federal government, but his entire point was lost in the ridiculousness of the bombed joke. The funniest part of his sad attempt at humor was how sure he was that the audience would think it was funny. Trailing off or collecting your thoughts is understandable, especially in a stressful situation like a live televised debate, but Bush was clearly waiting for a response from the audience, which never came.
Bush's under-performance at the debate was noted by various media outlets, and his failure at humor is certainly one of the reasons he didn't seem like a real candidate. Bush's polling numbers barely qualified him for the prime-time stage, and this bumbling loss could make the difference between the main debate and the undercard one the next time.