- - Sunday, March 30, 2014

What do you call a team that has managed to lose consistently for the last 26 years?

You would call them the Republican Establishment.

The last time the Republican Party won a crushing victory for the White House was in 1988, when many people believed that George H.W. Bush would be the third term of Ronald Reagan.

It wasn’t and Bill Clinton handily defeated Bush in ‘92. There hasn’t been a blowout since then. Since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Establishment has managed to nominate one moderate after another. George W. Bush ran in 2000. He was not able to get his vote total outside the margin of fraud, and but for a timely Supreme Court intervention, Al Gore was almost able to steal the election. Anyone with three functioning brain cells should have been able to crush John Kerry in 2004, but George Bush managed to almost lose that race.

Since then we’ve had John McCain and Mitt Romney. And let’s not forget that 18 years ago, the Republican Establishment anointed the “tax collector for the welfare state,” Bob Dole.

Now, the same group that has done so well in the last 30 years wants Jeb Bush to be the Republican nominee in 2016.

The political establishment media has been almost giddy with reports that big-name Republican insiders and financiers want to draft Bush to run in 2016.

Nominating Jeb Bush is about as bright as nominating John McCain or Mitt Romney. But then again, the people responsible for those decisions want Bush.

One result will be the same.

If Jeb Bush is nominated, he will lose. Conservatives will not vote for him. The Democrats could nominate Anthony Weiner, let him loose on Twitter again and Bush would still lose to Weiner.

But there may be a bigger problem for the Republicans if the Establishment is successful in nominating Jeb Bush.

Bush has more baggage than a sold-out Southwest flight. A lot of people remember his father and his brother and won’t vote for him just for that reason. A lot of people in America do not want a Bush dynasty in the White House just like they don’t want a Clinton dynasty.

If the Republican Establishment is successful in nominating Jeb Bush in 2016, it will be the political suicide of the Republican Party. This would be no ordinary suicide. It would be ritual Japanese harakiri, complete with massive blood-letting.

The Republican Party would die a short but agonizing death.

It almost came to that in 2008.

While conservatives were totally disgusted with John McCain, the only thing he did right was picking Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee. Palin saved at least some of the conservative vote and made conservatives believe there was a chance.

But when Mitt Romney won in 2012, conservative voters stayed home.

2016 will be a completely different story.

Among conservatives there is already talk of a third party. The problem third parties have had in the past is either they had no traction or they nominated unelectable candidates.

2016 could change that.

If the Republican Establishment nominates Jeb Bush, conservative voters will bolt. At best, conservatives will stay home, and the worst case scenario for the GOP is that there is an attractive conservative who is running as an independent or a third-party candidate.

The message for the Establishment is simple: Nominate Jeb Bush and conservatives kiss the GOP goodbye.

The last time the GOP ran a real conservative, Ronald Reagan won with two landslide victories and today is the most revered American president except for George Washington.

Today, no one longs for either of the Bush presidencies. Main Street Republicans don’t long for the leadership of Dole, McCain or Romney.

The Republican Establishment should pay attention to this.

Once upon a time, one of the two American political parties was called the Whig Party. No one has heard of a Whig since 1860. Nominate Jeb Bush and no one will hear of a Republican after 2016.

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