By now, everybody should be familiar with JournoList, a social media group of leading left-wing journalists who effectively conspired to control the narrative of news; they had over 400 members (founder Ezra Klien claimed the actual number was almost twice that), and when the group’s messages were exposed, boy, was there a lot to clean up.
Various social media groups like this still exist, although obviously the members are smarter about getting exposed. That certain news stories are exposed, repressed, dismissed, ignored, or intentionally misreported according to predictable templates is evident.
A recent example of this is the meteoric mediocrity of Jeb Bush.
Who wants this guy president? Not the GOP voters, who have an interesting and varied selection of potential candidates ranging the Christ Christie to Ted Cruz spectrum. Heck, not even the GOP Establishment, who are considering re-running Mitt Romney ever since clipboard poll numbers show he would easily beat Barack Obama if the 2012 election could be held today. In case you missed it, the 2012 election was actually held two years ago, and Mitt Romney didn’t beat him, Karl Rove whining on live television to the contrary.
So why the flurry of media attention on Jeb Bush? For one practical reason, he’s one of the very few candidates who is making clear signs of running. In fact, his entire playbook is from the old school GOP playbook: resign your positions, write books and articles about economic and foreign policy decisions, line up backers, announce your candidacy nice and early, and sit back while the liberal democrats destroy you in popular media.
The GOP candidates most likely to run aren’t doing this anymore. Under strong encouragement from Reince Priebus, who seems to have bothered watching the trends for lessons, potential candidates are working very quietly. Diversions are popular: candidates who have no chance are making vague comments and signals about running, drawing fire and criticism from liberal media who have no idea what’s going on anymore with these Republicans.
And there’s more to come: when candidates do declare, they will participate in very few debates; those that do will ensure the moderators are pre-approved in friendy venues. No more Candi Crowley corrections (“Governor Romney, I’m sorry, but that’s not our current narrative right now.”). No more lengthy opportunities for new publications to paste out-take photos of Michele Bachmann on magazine covers, showing her seemingly dazed and bewildered by simple questions. No more opportunities for outlets to quote Tina Fey as a first-hand source for Sarah Palin.
Now, if you were the media and you were writing the script for what you want to happen, what would that be?
For starters, you want Senator Warren to be your candidate. She’s so awesome: a hard-core leftist, anti-business, extremist who never met a dumbass academic theory she didn’t like. She’s like Obama, but better, because she’s not as stuck up.
Certainly not Hillary Clinton. As Mandarin said yesterday, what’s going to happen to her when the media decide she’s a threat to Warren? Odds are good, he theorized, we might finally find out what happened with Whitewater. After all, she resents the way the media treated her in 2008, and resents the way they treated her husband in his second term (remember, when he decided to capitulate to Republicans, and suddenly he was a shitty president who molested an intern?). Clinton loathes the media; she is not for them. They are certainly not for her.
All right, but here’s the problem: Senator Warren is a very weak presidential candidate. Voters see her as the same as Obama, but whereas has legitimately black ancestry, Warren is a stone-cold liar who continues to insist she’s got an American Indian fingernail despite all evidence to the contrary. Why on earth would America vote for her?
Well, you know, they might if the alternative is Jeb Bush. He’s the weakest of the candidates most likely to run: Rubio and Walker are popular, Christie is a bulldozer when he wants to be, and Americans are starting to grok Cruz and Paul. Romney is insistent he’s through. So yeah—Jeb Bush is the guy who runs the hobby shop on the corner: nice enough and all, but not the guy you want making tough decisions.
All right, so if it’s Jeb Bush, so be it. Now: how do you get him to run? Because, let’s not forget, he hasn’t said he’s running. That’s easy: the media will draft him. They will exaggerate or over-report every story about his candidacy. Editorials: is Jeb Bush inevitable? Why Jeb Bush could be the next president! Say…what’s Jeb Bush up to, anyway? Eventually, like Mitt Romney, he might actually believe in his own legitimacy. Heck, he could do it!
Next, run Bush against a whole bunch of imaginary monsters. This is called hero building, and the media are already doing it. Of course, these are called “straw polls,” and they are solely used for this. Did you know Jeb Bush came up first in a recent straw polls against all other potential Republican candidates? Of course you did: the media have been chanting it.
By the way, who were the other candidates? No one has declared. Well, in the absence of actual candidates, the media picked them for you. Chris Christie. Ben Carson. Rand Paul. Mike Huckabee. See anything odd about these guys? That’s right: none of these guys are who Republican voters are really talking about.
Sure, they’re talking about Christie and Paul, but Christie is not likely to go far because he’s viewed as off-putting outside the mid-Atlantic. Rand Paul is great and all, but he’s running what the Czar believes is a very flawed campaign with erratic results. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee? Seriously? The media should have run Jeb Bush against Robin Hood, Miss Piggy, Ed Grimley, R2-D2, and the Muffin Man.
But this won’t matter. Already you are seeing headlines like “Jeb Bush Dominates Straw Poll!” Want to know why? Because this worked to get Mitt Romney—who was way behind in 2011—to the top of the pile. The guy who practically started the idea of Obamacare. You don’t get more flawed than that.*
Americans don’t like to vote for likely losers. If a flawed candidate is leading the polls by a large margin over a better candidate, most voters will choose the guy in the lead.
The media is urgently drafting Jeb Bush because he is the Mitt (“Obamacare”) Romney for immigration reform. The media has done enough research to know that, of all possible GOP presidential candidates in 2016, Jeb Bush supplies the most material to destroy him in the popular media.
And by doing so, independents will likely drift towards voting for Senator Warren. After all, they’re hearing nothing bad about her in the news, as social media groups agree not to talk about her crazy economic theories based on a professor she met in 1976, or her ridiculous claims of ancestry, or her embarrassing business relationships.
If you want to get Elizabeth Warran elected in 2016, you do whatever you can to promote the idea that Jeb Bush is leading the GOP.
*Well, Donald Trump, obviously. But for a long time, the media was pushing him as well.