Sunday Snippet: Jeb Bush

“By blaming others, we fail to find the real solutions to our problems and we do not carry out our own responsibilities.”

Born John Ellis Bush in 1953 to Barbara Bush and then-future U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Jeb Bush would go on to serve as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He had strong presidential aspirations of his own, but as of yesterday, Bush has dropped out of the Republican race. His run to the White House is over and, if he follows his own advice above, Jeb’s not going to blame anyone but himself. Exclamation point and all.

What’s important here is not the stance that Jeb Bush might take on immigration, abortion or foreign policy. While you may not agree with his politics or those of former presidential hopeful John McCain or the politics of anyone else currently vying for the Republican nomination, you can learn a great deal from what they have to say and the experiences that they have had.

Particularly fascinating in this context is how quickly your outlook (and public opinion) can change. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin wrote this just last March:

“He is arguably the most knowledgeable candidate on the widest array of issues and cannot credibly be typecast as a dim-witted Republican. Being able to discuss many issues intelligently suggests that he would have less of a learning curve if elected and could stand toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton.”

Early on in this campaign, many pundits had assumed that a Clinton vs. Bush “rematch” was inevitable. Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992 and now his wife Hillary Clinton was going to face George’s son Jeb in 2016. It was a foregone conclusion.

Hillary’s future in the White House is hardly secured, with growing support for Bernie Sanders among members of the Democratic Party, but now it’s obvious there won’t be a Bush on the Republican ticket… unless Jeb gets tapped as a running mate. While I am in no position to explain exactly what went wrong for Jeb! and his team, we can explore four big lessons we can all take to heart based on his journey.

  1. You can’t rely on your family name alone: This could have been the legitimate start to quite the political dynasty, if one doesn’t exist already. The Bush name is strong within the Republican party, but it wasn’t enough for Jeb.
  2. You are not defined by your family: It is abundantly clear that Jeb Bush is very different from his brother George W. Bush, particularly in personality. Your family is important, to be sure, but you can be and should be your own person.
  3. Money doesn’t buy success: Jeb’s campaign was very well-funded right from the start. Despite having plenty of cash in its coffers, his campaign ultimately failed. You can’t just throw money at the problem and assume everything will be peachy.
  4. Curve balls can screw you: No one could have predicted the meteoric rise of Donald Trump. No one saw it coming and many people dismissed Trump’s efforts as a publicity stunt. Jeb certainly wasn’t ready for it and he’s paid the price accordingly.

Don’t take anything for granted. And when things do turn sideways, as they inevitably do, don’t point your finger at other people. Take ownership of the situation, whether it’s your “fault” or not, and work towards finding a real solution. Even if it means stepping aside and possibly coming back to fight another day four years from now.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)