Jeb Bush and the Gentleman Politician Death Spiral (in a Single Photo)

The Rude Pundit loves that photo from this weekend in New Hampshire.  Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is holding South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as if it is a pieta for the death of an era as represented in the image of two late-middle-aged/elderly white men in an awkward embrace. This sublime moment comes as the nation is perhaps about to burn the Bush family's political hopes in the ground and salt the earth after. Then we can forget about Jeb and go back to pretending the Bush, Sr. was a decent president (he wasn't) and denying that George W. wrecked the nation's ass with his crazed gorilla fucking.

The picture up there shows an ending, one not coming fast enough, to the old power structure of a certain class of people who run for office, as if Graham and Bush are comforting each other as the glass explodes around them, the ballroom floods, and the motherfuckin' Titanic sinks one more time. "Oh, where are the gentleman of old?" that image wonders. "Whither have gone the grace notes in our foul symphony of politics?"

What you're really seeing in the screaming death yawp of the Jeb Bush campaign is the wrecking of a myth, that these men like G. Bush and Dole and McCain and even, yes, in 2000, W. Bush (the compassionate conservative, remember?) were paragons of moderation and judgment when, let's be honest, they were the same scumfuckers as the carnival barkers and mad dogs who are now tearing at J. Bush like alligators in the Everglades who snatch children who walk too close to the water.

The election for Bush was over the second that he let Donald Trump mount him and take him, like a lion on the grasslands. This was emphasized at the GOP debate this past weekend when Trump put a finger to his lips to shush Bush, and the son and brother of former terrible presidents shushed to let Trump speak. The audience booed, but the alpha dog had made his point.

Otherwise, the New Hampshire primary has become the latest sinkhole for the inevitable cratering of Bush. Sure, Graham was witty and charming campaigning for him. But by the time Bush was whining, "Please clap" to an audience after a lively-for-him rant about being decent and quiet and respectful as commander-in-chief, it was pretty much "Take Ol' Yeller out back" time for him.

Bush never got his "moment," that brief time in the sun when it looks as if the campaign is gonna go your way. Marco Rubio had it coming out of Iowa and then Chris Christie unhinged his jaw and devoured Rubio whole at the debate, which led to Christie's moment. Cruz, Fiorina, even Ben Carson had moments. Not Jeb. And he's angry about the whole fucking process, telling Politico about the eventual nominee, "I think of the surviving candidates, as you get closer to the point where it starts to matter a lot, I think there’s going to be a need to focus back to the point of rhetoric and how you say things. I think there’s going to be — there needs to be some discipline." Or, you know, sound more like him so he doesn't sound so dull.

By the way, this is the guy who kept a brain-dead woman alive for two years for his political gain. Let's never forget that from the supposedly sane candidate.

Meanwhile, Trump is gleefully pantsing Bush every chance he gets. It's almost ridiculous at this point, like the endgame of some long-held grudge. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida, which is where the infamous stopped recount happened in 2000, pretty much wrote Bush's political epitaph last week: "Bush is soft-spoken. He takes time to warm up when he speaks. And he is a gentleman."

The thing about gentlemen is that we know that, for many, it's a bullshit disguise that hides something ugly or perverse, like "Oh, he holds the door for the ladies but likes to beat his children and masturbate on his cat." Now, even though it's just as much a show as the "gentleman" persona, Republicans wants someone "real." As in "reality." Or, you know, "reality TV." The closest they've got is the actual reality TV star and the wannabe TV preacher. They will chew up and spit out the gentlemen all the time.

And, to be honest, because of the Terri Schiavo debacle and because of his support for all your basic, terrible conservative policies (even if he isn't a total cockknob about immigration), fuck Jeb and all the white, male gentlemen in their political graves.