Jeb Bush is slipping in the polls, and it’s getting increasingly difficult for Team Jeb! to spin it. As Vox’s Jonathan Allen put it: “[T]he GOP doesn’t want a bland political insider.” But it isn’t just his deficiencies as a candidate or his family legacy.
The premise for his campaign is starting to crumble. Bush hoped to be seen as the “adult in the room” among a slew of candidates with narrow ideological appeal. But a series of media nightmares and sagging poll numbers have changed the game for Jeb.
After saying he would stay above the fray, Bush is now playing in the mud with and adopting the bombastic appeal of Donald Trump. Last week, Jeb sprinted right on immigration — following Trump in invoking “anchor babies,” a disparaging term used to describe American citizens born to undocumented immigrant parents. And just like The Donald, Jeb was unapologetic about it.
Even as the chief strategist at Jeb’s Right to Rise PAC claimed, “If other campaigns wish that we’re going to uncork money on Donald Trump, they’ll be disappointed,” Right to Rise paid for an airplane to fly over a massive Donald Trump rally in Alabama. And Right to Rise is of course also about to shell out $10 million on a pro-Bush TV ad campaign. Not going to uncork money with Trump breathing down your neck, indeed.
Bush versus Trump is turning out to be a summer blockbuster. Get the popcorn ready.
QUESTIONS ON THE TRAIL THIS WEEK
- The immigration debate is sure to continue this week — but is there any room to the right after last week saw candidates broach the threshold of proposals to repeal the 14th Amendment and bomb the U.S.-Mexico border?
- Showing up Jeb Bush at a “dueling” town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday, holding a stadium with 30,000 on Friday — Donald Trump is still warming up. Will other candidates follow Jeb Bush and Scott Walker in their attempts to adopt what the base finds so appealing about Trump?
- By Fox News’ count, Scott Walker over the last week took three distinct stances on birthright citizenship, further cementing the notion that Walker may be the most prolific panderer in the GOP field — though he sadly lacks conviction, even in his pandering. What will Walker next do to demonstrate a fundamental lack of sophistication and willingness to say whatever to whomever?
BRIDGE PROJECT UPDATE
This weekend, with thousands protesting their event, the Koch brothers held a conservative conference and GOP candidate cattle call in Cleveland. Notably not invited: Frontrunner Donald Trump — the man who can’t be bought — whom the Kochs know they have little hope of controlling. In conjunction with the event Bridge Project released a new report exposing the Charles and David Koch’s abysmal record in Ohio: “O-H-I-O Koch! Koch! Koch!: How The Kochs Have Polluted Ohio With Their Business & Politics.”
TRACKING HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIELD
Bobby Jindal went hard after Jeb Bush this weekend, and the crowd loved it.
Ted Cruz called for abolishing the Department of Education and the Koch/AFP conference went wild.
Marco Rubio was not to be outdone by Cruz.
Rob Portman is a big fan of his money men Koch brothers.
CATCHING UP ON MEDIA CLIPS
Reuters: Trump widens lead over U.S. Republican presidential field: Reuters poll
CNN: 30,000 turn out for Trump’s Alabama pep rally
Associated Press: Cruz outshines Bush at Americans for Prosperity summit
CNN: Carson calls for drone strikes on border ‘caves’
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scott Walker: There’s a ‘handful of reasonable, moderate followers of Islam’
The Capital Times: Scott Walker on Black Lives Matter: ‘Who knows who that is?’
Fox News: Walker appears to take third stance in seven days on birthright citizenship issue
Columbus Dispatch: Thousands protest Koch brothers event in Columbus
Published: Aug 24, 2015