Remember when the so-called GOP establishment viewed Jeb Bush as the party savior who would sweep in and save the GOP by securing the presidential nomination? Perhaps it was always a delusional fantasy, but now, as Politico reports, some on the GOP establishment are calling on Jeb Bush to refrain from attacking Marco Rubio and thereby handing the GOP nomination to demagogue extraordinaire, Donald Trump. Personally, I could never see Jebbie as an attractive candidate, especially given the reality that many of the nation's current problems stem back to the rule of his brother, the Chimperator. Here are excerpts from Politico on the new infighting:
[I]ncreasingly, establishment Republicans worry that Bush’s campaign is little more than an ego trip. With the former Florida governor now sitting stagnant in the middle of the pack and his super PAC ratcheting up its attacks on Marco Rubio, a growing number of Republican centrists are coming to view Bush’s campaign as a distraction — one that could hurt their ability to keep the nomination away from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.On Monday, the Right to Rise PAC hit the early state airwaves with an ad skewering Bush’s former protégé for flipping on immigration—an issue on which he and Bush actually agree. And on Tuesday, the group unleashed a second ad that portrayed Rubio as a flip-flopper and mocked his heeled boots.[T]o those who no longer believe Bush can win the Republican nomination, his [Bush's] super PAC, with tens of millions of dollars left to spend, looks more like a wrecking ball meant to lay waste to the one contender many Bush donors see as the last remaining mainstream alternative to Trump or Cruz.
“This is something Jeb Bush has to decide. Does he want his legacy to be that he elected Donald Trump or Ted Cruz?” said Stuart Stevens, the GOP strategist who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. “He can’t control that super PAC but he ought to call on the super PAC to stop and stop attacking people with whom he mostly agrees.”“This thing has been mismanaged and screwed up since the beginning,” said a Jeb Bush backer in the Washington area who worked in both previous Bush administrations. “It’s gotten to the point where the old-timers are saying ‘it’s really sad.’ How as presumptive leader with $100 million in the bank did you get yourself in a box where you have to attack Rubio and Christie to win your lane?”
“The chances of those ads hurting Rubio are a lot stronger than the odds of them helping Jeb,” said Curt Anderson, a Republican strategist who ran Bobby Jindal’s campaign last year. “The Right to Rise folks don’t want to end the campaign with $30 million in the bank and they probably realize the positive spots haven’t helped Jeb at all.“To stay in a race and spend millions and millions of dollars attacking other candidates you basically agree with, that starts to look like spite,” said Stevens. “It’s one thing to lose a race and have run a good race. It’s another thing to lose and have as your legacy that you attempted to destroy everybody else who was most like you. That’s a very negative legacy and it’s a long lasting one, and that’s the question that should be paramount in the Bush organization.”
“People around him have just reached a point of pure anger,” said one Florida politico who is supporting Rubio. “This is purely just hatred amongst his staff to go after Marco out of jealousy, spite, you name it—because everyone knows the one person who can win is Marco and yet they’re doing everything they can to hurt him. They still can’t get over him having the audacity to run.”[S]ome are coming to the conclusion that Jeb can’t win and they’re worried his super PAC is going to ensure that no other establishment candidate does either. Everyone is looking at [Right to Rise director Mike] Murphy and saying, what are you going to do with our money? Something useful that helps the party or are you going to blow it all up?”
Meanwhile, of course, the establishment members continue to concede that they are the ones who empowered the lunatics of the GOP by shortsightedly embracing Christofascists, white supremacists, and other ugly elements that morphed into the so-called Tea Party.