And We Thought Jeb Bush Was a Gentleman

 

Jeb Bush Addresses The Chicago Council On Global AffairsFrom John Podhoretz’s latest in the New York Post:

Democrats have spent years raging about the rise of Super PACs and the millionaires and billionaires who fund them. Maybe they should start laughing instead, because the largest Super PAC in history may come to be best-known for taking down the Republican candidate who may have had the best chance to win in 2016.

On Thursday, we learned that 35 percent of the money spent so far by the Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush has been used to target the candidacy of his fellow Floridian, Marco Rubio.

According to Jeremy Peters of The New York Times, the anti-Rubio ad buys by Right to Rise (R2R) have totaled a staggering $20 million.

That’s $20 million out of the nearly $60 million through which the Super PAC’s honcho, Mike Murphy, has burned since R2R began its spending spree six months ago.

Jeb Bush could have left the stage as a respected former governor of one of the biggest states and the country and a completely honorable man. Now he risks being remembered as a bitter spoiler. This is unworthy of him.

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  1. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I think the $100 Million war chest that Jeb! announced in early 2015 is greatly responsible for the anti-establishment back-lash this primary season. The base saw this and thought, “Here we go again the Republican party is going to shove another candidate down our throats, what’s worse it is another Bush.” The base then hardened and thought, “Okay, we can’t let the GOPe win this time. I have to support the most popular candidate not Jeb!” When Donald Trump entered the race he instantly rocketed to the top of the polls due to name recognition only, so the base thought, “Well it looks like it will be either Donald Trump, or Jeb! Bush. Looks like I better support Trump.”

    Only this fall when Jeb! fell well behind in the polls did Cruz start to rise as the base felt that the Jeb! danger had passed and so they could start shopping other candidates.

    • #61
  2. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I find it very strange that anyone is critical of Jeb for this, even assuming that he is responsible for $20 million in super-PAC ads against Rubio.

    It’s a political campaign.  Jeb and his supporters would be expected to spend money “attacking” the other GOP candidates.  From the spending, it appears that Jeb (or the super-PAC) thinks, or previously thought, that Rubio was Jeb’s most significant opponent.  I actually agree that Rubio is the most significant opponent.  Note that Rubio has been leading in the Ricochet polls for months.

    I see no basis for criticism as a general proposition.

    Jeb (or the super-PAC) might be criticized for targeting Rubio rather than Cruz or Trump, but that’s just a tactical question.

    • #62
  3. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Jeb should never have run, and by now he should realize he has no shot at the nomination.

    If this were baseball, Bush would be like the Yankees who on paper have the biggest payroll and most talent but who are 20 games under .500 in mid-July.  The Red Sox are in a neck and neck competition in the wild card race and have an outside shot at winning the division. The GM of the Yankees decides he’s not going to trade any of his players or do anything to make the team better, he’s just going to bean the Red Sox players when they play and use dirty plays on bases to try and hurt the Red Sox best players. Theoretically, taking out the Red Sox helps the Yankees chances of getting to the playoffs, but in reality everyone involved can see they are still a terrible, underperforming team showing no signs of turning anything around, and there are at least ten other teams more likely to move into the playoff spot if the Yankees do succeed in crippling the Red Sox.

    Bush is killing Rubio only to help Kasich and Christie and Cruz. He is doing nothing to help himself, or his party.

    • #63
  4. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Arizona Patriot:I see no basis for criticism as a general proposition.

    Jeb (or the super-PAC) might be criticized for targeting Rubio rather than Cruz or Trump, but that’s just a tactical question.

    I do, it’s obvious he can’t win the nomination. If he were in Rubio’s position and within striking distance of Trump and Cruz, I’d call this respectable and understandable. This isn’t helping Bush, though, it’s helping Kasich, Christie, and Cruz. It’s also helping Trump in some ways.

    Bush should be seeing by now that he is simply burning his donors money, hurting his party, and making it ever more likely that Trump wins the nomination.

    • #64
  5. Raconteur Inactive
    Raconteur
    @Raconteur

    I think that it is a bit of a stretch to say that playing political hardball somehow renders Jeb ungentlemanly.

    I think that Murphy’s overall strategy is very flawed. Actually, it strikes me as being monumentally stupid. But, in so far as this strategy is being implemented by a Super PAC, blame cannot be directed at Jeb– unless he is in gross violation of the law and is coordinating with his PAC.

    Speaking as a veteran of numerous campaigns, I have to say that Murphy’s ability to find employment astonishes me. As I understand it, he’s a member of Ricochet– so, I am not going to detail my take on the guy, except to say that my 13 year old daughter is more qualified to run a PAC or a campaign than Mike Murphy.

    I’m a Rubio guy. I’m not at all worried about Murphy’s attacks on my candidate. Thus far, everything Murphy shoots at Marco harmlessly bounces off of him. Marco does not go down in the polls when Jeb attacks him. Murphy should have realized this by now.

    In spite of my support for Marco, I remain on very good terms with the Bushes. I may disagree with Jeb about a number of political issues, but, in my humble opinion, he has always been a consummate gentleman– as are his brothers and his father.

    The only person who’s stature has been diminished in this campaign is Mike Murphy. Jeb is a good guy. He may not be a good candidate but he is a thoroughly decent and honorable man. The same cannot be said about Mike Murphy, however.

