Wednesday, February 10, 2016


GOP establishmentarians seem to be completely demoralized this morning, as do the journalists who retransmit those establishmentarians' deepest hopes and fears. How demoralized? Check out this juxtaposition of headline and photo from Politico:

Rubio is the abyss? Rubio is staring at the abyss -- and the abyss is his prepared remarks? Your interpretation is probably as good as mine.

But shockingly, Jeb Bush, of all people, is doing a passable imitation of an alpha male. He's stolen one of the more successful pages from the Rubio playbook and is declaring that, if you really think about it, his fourth-place finish in New Hampshire was actually a victory. This is from The Hill:
Jeb Bush on Tuesday night touted his showing, now just 0.3 percentage points out of a tie for third place, as a win.

“Last Monday night, when the Iowa caucuses were complete, they said the race was now a three-person race between two present senators and a reality TV star,” the former Florida governor told a group of supporters at his primary watch party here....

The largely sedate crowd perked up when Bush took the stage, chanting "Jeb" when Bush bashed his Democratic and Republican rivals.

“And while the reality TV star is still doing well, it looks like you all have reset things.”

“We need someone who can defeat Hillary Clinton,” Bush told the crowd, again motivating his supporters to shout his name.
They're shouting his name! His own supporters! At his own rally! That must be a positive omen!

Meanwhile a Politico story by Alex Isenstadt tells us that Jeb's campaign is going to turn nasty:
Bush plans scorched-earth attack on Kasich, Rubio

Jeb Bush is already laying the groundwork for a brutal South Carolina campaign against establishment rivals John Kasich and Marco Rubio.

In an internal memo circulated late Tuesday evening, the campaign distributed talking points to top campaign aides and surrogates, highlighting lines of attack they plan to take against both candidates.

The memo suggests that Kasich, who campaigned extensively in New Hampshire, does not have a realistic path to winning the Republican nomination.

“Governor Kasich has little to no chance in South Carolina, and does not have a national organization that can compete,” the memo says. “Kasich has consistently supported gutting the military and has no viable path in the Palmetto State.”

The memo also outlines hard-hitting avenues of attack against Rubio, who for months has been in Bush’s crosshairs: “Senator Rubio has lost momentum and has been exposed as completely unprepared to be president,” it says, repeating an argument that Bush has used frequently against Rubio.

It adds: “Rubio has demonstrated no respect for the nomination process and expects this to be a coronation.”
Now, none of that sounds particularly nasty -- personally, I don't think you have to be a particularly tough guy to threaten John Kasich, or, post-robot, even Marco Rubio -- but Isenstadt has clearly swallowed the Bush campaign's spin. If Jeb has the media thinking he's tough and nasty, that's half the battle.

Now that he's left perhaps the only state in America where being a nebbish will actually win you Republican primary votes, maybe he should leave the campaign trail altogether and just let his attack ads and surrogates do the job for him. Maybe Chris Christie will quit the race and be a Thug for Jeb. The press really might start writing Jeb comeback stories if Wincing Jeb himself doesn't get in the way.

And then there's George W. and his new radio ad for Jeb, with this text:
This is President George W. Bush. We live in troubled times with the military deployed around the world. We need a strong leader with experience, ideas and resolve. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jeb Bush will be a great commander-in-chief for our military. Jeb has dealt with crises as the governor of Florida, and he did so with steadiness, and a calmness necessary in a good leader. He respects the military -- he honors their families. He can make the tough decision to keep Americans safe and our country free. And in a time of crisis, he will be a steady hand.
Who knows? Maybe that will play in South Carolina and, after that, in other Southern states. But if I were Jeb I'd try to go for the notion that "they" don't want "us" to acknowledge what a great commander in chief W. was, something Jeb will say even though it's "politically incorrect." Given the GOP electorate's addiction to self-righteous rage, it just might work.


Ten Bears said...

Do these guys know Obama isn't running for president?

Ten Bears said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor said...

Ten Bears,

It'll be kind of fun watching Jeb (...) trying to turn from being the victim of countless wedgies and stolen lunch-money, to trying to give wedgies and stealing other kid's lunch-money.

Sometimes, experience helps.
But not in his case.

Still, the MSM needs someone to fall in love with, on the GOP side.

Their loathing of Democrats is so ingrained, that if Jesus Christ himself ran for POTUS as a Democrat, they'd call him a European Socialist, and find other ways to slam him!

Feud Turgidson said...

IMO it's the smart move for all of them and the GOP as a whole not to campaign all that directly against either HRC or Bernie Sammitches. They've managed to earn big and gain control of every branch of the federal government except the White House by portraying their shining White House upon teh figurative hill occupied by a dark dirty antichrist. Now no matter which way the Dem primary process turns out, the Dems will gain a white person potentially there, and the Rs will have lost their bogeyman forever. IOW for both practical and emotional reasons, they'd just as soon pretend.

And both D contestants are easing this pretense, HRC by giving off a 'stay the course and incrementalism' vibe, and Sandals by saying he's so much more left of that guy Rs already see as commie socialist nazi totalitarian pie in the sky dictator.

Also, once they turn to attack Bernie Sundials, there's a big risk that a big chunk of their largest constituency will resent that as an attack on oldsters.

The same problem pertains to HRC as well, to a lesser extent, but i addition starting in on her for being a woman surely isn't doesn't poll well. Some might point out that it's not been a factor at all in the Dem primary so far, but that's because of how Bernie Sandcastles campaigns. And if Denmark Bernie even appeared to move one inch against HRC for her Being Female, he'd be toast, with his wife, with his supporters, with every Dem, and with the vast bulk of voters.

I actually think there's multiple swords oscillating over Republican strategists now and their nominee once out of Cleveland, which to me make it safer, easier, more attractive and ultimately more likely that they'll continue to campaign largely against Obama thru to Election Day.

Unknown said...

It will be fun watching Jeb and Rubio trying to scratch each other's eyes out.

And Cruz is going to have get nasty on Trump to have any hope of not getting blown out in South Carolina.

Glennis said...

Jeb (!) Bush is accusing someone of expecting this to be a coronation? I think I need to change batteries in my irony meter.