The last few months have not been good for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when it comes to Republican primary voters.This gets a Drudge link, as does a story from National Review's Eliana Johnson titled "Insider Buzz Grows for Marco Rubio" ("Rubio ... now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him in a way they weren’t even a month ago"):
The number of GOP primary voters who say they “could see” themselves supporting Mr. Bush fell to 49% in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, down from 63% in December – a 14-point decline. It was the biggest drop by far among any of the Republican potential candidates that were measured in both surveys, and suggests troubles ahead for him....
Johnson's story quotes an unnamed Republican operative saying that "people are having second thoughts about [Scott] Walker," so maybe his fifteen minutes are over (in terms of donor interest if not in terms of voter interest). And if Rubio's getting donor buzz and a glam photo at Drudge, while Jeb's poll woes are being trumpeted at the Journal, I think that's a sign that the cash might not be flowing quite as freely to Bush in the future.
And gosh, why would the richies be taking a new look at Rubio? Let's let Jonathan Chait explain:
Last year, Marco Rubio defined himself as the Republican presidential candidate who was primarily concerned with the middle class. He gave speeches about poverty. He gave speeches about the struggles of the middle class. It wasn’t working terribly well. So Rubio has updated his tax plan, the old version of which gave a big tax cut to the rich, so it now gives an absolutely gargantuan tax cut to the rich. The new Rubio is hobnobbing with members of the Koch family and other billionaires, and, reports Eliana Johnson, they really like the cut of his jib:Yeah, I would say that's "also possible."
At the American Enterprise Institute’s annual donor retreat in Sea Island, Ga., one attendee says Rubio got rave reviews from a crowd that included several billionaires. And in late January, the senator impressed the libertarian-leaning crowd at the Koch brothers’ donor conference in Palm Springs, Calif., and came out on top of an informal straw poll conducted there.Rubio “now has many of the party’s top donors looking at him in a way they weren’t even a month ago,” she reports. Johnson credits “his knowledgeable presentations and obvious political talent,” though it is also possible Rubio’s new promise to abolish all taxes on capital gains, dividends, and estates may have enhanced his appeal.
As Chait explains, the updated version of the tax plan Rubio has cooked up with Utah senator Mike Lee would transfer money from the poor to the rich and explode the deficit, so it's pretty much the dream plan for the fat cats. (They don't hate deficits or debt -- in fact, deficits and debt are useful, because they can then be blamed on reckless spending mandated by those awful liberal Democrats. If an all-GOP federal government passes a budget like this, expect massive cuts in social programs to follow in short order.)
I was assuming that Rubio's candidacy was dead on arrival, but now I think it's Jeb who's in trouble. Rubio still has to deal with suspicions of his past support for immigration reform, but GOP primary voters are used to voting for recanters (McCain on immigration and campaign finance reform, Romney on universal health care and abortion rights). Jeb has been looking as if he won't recant on all sorts of issues. Rubio will. So keep a wary eye on him.