    • #65
  6. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Raconteur:I’m a Rubio guy. I’m not at all worried about Murphy’s attacks on my candidate. Thus far, everything Murphy shoots at Marco harmlessly bounces off of him. Marco does not go down in the polls when Jeb attacks him. Murphy should have realized this by now.

    It’s not true the attacks aren’t hurting Rubio. Rubio was in strong command of second place in New Hampshire before the holidays. That was after Cruz had surged in Iowa. The attacks on Rubio have driven people to Kasich and Cruz, they haven’t helped Bush at all.

    • #66
  7. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    David Sussman:I’m disgusted by the ads. I’m angry that Murphy has turned the otherwise decent Bush into a pariah. I’m thrilled none is this has increased Jebs poling.

    No offense to his friend Rob, but Mike Murphy doesn’t deserve to run the campaign of Podunks Dog Catcher.

    The fact that ¡Jeb! hired Murphy begs the question of how decent he really was. If you’re desperate enough to hire a bottom-feeder like Murphy, you’re probably a bottom-feeder, too.

    • #67
  8. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Raconteur: The only person who’s stature has been diminished in this campaign is Mike Murphy. Jeb is a good guy. He may not be a good candidate but he is a thoroughly decent and honorable man. The same cannot be said about Mike Murphy, however.

    Now that I think about it, I wonder if this whole thing isn’t Murphy lashing out because he realizes his career might be over.

    • #68
  9. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    If politics is show business for ugly people, political consulting is politics for really ugly people (professionally).

    Criticizing a consultant for being Machiavellian, manipulative and ruthless is like criticizing a middle linebacker for being hostile and violent.

    This race was a kite flying contest until Hurricane Donald blew in.

    Murphy’s making the only play available right now.  Clear out Rubio, who could fold after a fifth in NH, and contend in the establishment lane for 40% of the vote with two candidates, Kasich and Christie, who have no money or personnel anywhere outside their home states.

    Probably won’t work.  Rubio doesn’t have a glass chin.   Besides advising Bush to quit before NH, what is a better play?

    It is also a fair bet that Bush told Rubio directly before he entered the race that he would be after him no-holds-barred.

    • #69
  10. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    John Seymour: Personally, I think Jeb doesn’t want to disappoint his dad when he’s so sick. If Bush 41 were to die, I suspect Jeb would drop out within a week or two.

    If concern about disappointment is an issue, I don’t think Pater is the problem. As told to me by someone who has dealt professionally with the elder Bushes, GHWB was a complete delight. The Matriarch, however, was a different story. Nothing anyone did was right or good enough. She described that interaction as one of the worst experiences of her professional life.

    So if family is any aspect of this, what I hear is “You’re doing what, John Ellis?! So you. are. a. quitter?!

    • #70
  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Raconteur: I think that it is a bit of a stretch to say that playing political hardball somehow renders Jeb ungentlemanly.

    I think I’d have to agree with that. People seem to forget that we have elections in lieu of, shall we say, more traditional ways of transferring power. If I thought the strategy made sense, and if I was hugely impressed by Jeb as a candidate, I’d say, “Fair enough.” The problem is that I don’t think it will work and wouldn’t be thrilled even if it did.

    • #71
  12. Raconteur Inactive
    Raconteur
    @Raconteur

    BThompson– I have no idea what polls you are looking at. But, Marco’s internals show his support to be quite steady. If you’re relying on RCP or Fox polling data, then I would strongly advise you to learn how to read cross tabs. The number of junk polls that go into the RCP aggregates these days is scandalous.

    Even truly good polling in a primary fight can only vaguely suggest some trends, at best. The truth of the matter is: nobody knows what’s going to happen in Iowa. And NH, because it is an “open primary” state, is much harder to gauge than Iowa.

    The one thing that we know with absolute certainty is this: people who like Rubio are not fickle or easily swayed. They tend to be more well-educated than the supporters of other candidates. Overall, they enjoy a fairly high income. Their responses to polling questions are, for the most part, long answers that reveal some very specific issues that they feel strongly about. Vague promises to “make America great again” mean nothing to Rubio voters. They have a remarkably sophisticated and nuanced view of the limits of presidential power and how our system works. The demographics of your typical Rubio supporters scream “Plodding! Steady!”

    The big question in Marco’s camp is not “will people desert Rubio?” That question has already been answered, and the answer is a resounding “no!” The only thing that remains to be revealed is “how many Rubio supporters are there?” And that question can only be answered on Election Day.

    The acid test for Marco will be SC. He could come in last in IA and NH and remain a viable candidate until after SC votes. And even without a first place finish in SC, he still has a shot at the nomination– although it would be an uphill slog moving forward.

    Rick Santorum came very, very close to derailing Mitt. And he did so with, literally, no money, at all. He had an improvised/jerry-rigged ground game. Nobody– and no poll– predicted that he would do as well as he did.

    Marco has a very good shot at the nomination. In a Cruz/Rubio match, its a toss up. The wild card, of course, is Trump. But, I strongly expect Trump’s support will collapse fairly quickly, once actual votes start being counted.

    Nobody– not even Trump’s team– denies that every poll shows a fairly low ceiling of support for Trump. This could, in theory, change if Trump were to come in first in IA, NH, and SC. But, nobody that I am aware of believes that can or will happen.

    • #72
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