Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I've been wondering when Jeb Bush was going to wake up and realize that he's losing the nominating contest he was favored to win -- although maybe his seeming inability to grasp this fact isn't surprising, given the fact he's the brother of George W. Bush, who went years without noticing that America was losing the Iraq War, something that was obvious to nearly everyone else on the planet.

I've been assuming that Jeb will either (a) flame out or (b) regain his mojo by running vicious negative campaigns against top-tier opponents. Now Business Insider's Hunter Walker tells me that I should expect the latter:
On Monday, news broke that Danny Diaz will be the campaign manager when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) launches his expected White House bid next Monday.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the position was originally "expected" to go to David Kochel, another operative who will instead serve as Bush's chief strategist.

... operatives who talked with Business Insider said they thought Bush was abandoning efforts to run a positive, above-the-fray campaign....

[An] operative suggested naming Diaz as his campaign manager was further indication of a more aggressive strategy by Bush.

"Putting one of the best opposition research guys in the business in charge is a dramatic change from Jeb's previous 'joyful' message," the operative said. "This is essentially going back to square one and scrapping the original strategy they touted at the beginning of the year."
I love it. If this is correct, Jeb isn't going to try to be a candidate Republican voters and campaign volunteers will enthusiastically rally around -- he's going to pursue the "death star" strategy Mitt Romney used to crush the campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Jeb's presumably going to turn the death rays on Scott Walker, the conservative hero GOP voters actually would rally around, as well as Rand Paul (the guy who might be appealing to a few voters outside the usual Republican demographic categories) and Marco Rubio (the guy who seems best positioned to get "new JFK?" coverage from the mainstream media in the general election).

If this works, we'll get what we got in the last two presidential campaigns: a Republican nominee who's a tired old retread regarded as ideologically suspect by his own party's voters. And then, presumably, he'll feel the need to put an ideological purist on the ticket, for balance, just when he needs to try to persuade non-Republican voters that Republicans aren't scary extremists.

Meanwhile, I see the right assuming that all the recent negative coverage of Marco Rubio in The New York Times is the sinister work of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Is it? Or could it be that Jeb is elevating an opposition research guy in part because that oppo guy got a nasty story or two about Rubio into the Times?

I have no idea -- I'm just asking. But if things are going to get bloody in the GOP race now, with Jeb as the main thug, I'm going to cook up a large batch of popcorn.


Die alte Aechzener said...

Frankly I'd expect the HRC campaign to be delighted with the idea of facing Rubio in the general - Hilary would squash him like a bug. So I'm going with a republican opponent spreading the dirt: probably (on past record), Walker.

Steve M. said...

I confess I really don't understand why so many people think Rubio is so beatable. He's just the sort of Republican the MSM considers nice and safe and compellingly fresh and new and Obamaesque (so non-threateningly ethnic!). Plus serious -- as he articulates boilerplate right-wing policies, he seems really, really serious. A lot of lefties see him and just think of that water-bottle moment, but the general public missed that moment or forgot about it.

What worries me the most about Rubio is that he polls really well among old people. Old people vote.

Victor said...

Leave Rubio to Jeb, Steve.

I'm sure that as a fellow Floridian, he knows what skeletons are in which of Rubio's closets.

And if those NYT's pieces came from Jeb's people, I'm sure there's a hell of a lot worse that they're holding back.

And Jeb has access to all of his Dad's and brother's hatchet-men.
You don't knock a Bush out of a race without one hell of a dirty fight.

They'll probably use a Ouija board to contact Lee Atwater, to see what he'd recommend.

theHatist said...

Steve- I agree with you.

As inarticulate as Rubio can be sometimes- he does have a habit of tripping himself up- the Republican base doesn't care about brains, rhetorical ability, or policy, really, as long as it cements power in their "Real America"- white men, and the woman and minorities that know their place.

Also, being a minority gives all those people thanking the Texas cops for defending them from black teens at a pool party a license to be as openly racist as they like- because then they can say "I'm not racist! I voted for Marc Rubio, and I love Herman Cain and Ben Carson!"

We are talking about people who make facebook posts justifying pulling a sidearm on teens in bikinis, because one of them "crouched into a shooting stance".

On the other hand, Rubio is clearly an idiot and a total "Uncle Tomás", roundly despised by hispanics (the lovely Ms Bear being one of them), so it's easy to see him flaming out, too. But if the wind blows just right...

oc democrat said...

" Or could it be that Jeb is elevating an opposition research guy in part because that oppo guy got a nasty story or two about Rubio into the Times? "

Steve: you IS even more cynical than me! LOL

Stupid me thought Jeb hired Danny Diaz to try to pander to the Latino demographic!

Die alte Aechzener said...

Steve, I see Rubio as easily beatable because he is as dullminded and inept as W, but actually stupider, more desparate, and not surrounded by an Old Guard of competent evil to steer him through (also, not having the same cachet with SCOTUS). If he somehow got the nomination, he'd produce a string of faux pas, unforced errors and cockups to outdo Dukakis.

And yes, old people like him and old people vote - thats his only road to the nomination, but those votes in the general are already guaranteed for whoever the Republicans nominate. Among voters who might vote or might not, I see his ineptness and his race, and his rather flexible religious leanings, keeping a lot at home.

Steve M. said...

I hope you're right about this. I think Bush and Walker are stronger candidates, but I think Rubio could still win the nomination.

petrilli said...

In mannerisms and appearance, Rubio reminds me a lot of Lazio. We all know how that turned out.