Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Jeb Bush Embraces Risky Fight with Donald Trump

With Jeb "Jebbie" Bush in the basement in recent polling results and The Donald still riding high, the coronation of Jebbie anticipated by the so-called GOP establishment and most of all the Bush family is in serious question.  Oodles of money has not translated into high polling results and Jebbie and his sycophants, despite outward calm, must be in panic.  Hence Jebbie's decision to attack Donald Trump.  The prospect of the coming fight has great entertainment value for those disgusted with what the GOP has become.  At the same time, given the pervasive insanity of the GOP base, Bush is taking a huge risk.  An article in the Washington Post looks at the coming spectacle.  Here are highlights:
Jeb Bush went on the offensive Tuesday against GOP presidential front-runner and frequent antagonist Donald Trump, releasing an attack video portraying the mogul as a closet liberal and signaling that he will attempt to bring Trump down in coming weeks.

“He attacks me every day. He attacks me every day with barbarities,” Bush said in Spanish in response to questions from reporters at a Presbyterian school here. “They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.”

But in fully embracing a fight against Trump, Bush is embarking on a risky strategy that could further fuel Trump’s unexpected rise and complicate his own path to the nomination. Allies of the former Florida governor insist that he had no choice but to adopt a more aggressive posture, elevating his feud with Trump to the marquee contest in the GOP primary contest.

Republicans said the dilemma for Bush is obvious. If he hangs back, voters may conclude he is weak. If he attacks, he engages a candidate who has proved to be an effective counterpuncher.
The escalation came after Trump released an aggressive video Monday that flashed mug shots of men charged with or convicted of murder as Bush’s comments that undocumented immigrants enter the United States as “an act of love” played in the background. 

The video Bush released Tuesday strings together clips from past interviews of Trump praising Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and voicing support for abortion rights, tax increases for wealthy Americans and the 2009 economic stimulus program.

Some Republicans are skeptical that Bush’s issue-based strikes will undercut Trump’s appeal, which is based less on ideology than on broad anger about the direction of the nation.  “We have reached a moment where conservatism isn’t defined by issues anymore for a big percentage of the country,” said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential campaign.

“Yet another weak hit by a candidate with a failing campaign,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?” 

“We’ve gotten out our popcorn. It’s wonderful,” said a strategist for a rival campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter frankly. “I don’t think it’ll work.”

Bush’s focus on Trump is partly a response to donors who have been clamoring for a more aggressive posture. Once Bush began his first, hesitant criticism of Trump two weeks ago in New Hampshire, several surrogates and donors suggested it was long overdue.

Bush, running against a deep and well-funded field, has not received the level of support that Romney had. Romney also never had to contend with a rival quite like Trump, who has upended conventional thinking about modern campaigns.

“Trump is completely, absolutely and utterly in command of the political battle space,” Schmidt said. “He is controlling the entire tone and tenor of the campaign.”
As the one campaign strategist said, get out the popcorn.

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