I entered the Jeb Bush rally on Monday afternoon both excited to see the candidate that I have supported and volunteered for, and apprehensive that he would disappoint. Jeb has failed to gain traction for much of the race. Among rabble-rousing candidates who drown him out and attract voters with cries of our country’s demise, Jeb’s levelheaded rhetoric and wonky presentation of policy has been lost among Iowa voters. As a Cruz supporter told me, “He isn’t angry enough” to support.
Any doubts of my own support were whisked away by Jeb’s unifying and intelligent town hall. Of course, I am biased, but Jeb managed to maintain his positive rhetoric in his final push with Iowa voters. After telling voters that President Obama would gain by understanding how to “know what you don’t know,” he explained what he called his “servant’s heart.” He told a touching story about his encounter with a handicapped child who doubted a conservative governor would be sympathetic enough to help the less-fortunate; this child became his “teacher” on the subject, and with her help he reformed the state’s health care system for the handicapped.
Jeb then defended his steadfast beliefs, contrasting himself with his opponents: “God forbid they actually propose something that is unpopular.” Jeb seemed to write his current difficulties up to his commitments to certain ideas and values. As someone who has witnessed a former Democrat corral voters with tough talk on immigration, two Senators who seem unable to offer their position on immigration, and a moderate Governor who donated to Planned Parenthood list the organization as his primary target in reducing the size of government, I was very sympathetic to this argument. This town hall was further proof that Jeb has not turned to pandering.
Jeb finished with a truly inspirational segment laying out his vision for America. It didn’t regurgitate Reagan’s shining city on the hill like Ted Cruz’s stump speech, nor did it imply American greatness has waned like the hats worn by Donald Trump supporters. Instead, Jeb celebrated each and every American, and predicted their success under a government that helps not hinders.
330 million people pursuing their unique dreams in their own way will create more prosperity, more benefits, more discoveries, more creatively, more compassion, more love than any government program ever created.
Jeb earned my support because he tackled issues that Republicans are scared to touch and reached out to demographics that Republicans often ignore. Jeb addresses poverty, education, immigration, and many other issues in an informed, intelligent, and respectful way, while others are too scared to discuss the issue openly or truthfully. He may not excel in debates while flanked by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Saturday Night Live may portray him as Trump’s punching bag, and he may not receive much of the vote here in Iowa, but he sent me into Caucus Night inspired and reassured of my support.