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Jeb Bush Tag

Jeb's campaign has, by almost all accounts, been a disappointment to donors, to GOP primary voters, to Jeb's campaign team, and to pretty much everyone who cared in the first place. Despite this, he continues to talk as if he is the front runner he never really was and hope that at some point others will believe it, too.  Part of this strategy appears to be relying on the questionable claim that this election cycle mirrors that of 2012. According to the Herald-Tribune, Jeb claims that the current front runners will fall . . . just as Herman Cain did in the 2012 cycle.  They report:
Jeb Bush cited the rise and fall of 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain as he sought to reassure supporters at a Longboat Key fundraiser Monday that their faith in him is well placed. By noting that Cain led in the polls at this point in 2012 only to flame out, Bush implied that current GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson could follow the same path.

Will the battle between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz come down to the support of their colleagues in Congress? Those colleagues hope so. An article out today in Politico details how the rise of Ted Cruz in the polls (especially in Iowa) has prompted some prominent members of Congress to start leaning toward Marco Rubio as the preferred candidate of cross-spectrum Republicans. This lean in itself could be construed as a momentary win for Cruz, whose supporters couldn't care less what Mitch McConnell has to say about much of anything these days, but it could spell trouble in the long run for the firebrand candidate. The hesitance (and in some cases, outright refusal) to support Ted Cruz springs from a long history of various floor fights and back hall disputes over policies. Now, congressional Republicans are coming out in force against the possibility of a Cruz nomination, not because they agree with him on principle, but because they see Marco Rubio as the candidate who can win over new supporters in numbers that will place the GOP back in the White House. From Politico:
Mainstream elected Republicans now see Cruz as a bigger threat than Donald Trump or Ben Carson to clinch the nomination — but equally damaging to their party’s chances of winning the White House and keeping the Senate next fall. Rubio would be a much stronger general election standard bearer, they believe.

Apparently, the games began early. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that serious backers of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush are "seething" thanks to Senator Rubio's ascension in the polls. So incensed is the Jeb fan club, that they've threatened to dump mega bucks into a scorched earth anti-Rubio campaign.
That group, which has raised more than $100 million, has asked voters in New Hampshire how they feel about Mr. Rubio’s skipping important votes in the Senate. And the group’s chief strategist has boasted of his willingness to spend as much as $20 million to damage Mr. Rubio’s reputation and halt his sudden ascent in the polls, according to three people told of the claim. Seething with anger and alarmed over Mr. Rubio’s rise, aides to Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, and his allies are privately threatening a wave of scathing attacks on his former protégé in the coming weeks, in a sign of just how anxious they have become about the state of Mr. Bush’s candidacy. Their looming problem: In trying to undercut Mr. Rubio as unaccomplished and unprepared, Mr. Bush is a flawed messenger. Over the years he has repeatedly, and sometimes lavishly, praised the younger lawmaker, often on camera.

Jeb Bush's campaign is in trouble, there's no doubt about that. His debate performances have been disastrous, he hasn't generated enthusiasm, and he's dropped to 5th place in the polling composites. No longer will Jeb be standing on the debate stage in the center three spots next to Trump. The symbolism of Jeb almost being in John Kasich territory is significant. But Jeb soldiers on, even as one of his big donors just called it quits over the negative tone the campaign has taken---specifically Team Jeb's seemingly spiteful desire to take down Marco Rubio at all costs:
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.

I officially feel sorry for Jeb Bush. In the wake of the CNBC debate, I said without hesitation (for about the 55th time) that he simply doesn't want to be president. I've seen nothing out of him that convinces me he really wants this. (This is one of those "feature/bug" scenarios. I don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that he doesn't want the White House---I wouldn't---other than the fact that he's wasting his and our time with a multimillion dollar campaign.) The Bush campaign has gone from lukewarm, to tragedy, and finally to farce---but they're not done yet. We have a new slogan: "Jeb Can Fix It." Read this report from the AP while I rub my temples and quietly pray for 2017:

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:

In response to pressure from donors, Jeb Bush's 2016 campaign is downsizing, starting with a whopping 45% budget cut (exclusive of cash earmarked for TV buys and voter contact via phone calls, mailers, and other avenues.) The campaign has also cut its payroll by 40%; some senior staff will stay on on a volunteer basis, while some junior staffers and consultants will be let go entirely. Bush has also opted to downsize his Miami headquarters and shift more resources into New Hampshire, where he is currently polling in third place. More from Bloomberg:
One Bush adviser told Bloomberg Politics in an interview Friday morning that the team was “unapologetic” about the changes, saying the moves were from a “position of strength.” “This is about winning the race,” the adviser said. “We’re doing it now and making the shifts with confidence. We expect to win.”

This election season has had so many surprises, I'm staying away from making predictions. But one thing is clear -- Donald Trump has done Republicans a favor by exposing weaknesses in other candidates, in many cases such fatal flaws that they could never survive a Clinton-Media onslaught. That weeding out process is not over, but already it has dispatched Rick Perry and Scott Walker. I wasn't surprised with Perry, but the Trump phenomenon exposed weaknesses in Walker as a national candidate. While it ain't over until it is over, Jeb Bush has been damaged more than anyone by Trump. From day one, Trump has been humiliating and emasculating Jeb with taunts. That would not have had much effect unless those taunts exposed Jeb's inherent weaknesses as a candidate. When Trump taunted Jeb as being low energy, it rang true and Jeb didn't know how to react. When Trump raised the issue of Jeb being soft on immigration because his wife is an immigrant, Jeb on stage at a debate demanded an apology to Jeb's wife, who was in the audience. Trump refused, and Jeb had nowhere to go with it -- Jeb looked weak. Now Trump is zeroing in on Jeb's biggest problem -- George W. Bush.

