Since his announcement in December that he would actively explore a bid for the White House in 2016, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has faced a torrent of criticism from influential talk show hosts who brand him a "Republican in Name Only" and out of step with the party base, The Washington Post reported.
Conservative radio show hosts such as Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh have been critical of Bush, and their opinions have sway over many GOP primary voters.
"There is no doubt that talk radio will have an influence on primaries as they roll through the calendar," GOP strategist Bill Cortese told the Post. "Everyone is trying to be a kingmaker."
Both Ingraham and Limbaugh have already been outspoken.
"Jeb is gonna go out there going, 'Well, I'm not exactly like my brother but it's hard for me to figure out what I disagree with him on,'" Ingraham told her listeners Friday morning, referring to his older brother, former President George W. Bush, according to the Post.
"I just don't see how this is going to work. It's not going to work. I know all these people out there are like, 'Laura you've gotta be a team player.' You know what I'm a player for? The American people and our future."
Limbaugh has also delivered withering criticism.
"[W]hen you compare their positions, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, on the key important issues, they are two peas in the same pod," Rush Limbaugh said on his show shortly after Bush began laying the groundwork for a campaign, according to the Post.
"He doesn't want to have to sell his soul for the tea party vote. What that means is, he doesn't want to have to pretend to be a conservative at any time during the primary to get the tea party or conservative vote."
The Post said that it is not uncommon for an establishment candidate to be the brunt of criticism by conservatives, but the amount of negative attention Bush has received on talk radio so early in the race still has been notable.
The two issues that concern the right most about Bush are his position on immigration reform and on the Common Core education standards.
"Every talk radio host in the country has either immigration or Common Core as the issue that fires them up," GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak told the Post. "He is the national voice for both."
Radio host Mark Levin has gone so far as to call Bush a "good moderate Democrat," the Post said.
"For more than a decade he hasn't lifted a finger to help a single conservative or, for that matter, many Republican candidates," Levin said on his show recently, according to the Post. "But he's decided he wants to be president now. The American people don't want Jeb Bush as president. The vast majority of Republicans don't want Jeb Bush as their nominee."
Bush has not commented on his relationship with conservative radio hosts.
"You see, Jeb doesn't believe talk radio is adult conversation," Ingraham said on her show last week, according to the Post. "That's the truth. The Bushes didn't like coming on talk radio. We were the ugly stepchildren of the media.
"He would much prefer going on MSNBC or getting favorable coverage in the DailyBeast.com. That's where they feel most comfortable."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.