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Jeb Bush campaign turns from tragedy to farce

Jeb Bush campaign turns from tragedy to farce

Spite towards Marco Rubio seems to be Team Jeb’s greatest motivation.

It has long been obvious that Jeb Bush doesn’t have what it takes in this presidential election cycle.

Part of it is beyond Jeb’s control – there is little appetite outside the donor class for another Bush at the head of the ticket.

More than that, Jeb’s reaction to Donald Trump’s comments about 9/11 having taken place on George W. Bush’s watch demonstrated how having Jeb as the nominee necessarily will result in a re-litigation of the Bush presidency. Intellectually that it possible, but as a practical political matter putting Bush on trial is a strategy that only Democrats can win.

I have compared Jeb’s political counter-punches to George Castanza in Seinfeld – always too little, too late, and said in a way that boomerangs.

And that’s what happened during the CNBC debate, in the most cringe-worthy moment so far:

After that, there was a nearly universal sigh of relief — that maybe Jeb and his donors would get the message that it’s not going to happen.

But apparently Team Jeb learned a different message — double down on attacks on Rubio. U.S. News Reports that Team Jeb is selectively “leaking” it’s oppo-research files on Rubio:

Even before Jeb Bush’s uninspiring debate performance Wednesday night, his sputtering presidential campaign was working to prevent defections.

Bush’s top lieutenants convened with donors in sopping wet Houston on Monday to calm their fears and retrench for the unforgiving haul ahead.

After the confab, Bush’s team distributed a 45-page PowerPoint presentation to select reporters, summarizing an optimistic view of the race, touting the Republican candidate’s cash and organization, and assuring supporters that early polls are rarely indicative of ultimate success.

But in that leak to select media, the campaign purposely left out more than half of what was furnished behind closed doors.

The full presentation, obtained exclusively by U.S. News, spans 112 pages and includes a trove of new details, including Bush’s internal polling, his vote goal in Iowa and his advertising plan for January.

Additionally, while the slides released to the media outlined Bush’s overarching argument against Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – that he’s the GOP’s Barack Obama – the complete offering contains more biting, detailed slights, pointedly questioning the character and ethics of Bush’s home state rival.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with oppo-research dumps. That’s why oppo-research is done. And if there is a damaging skeleton in Rubio’s closet, let’s find out now.

But in this case it smells vindictive and petty, a way to overcome Jeb’s downward spiral not by attacking the leaders in the polls — Trump and Carson — but by attacking Rubio out of spite.

Jeb was the mentor and Marco the mentee, but now the roles are reversed.

The desire to attack Rubio now is overwhelming the Jeb strategy, as the NY Times reports (h/t Hot Air):

But among Mr. Bush’s top aides and his super PAC, there is growing contempt for Mr. Rubio and a desire to attack him.

Danny Diaz, Mr. Bush’s hard-charging campaign manager, has told people he would like to accelerate the assault on Mr. Rubio. At a briefing earlier this month for congressional chiefs of staff whose bosses are backing Mr. Bush, Mr. Diaz bragged about the size of their opposition research file on the senator, and said they were prepared to begin a full-scale attack, according to a presidential campaign veteran who was briefed on the conversation and requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Mike Murphy, the longtime adviser to Mr. Bush who now controls the super PAC, has told people he would like to go after Mr. Rubio but does not want to do so immediately after the debate because it could reinforce a perception of desperation.

If you will allow me to quote Bernie Sanders’ favorite philosopher:

“History repeats … first as tragedy, then as farce”

Jeb’s campaign has been a tragedy.

It’s about to turn into farce.


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Jeb’s entire persona – from his posture, to his eyes and glasses, to his gestures, and, ultimately, his awkward words and weak delivery of inappropriate messages – spell loser.

The Bush legacy may be the least of his problems.

Timeago, Jeb!

Wait, that deserves another exclamation point (!)

Out of respect for the American people, BOTH Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton should drop from the race, but neither of them has an ounce of it.

    I disagree. Hillary should not drop out of the race. She should continue running even after being convicted of multiple felonies and sentenced to 20 years in prison. She should be interviewed from her prison cell, so the whole world can see her eagerly explaining that it’s all because Republicans don’t like strong women.

    But Jeb? Yeah. He should just give it up.

Interesting how Trump smelled that one out quickly. You could make an argument that he forced it out in the open.

I’d love to see more of Jeb tilting at Rubio. It would let more people see what a pissy little boy he’s turned out to be.

holdingmynose | October 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Jeb!’s campaign is reminiscent of Romney’s in the 2012 election. Attack fellow Republicans in the primaries and then phone-in the general election campaign.