Ahead of and with the release of the quarterly campaign fundraising totals, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are jostling for the top spot among establishment candidates.  Rubio has jumped to the fourth spot (below Trump, Carson, and Cruz), and Jeb, once considered an "unstoppable juggernaut," has slipped into single digits and is slashing campaign staff salaries. Brett LoGiurato reports:
A long-simmering feud between two Florida Republican presidential heavyweights has erupted out into the open over the past day, prompted in part by the release of federal campaign-finance disclosures. The campaigns of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) publicly traded barbs Thursday over the reports, each trying to outdo the other over which campaign was thriftier and in better position going forward.
Both are from Florida and both are counting on the same donors and the same support, so the competition is fierce as Florida voters' shift from Jeb to Rubio.  This gets even more dicey because Rubio was Jeb's protégé, and apparently, Trump isn't the only one who sees him as "disloyal" in attempting to further his own presidential ambitions in a race that many thought Jeb would win handily.

Despite the high hopes of the GOP establishment, Jeb Bush has never inspired much excitement among Republican primary voters. Now that we've had two debates and the candidates are coming into clearer focus, Jeb's poll numbers are starting to reflect what many on the right already knew. Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard:
Poll: Jeb Falls to 4% The latest Pew poll shows that Jeb Bush has fallen to 4 percent in the Republican field. Donald Trump leads the field with 25 percent; Ben Carson is at 16 percent. Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio are tied for third at 8 percent of the Republican field. "At this stage of the 2016 presidential campaign, key issues divide both Republican and Democratic voters, and early candidate preferences reflect some of these cleavages," writes Pew.

Jeb Bush is being raked over the media coals for supposedly expressing a callous disregard for the Oregon mass shooting victims by saying "stuff happens." But those words in a long dialogue were taken completely out of context and promoted by New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza. It was then picked up by others in the media based on Lizza's tweet about it, which was shared over 1000 times on Twitter. Here's how it went down. Former Governor Jeb Bush was questioned about Thursday's UCC tragic shooting during a press conference held Friday afternoon. Ryan Lizza, a reporter for the New Yorker and CNN contributor pulled two little words from Bush's answer, pretended they were indicative of Bush's statement as a whole, and then kept digging. Lizza tweeted:

Jeb Bush is lashing out against the entitlement state---but he's taking a page out of Mitt Romney's book to do it. During a town hall meeting in South Carolina last night, Bush touted Republican outreach efforts to minorities by taking a slap at the Democratic tendency to promise a lot of "free stuff" in return for votes. Unfortunately for Bush, however, Democrats (and some Republicans) were reminded of Mitt Romney's failed 2012 attempts to reach out to a broader base. Via WaPo:
"Look around this room," a man told Bush, who spoke to a mostly white crowd. "How many black faces do you see? How are you going to include them and get them to vote for you?" asked the man, who was white. Bush pointed to his record on school choice and said that if Republicans could double their share of the black vote, they would win the swing states of Ohio and Virginia. "Our message is one of hope and aspiration," he said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. "It isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting -- that says you can achieve earned success."

There are two big stories in a Florida Atlantic University poll of Republican voters to be released tomorrow. The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reports, Poll: Marco Rubio pulls ahead of Jeb Bush in Florida; Hillary Clinton in trouble:
Marco Rubio has overtaken Jeb Bush among Florida Republicans, as he benefits from positive reviews of his performance in the most recent presidential debate. A Florida Atlantic University poll to be released Wednesday shows Rubio, the state's junior senator, is in second place in the Republican primary field in Florida. His political mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, is in third place. Donald Trump, the real estate investor, former reality TV show host and part-time Palm Beach resident, is in first place among Florida Republicans, as he is nationally.... On the Republican side, Trump had 31.5 percent of the Republican primary vote. Rubio was second with 19.2 percent and Bush was third with 11.3 percent.
Ben Carson came in at 10.3% and Carly Fiorina at 8.3%

Remember when winning an election meant actually talking to voters about the various candidates' records and achievements? No? Me neither. Okay, that's a stretch; but so far this cycle, even with our very crowded and very deep bench, we've seen a lot of talk, and not a lot of action when it comes to actually explaining to those elusive primary voters why X or Y candidate is the most qualified to sit in the Oval Office. Jeb Bush's latest TV campaign manages to toe the line between touting his record as Florida governor, and hitting back at fellow GOP presidential hopefuls who (and I'll put this gently) have allowed rhetoric define their candidacies. Watch:

Early in the 2016 cycle, the Republican establishment pushed Marco Rubio aside in Florida and put its money and support behind Jeb Bush. That decision has created a scenario which could rob both candidates of the state's highly coveted delegates. Jim Newell of Slate reported:
Has the Republican Establishment Created a Monster? Last fall, when Jeb Bush was still mulling a bid for the presidency, Bloomberg Politics reported on what was considered then—and is still considered now—Bush’s greatest advantage as a presidential candidate: His ability to separate wealthy donors from vast sums of money quickly. “Unlike his competitors,” the thinking went, “Bush could lure donors off the fence in a hurry, without undergoing a hazing trial to test skill and stability.” That is precisely what happened. Instants after announcing over the winter that he was “seriously considering the possibility of running for president,” Bush and his team set up the Right to Rise PAC and super PAC to serve as cash receptacles for eager GOP establishment donors. The money rolled in, and by July the super PAC announced that it had met its goal of raising more than $100 million in the first six months of the year.

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:
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