Jeb Bush hasn’t been able to recover since his stumbles on Iraq two weeks ago. He ended last week with a lackluster speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, where he placed sixth in the straw poll, and begins this week with more evidence that he’s trying and failing to create space with his brother. It’s the first day of a shortened holiday week and Jeb is off to a bad start.
Bush flip on offshore drilling:
The Washington Examiner caught Bush lying in his latest attempt to create space with his brother on offshore drilling. Bush is only making enemies here – after opposing offshore drilling (big base problem), he flipped to line up with W. to support it (general election problem), but is accusing a Politico reporter of misrepresenting his position this month (reporter problem).
In the end, Bush’s original position against offshore drilling will create the most problems for him since GOP candidates are rushing to end the oil export ban.
From the Examiner: “The former Florida governor in 1999 opposed Chevron’s plan to drill in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola Beach. But he reversed his stance in 2006 when he proposed including a 100-mile buffer from Jacksonville to Pensacola while opening new acreage in the central Gulf of Mexico.
“A Politico Magazine story this month said that Bush now ‘opposes’ offshore drilling. A spokeswoman for Bush said the article was a ‘misrepresentation’ of Bush’s position.”
Sixth in SRLC Straw Poll:
Joe Scarborough had a good exchange this morning about Bush placing sixth in the SRLC straw poll and his problem with the conservative base lacking any excitement, saying “At some point, this becomes a real problem and I know we’re early, but nobody in the base is excited about this guy.”
John Heilemann: “To me it’s the whole constellation of problems. There’s not a base in Iowa, there’s not a base in New Hampshire. Apart from the donor class, there’s no part of the Republican Party that seems excited about him and he’s gonna need to find someone who’s thrilled about his candidacy if he’s ever gonna be the nominee.”
Joins W. on increased spending:
Jeb tried to use fiscal discipline to create space with his brother by arguing W. should “have brought budget discipline to Washington, D.C.” But MSNBC and Politico note that Jeb was one of the biggest spending Republican governors who took home more federal money than any other state. Jeb will have to look elsewhere if he’s trying to find an issue where he disagrees with W.
Avoiding Q&A with reporters:
Bush was slated to speak with reporters after his SRLC speech on Friday, but suddenly was a no show to the surprise of reporters.
Last name and family wealth haunt Bush:
Matt Viser with the Boston Globe has the scoop on Bush’s new 3,000 square foot “cottage” on the family compound in Maine, sitting on a $1.4 million piece of land. Complete with quotes from Jeb, his dad, Pres. George H.W. Bush, and the architect who really wants you to know that “they always prefer to keep things modest and understated and not super fancy,” Bush’s flacks were ready for the unwanted attention and the article reads as if they consider his last name and family wealth as major liabilities.
The kicker is Jeb’s house is the last of his four siblings’ houses to be built. Think that one stings?
Published: May 26, 2015