    Yes, the GOP is revolting, if you mean ‘revolting’ as an adjective. If you meant it as an adverb, forget it: the GOP cannot be trusted, period. They are as against us as the democrats.

    But used as an adjective, yes, the GOP is revolting.

Jeb! appears as though he’d like the job if it were handed to him with minimal effort, but not so much if he actually has to fight for it. His sense of entitlement seems to be every bit as strong as Hillary’s. Managing the campaign of such a royal prince must be incredibly difficult with so little candidate to work with. He’s just a tough sell.

    cantor4massat4 in reply to Merlin. | October 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    He’s totally out of touch. And to top it off, didn’t he hire Eric Cantor for VA? If that’s true, he’s also delusional. He’s fighting a losing battle and hurting his reputation at the same time. If he takes Rubio down, he’ll be going along with him. Most people gave the Bushes credit for having class. George’s criticism of Cruz has demonstrated otherwise.

I think Bush knows he is on tbe way out and he will never be the nominee. He knows tbjs and he believes it t o be true. Bush also knows one other thing. He feels totally betrayed by Rubio who was never supposed to oppose Bush but out of respect for how Bush made Rubio in Florida wait his turn. So Bush is outraged at Rubio over his disloyalty and has decided that while he Bush can’t win the nomination he can do everything in his power to make sure Rubio doesn’t win it either.

I say just desserts. Let amnesty Bush take out amnesty Rubio and good riddance to both of them.

Sammy Finkelman | October 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm

I heard last night on the John Bachelor show that Hillary Clinton wants to run against Jeb Bush, but they thought maybe that could be a false leak, but I think it is true.

It’s the same situation the Democrats had with Romney in 2012, when I think the Democrats wanted Romney, and transmitted opposition research on Newt Gingrich to the Romney campaign (it was all the kind of thing Dems would use) even though Newt Gingrich might sound like a better person to run against

In both cases, the candidate wasn’t nimble, didn’t react, didn’t change anything, and didn’t even understand the arguments against him – and so, they could carefully prepare and use focus groups for lies and attacks against him. The candidate was not a moving target, and that’s the most important thing to the Clinton campaign.

There is still time for Bush to learn, if he can learn, how to deal with arguments. Bush was really bad in the debate. The attack he intended to use against Rubio was already used by the moderators, and Rubio demolished it, and Bush went ahead anyway with it! (and it was really a dishonest attack – I mean really, constituent service is going to be disrupted because Rubio is absent from Washington? A Senator either runs a good office or he doesn’t, and personal interventions would risk a danger of corruption. Personal intervention was what the Keating Five did.)

It is not Carly Fiorina who is Hillary’s worse nightmare – it’s Marco Rubio, or perhaps, Chris Christie.

Here we had an attack that has worked against other candidates in other races – being absent from votes – probably focus group tested – and it was norhing when it was used against Marco Rubio. At least when used against him by another candidate, as opposed to a third-party PAC ad, where maybe you could avoid the charge of hypocrisy.

It could have been answred even better, if Rubio had replied that being a member of the Senate is not that kind of a “job” where you need to show up every day. A Senator’s position on major votes is known and they get called back for votes if truly needed. Votes get rescheduled – the Majoroty and Minority leader’s know about what a Senator;s schedule is. They do not try to win that way, as long as they know a Senator could show up.

When a Senator is sick and not able to come most days, he still retains 85% or 90% of his influence – there have been Senators in the hospital and in rehabilitation and nobody complained – like Senators Mark Kirk and Harry Reid. If it looks like it will go on forever then maybe they retire at the end of their term, or maybe the end of the session, if it will not result in a member of the opposite party taking office.

As for missing committee meetings, a Senator inevitably has to do that because he or she is a member of a number of committees and they meet at the same time. So all this is already understood and adjusted for.

I’m disgusted by all the Bushes. None would come out and publicly criticize Obama’s horrible policies yet they have no problem criticizing fellow conservatives.

Sammy Finkelman | October 30, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Maybe we should study why Jeb Bush lost the 1994 election for Governor in Florida.

He shouldn’t have lost that race.

Trent Telenko | October 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm

How you spot a “Dead Candidate Walking” like Jeb Bush?

When his incompetent political consultants miss this deadly pop culture connection to their candidate’s political image…and the candidate does too.


“When somebody like Jeb Bush has lost somebody like Peggy Noonan, it’s over.”
—Steve Green

Which I’ve been saying for about two months, I think.

Henry Hawkins | October 30, 2015 at 3:48 pm

“Jeb was the mentor and Marco the mentee, but now the roles are reversed.”

