Monday, September 28, 2015

Bush, Whacked?

A brutal story this morning in the Washington Post about Jeb Bush indicates that his donors are threatening to jump ship unless he turns things around in October.

Jeb Bush is entering a critical phase of his Republican presidential campaign, with top donors warning that the former Florida governor needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face serious defections among supporters.

The warnings, expressed by numerous senior GOP fund­raisers in recent days, come as Bush and an allied super PAC are in the early stages of an aggressive television ad campaign they say will help erase doubts about his viability.

But Bush continues to battle against a steady decline in the polls, sinking to fifth place at just 7 percent in a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday and similarly languishing in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The warnings from top donors come as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s exit from the race re­focused the battle within the GOP’s establishment wing as one between Bush and his former protege, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Right now, the momentum appears to be behind Rubio, who has jumped ahead of Bush in most polls. At least a third of the bundlers who signed up to raise money for Walker have switched their allegiance to Rubio, while a smaller number have gone with Bush, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Bush also is facing fresh scrutiny for comments that critics say bear echoes of remarks Mitt Romney made during his 2012 GOP presidential bid, part of a pattern of awkward statements that Bush or his campaign have had to clarify.

The real problem is that last part.  Republicans clearly are backing political outsiders, and there's just no way that Jebby here can portray himself as anything other than the establishment's top candidate, a living reminder of the failures of the last two Bushes in Iraq and with the economy.  The Tea Party views him with nothing but contempt.  The smarter money is shifting to Rubio on the establishment side, and while Rubio is trailing Trump, Carson, and Fiorina, at least he's not, you know, Jeb Bush.

And let's face it, Jeb's political instincts are even worse than Romney's.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) says Americans will miss outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

I admire John Boehner greatly, he’s a great public servant,” the GOP presidential candidate said on “Fox News Sunday.” 
“He left at the apex of his time in service to the country with the pope speaking in Congress. I think people are going to miss him in the long run because he’s a person that is focused on solving problems.”

That may be true, but backing Orange Julius, the least popular Speaker of the House in my lifetime, probably isn't a good idea.

Even among Republicans, Boehner's image tilted negative. While 37 percent reported favorable impressions of him, 42 percent were unfavorable. Those mixed reviews reflect the divisions within the Republican Party he led in Congress, as strident conservative factions regularly voiced distrust of party leadership. In late 2013, Pew Research surveys found Boehner with far more negative ratings among Republicans identifying with the tea party movement than non-tea party Republicans.

Still, Jeb has more money than anyone else so you can't count him finished (John McCain after all came back from the dead.)  The problem is that money isn't helping him.

We'll see how long that money sticks around.

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