If you were on the Twitter this weekend you may be forgiven for believing that Jeb Bush is dead and Joe Paterno endorsed Mitt Romney, because hurrah for journalism!
In fact, Paterno is no longer with us, but like a nasty case of herpes, the Bush family refuses to leave the body politic…
Jeb Bush, the popular former Florida governor, said he will "stay neutral" in the state's Republican presidential primary while warning his party's candidates to leave the "circular firing squad" of their debates behind and start appealing to a broader audience.
The announcement of Bush's non-endorsement comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering George H.W. Bush's "unofficial" support for Romney and Jeb's membership, alongside Mitt, in the relatively moderate/cravenly opportunistic wing of the Republican Party. The news is especially salient because Florida's winner-take-all primary, which takes place January 31st, has taken on special import for Romney after Republicans, who I'm told are not supposed to support assisted-suicide, handed Newt Gingrich a victory in South Carolina.
But perhaps the correct lens through which to analyze Bush's neutrality isn't the turbulence of Romney's campaign, or the desire by some Republicans to commit seppuku, but as part of the coming of Jebmentum. Consider…
* Jeb already has the coveted Laura and George W. Bush endorsement.
* The former governor's favorability ratings in Florida are over 50%.
* Most importantly, not since 1984 have Republicans won the White House without a Bush leading the party and as of Election Day 2012 it will have been 40 years since the Republican Party has won a presidential election without a Bush on the ticket as either the presidential or vice-presidential nominee.
So while you may ask yourself, "if the G.W. Bush years are remembered mainly for dimwitted leadership that brought us war, economic disaster, international ridicule and unfathomable debt, can the Republicans really win with another Bush on the ballot," the better question is, "can they win without one?"
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Florida, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Primaries, Republicans