And now they’re both mental?


One good thing learned from Jeb Bush’s failure is that having a mountain of money (like Hillary), 99.9% name recognition (like Hillary), and dynastic family connections (like Hillary), don’t necessarily translate into votes.

Trent Telenko | October 30, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Guys, the Bush campaign is running around with campaign signs with “Jeb Can Fix It” on them.

That is stealing a line from the 2012 cartoon movie WRECK IT RALPH. (

Jeb Bush is channeling the cartoon character ‘Fix it Felix’, who got a magic hammer from his Dad to fix things.

It says a lot about the (in)competence of a presidential campaign consultant to suggest that without knowing the pop culture reference.

It says a great deal more about the candidate that he missed the implications for how opposition research would use it to frame has candidacy, after Ann Richards did her “Poor George, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. line at the DNC to his father.”

Yeb! still thinks the RNC/GOPe will succeed in destroying Donald Trump and forcing their candidate down our throats so he is going to do every dirty thing it takes to stay in the race.

I told ya, when the Globalist, Donohue, Wall Street and the GOPe came up with their “master plan” they said “we need a stooge”. That is Jeb Bush’s only credential he was within ear shot of the “master planners” by virtue of family connections.

Mark Krikorian: “Is it better for Jeb to bow out gracefully now, or spend millions weakening Rubio so Cruz has a better shot at winning in the end?”

Ew, ew, I know…!!! ANY. THING. That helps Cruz is good!

JEB! is not popular here in Florida with rank and file GOP voters. One of the big issues that is now rearing its ugly head are the state FSA scores (Common Core) for public school students. They are not good. Parents are mad, students are doing poorly, teachers frustrated, superintendents are beside themselves and yet the Florida Dept of Education is NOT listening. With school age children spending over 100 days of testing you can see why. What is even crazier that these morons in Tallahassee pushed to have kindergarteners take end of course exams.

This is all on JEB! and his tinkering with the education system with the help of a compliant legislature has bitten his campaign in the butt.

Oh, and speaking of the Florida legislature, they are so disfunctional and disliked yet most Republican elected officials endorse JEB! there is no question why he is sliding in the polls.

Henry Hawkins | October 30, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Jeb’s problem is that he’s too severely conservative.

    Yes! I believe he’s to the right of Merkel. Solid conservative credentials if you ask me. Although he’s probably to the left regarding illegal immigration. Even she doesn’t call it an ‘act of love’.

The only thing going for Rubio is that he’s quick on his feet. Jeb! is not. His mind is as ponderously heavy as his face.

Jeb!, though, is right about Rubio. If Rubio were as quick to do the job that he was hired to (shades of Obama!) as he is to make excuses for not doing it, Jeb! would not be leveling the charge against him. If one of us tried doing to our employer what Rubio is doing to his, we’d be fired.

Henry Hawkins | October 30, 2015 at 8:35 pm

“The highest-ranking official known to lose her job in Jeb Bush’s flagging campaign is Christine Ciccone, the campaign’s chief operating officer.”

Unclear whether she was ‘laid off’ as part of the campaign’s budget reform (heh, heh) of last week, was fired given the campaign’s poor performance, or quit. Seems like a high office for a lay-off. Whatever the reason, it isn’t a good thing for a campaign to part ways with its COO.

Henry Hawkins | October 30, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Bush to donor group during teleconference call:

“I’m not a soundbite guy,” Bush told the group, referring to the debate. “I’m a substance guy.”

Oh, you’re a soundbite guy, alright – as the foil in Rubio soundbites, lol. Plus that icky “warm kiss” thing from the debate.

It’s a toss up who has degraded themselves more in the public square. The twerking, tongue flaunting Miley Cyrus or Jeb Bush.

As an aside, whenever I read about “Florida man” as in:

“Naked Florida man trashes McDonalds when his McNuggets disapoint”

“Florida man arrested for masturbating at public park”

“Florida man apprehended in Georgia in meth ring sting”

“Florida man convicted of lewd behavior with farm animals”

…I now automatically put Jeb Bush’s face on that anonymous “Florida man.”

Dunno why.

Captain Keogh | November 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm

The Bush mafia is pure political scum. They play filthy against fellow Republicans like they did to Bob Dole in 1988 and John McCain in 2000 (and are now doing to Marco Rubio in 2015) yet they bow down to the Clinton’s. I hate their guts and want to see them politically destroyed. Anyone who claims that Ronald Reagan was perfect ought to answer why he picked a snake as Vice President named George Herbert Walker Bush.