Donald Trump thumped Jeb Bush the other day with an Instagram ad that has received a lot of attention, and a lot of free TV air time.

It was Willie Horton Part 2:

It was, of course, “unfair” in the sense that Bush’s comment about Act of Love related to illegal immigration in general, not those crimes.

But it was brilliant political theater.

Trump has been relentless in going after, prodding, and yes, emasculating the person who he viewed as his lead competition. Allahpundit describes the approach:

Come to think of it, it was another NRO writer, Kevin Williamson, who had one of the best descriptions I’ve read of Trumpmania, writing of his fans that “you will hear purportedly heterosexual men working up freestyle paeans to Trump’s alleged virility — those ‘pussies in Washington’ aren’t ready for ‘a real man like Trump,’ as one put it — and cataloguing his praises in exuberant gonadal terms, with special attention paid to calculating the heaviness of the Trumpian scrotum relative to the equipment being packed by, e.g., Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio.” Trump is the alpha, in other words, and Jeb’s the beta, and while a lot goes into that — wealth, lifestyle, which part of the party each purports to represent — the biggest chunk of it comes from Trump jabbing day after day at Jeb with no response until recently.

So now Jeb is punching back. But it’s a punch that to me is fighting the last war — the last election cycle where pointing out that someone is not a “true conservative” and had not been consistent mattered.

I don’t know that it matters when it comes to Trump’s supporters. Whatever he was then, they want what he says he is now.

Jeb is fighting the last war, and some other election cycle.

In the meantime, Jeb has dropped to single digits and is nearing the bottom of the Top 10 pack in Iowa, and the middle of the pack nationally. He has to figure out how to raise his own standing.