Jeb Bush's New Debate Ad Talks Tough, But It Isn't Enough To Turn His Campaign Around
The sixth Republican debate of the 2016 came to a close Thursday night, and shortly after it did, Jeb! Bush’s campaign unveiled a new ad touting his performance in said debate. The spot is essentially a greatest hits reel of Jeb’s comments from the sixth debate, with a couple of kind words by talking heads thrown in for good measure. But alas, Jeb Bush’s debate ad won't do him any good in the campaign, and it certainly won’t put him into major contention for the GOP presidential nomination.
Let’s give credit where it’s due: Jeb’s ad team did a great job putting together and releasing this ad very, very quickly. It appeared on the official Jeb Bush Twitter account around two hours after the end of the debate, and even incorporated some footage of post-debate analysis by conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. If nothing else, Team Bush is certainly efficient with its time.
It begins with a clip of Krauthammer remarking that Bush had “his best night,” which isn’t necessarily that much of a compliment. It then moves onto some of Bush’s more high-energy moments from the debate, including his remark that Hillary Clinton “might be going back and forth between the White House and the courthouse” if she gets elected to the presidency. Zing!
From there, though, the ad loses steam. Much of it focuses on the idea that Bush, in Krauthammer’s words, “had the courage to take on Trump on the Muslim immigration issue in a direct way.” But that didn’t really happen at the debate. Yes, Bush denounced Trump’s hideous proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. He did not, however, “take on Trump” himself, or do so “in a direct way.” The closest Bush came to directly criticizing Trump was when he turned to The Donald and said, “I hope you’ll reconsider this.” That’s not exactly coming out swinging.
Not that the ad’s deficiencies really matter. Bush's trouble isn't that he hasn't been able to make effective ads, nor is it a simple "image" problem. No, his shortcomings extend far deeper than that and into the core of who he is as a candidate. In short, Bush is simply incapable of exciting people, the exclamation point after his name notwithstanding. That's becoming more and more painfully obvious by the day, and while he'll probably stay in the race for bit longer, he has no real reason to. He's now sitting at less than 5 percent in the polls, and no ad is going to change that.