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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The beginning of the end for Jeb?

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center.

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Presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center.

29

October

The morning after Jeb Bush's nearly disastrous debate performance , the once mighty frontrunner faces grim cultural comparisons:

Dead Man Walking...The Walking Dead...That the Bruce Willis character in the Sixth Sense who doesn't realize he's dead.

Voting doesn't start for three months, and it's worth remembering that at this point in the last election cycle Herman Cain was the frontrunner. Bush still has mountains of money to spend, and an actual record of accomplishment in government that none of the other leading contenders can touch.

But conventional wisdom is starting to set: Jeb Bush is toast, and that debate sealed the deal.

"Incompetent questioning yes, but this was the most important debate to date: it finished off the Bush campaign," David Frum, the former George W. Bush speechwriter, tweeted after Wednesday night's debate on CNBC, echoing a common sentiment.

"Amazingly, a Bush is running for the Republican presidential nomination and can’t even crack 10% in most polls. How does he improve that number significantly when Republicans are so familiar with him (and the mixed Bush family legacy) already?," summed up a Sabato's Crystal Ball analysis Thursday at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"The challenge is to answer this question: If both Carson and Trump are unlikely nominees and Bush is fading as opposed to growing, who is the real favorite in the GOP race? The answer is that, right now, is there isn’t one, but at the moment the person who seems to have the best positioning is Marco Rubio. He is broadly liked by the GOP, he can be an inspiring speaker and an effective debater, and he’s sufficiently conservative on most issues while still able to attract establishment support."

Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight.com enjoys debunking conventional wisdom, but today, on Bush, he agreed with it.

"Could Bush ride out the storm? Maybe. But his problem isn’t a mere lack of “momentum”; his candidacy has always been flawed. Instead of being the most electable conservative — the traditional profile of the Republican nominee — Bush has never looked all that electableor all that conservative," Silver wrote.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2015 10:48am]

    

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