Anyone who followed Jeb Bush's three campaigns for Florida governor had to snicker a bit each time Bush has said he will only run for president if he can do it "joyfully."
Today, the New York Times discovered the less than startling fact that Bush will "joyfully" hurl a fastball straight to the noggin of anyone who dares to get in his way.
From the Times story:
Mr. Bush has vowed to run a “joyful” presidential campaign free from the seamier sides of party politics, projecting the air of a cerebral man almost effortlessly drawing together Republicans eager to help him seek the White House. But behind the scenes, he and his aides have pursued the nation’s top campaign donors, political operatives and policy experts with a relentlessness and, in the eyes of rivals, ruthlessness that can seem discordant with his upbeat tone.
Their message, according to dozens of interviews, is blunt: They want the top talent now, they have no interest in sharing it, and they will remember those signed on early — and, implicitly, those who did not. The aim is not just to position Mr. Bush as a formidable front-runner for the Republican nomination but also to rapidly lock up the highest-caliber figures in the Republican Party and elbow out rivals by making it all but impossible for them to assemble a high-octane campaign team.
Where shall we begin.
How about 1994, 1998, and 2002. In each of those elections, Bush attempted to corner the market. It was much more difficult in his first bid for governor because Florida's senior politicos had their own organizations, their own sense of entitlement, and little desire to step aside for an upstart new-comer to the Sunshine State even if his last name was Bush.
Bush stunned them by nearly winning the primary outright. His closest rival, Secretary of State Jim Smith, reluctantly quit the race under pressure from Bush and GOP insiders who wanted to avoid a run-off battle. Smith quit and Bush lost in the general to incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles, a Democrat.
In 1998, Bush's team cleared the decks for him locking up the nomination in the same way they are trying to knock off rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Once Bush became governor, he and his team did not tolerate opposition to his ideas, his programs, or his strong-handed method of governing.
You are either in the Bush world or out of it. If you fall from grace, it is nearly impossible to get back in.
The Times story is worth reading - especially for those unfamiliar with Jeb Bush's world and his idea of campaigning joyfully.