The Bush crime family, like its spirit animal the shark, are predators who have outlasted their more attractive primaeval competitors in the GOP clades by prioritizing simple vicious bloodlust over flexibility or intelligence. But with the ancient seas of WASP plutocracy drying up and a swarm of even more vicious new competitors evolving to compete in the shallows and the muck, current exemplar JEB! is not doing very well in this changing new environment. There is still plenty of flesh remaining on his carcass, however, so his retinue of remoras and pilot fish have yet to abandon him. Steve Benen, at MSNBC’s Maddowblog:
… Broadly speaking, Plan A for members of Team Jeb was making their candidate look great. Nearly $30 million later, this strategy has clearly come up short. Plan B was making Donald Trump look awful, and that hasn’t gone well, either. But the Politico piece hints at a possible Plan C.
Mike Murphy, the Los Angeles-based ad man running Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC, isn’t about to leave the $75 million left in the group’s bank account unspent and is readying a 15-minute biographical film about Bush. According to another source close to Right to Rise, Murphy has been floating another tactical shift to potential supporters, suggesting that he might spend the bulk of the $75 million to carpet bomb Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Chris Christie – everyone but Trump. The thinking: Making the race into a binary choice between Bush and Trump might be the only way a majority of primary voters go with Bush.
… It’s hard to blame Bush’s super PAC, which is flush with cash, from looking for ways to create the head-to-head dynamic that might work to the former governor’s advantage. Bush’s odds of success are obviously dwindling, but if the party en masse were forced to choose between Trump and Jeb, the latter would probably be pretty competitive.
So, the thinking goes, Team Jeb could spend $75 million trying to get Republican voters to fall in love with Bush (an unlikely scenario), or use that money to tear down Trump (a fool’s gambit), but why bother? It’d probably be easier to devote the resources to bringing down the other candidates between Trump and Bush.
Why not go after just Cruz or just Rubio or just Carson? Because it’s difficult to say for sure where their supporters would go under such a scenario. The result is a bit like a mafia movie in which the don targets all the rival families at once, since anything less would lead to chaotic failure…
Note how metaphors about sharks and mafia dons come so naturally when you think about the Bushes. Also, to Mr. Pierce at Esquire, rabid dogs — “It’s Time for Jeb (!) to Old Yeller His Campaign“:
… To be completely fair, no candidate was less suited to the carnival of souls that this campaign has become than was Jeb (!). He had lots of money, and lots of influential friends, and he even had a mainly undeserved reputation as a Republican with the ability to reach out to minorities. Then, two things happened. He ran facefirst into I, Trump, who found in Jeb (!) the perfect foil—humorless, stuffy, and very easily pantsed on stage. Nobody could have anticipated how truly deformed one man could make our politics. But, for all that, Jeb (!) has proven to be an absolute lemon of a candidate. He has entirely different—but no less serious—problems with English than his brother did. He couldn’t find spontaneity if you gave him the ghost of Robin Williams as a guide. And, let us never forget that The Base has decided that his surname is a curse unto 10 generations, and Jeb (!) is nowhere near the pol to turn all that around in one election cycle. Rubio is younger. Cruz is more conservative. Fiorina is a bigger prevaricator. Ben Carson is crazier. Rand Paul is quirkier. And He, Trump is more, well, everything. Even if you put him at the top of the Single Digit Club, where’s the room for Jeb (!) to run in a Republican primary field?
It’s not your year, big fella. Just admit it. Don’t go to Vegas next week and stand up there and get your trou’ dropped on you again. (I mean, Jesus H. Christ on a package tour of the Balkans, Rubio embarrassed you last time.) Maintain some dignity. Take the campaign out behind the shed and come back alone. There’s no hope for it now. It’s suffering, Jeb (!), and only you can do it.
Since I lack Mr. Pierce’s generous spirit, I don’t care if JEB! drops out early or late, as long as he’s wasting GOP money attacking the other Repub candidates — and presumably causing them to waste money attacking him in turn — that might otherwise have gone to attacking HRClinton (or whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be).