Jeb Bush, left, speaks as Marco Rubio listens during Republican presidential debate at Milwaukee Theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Bush Campaign is the Craziest Thing in Politics Today

I get relentlessly needled by friends for liking Jeb Bush and being open to supporting him. I’ve said repeatedly that he is not my first choice, but I do not consider him a bad choice. But his campaign apparatus? Yeesh. It seems more like a get rich quick scheme for consultants than a political operation.

The combined Bush campaign and Right to Rise super PAC are burning through major cash with Bush barely pulsing with voters. Not only that, but polling suggests there are about as many Republican voters who would rather drink bleach than vote for Donald Trump or Jeb Bush. In some polls, more voters would prefer Trump to Bush and bleach to both.

In fact, Jeb Bush’s initial campaign of floating the “I’m interested” trial balloon and then going out to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to get surrounded with the veneer of “chosen one” status really precipitated the Donald Trump rise. Republican voters, having suffered through John McCain and Mitt Romney as appointed “winners” decided they would rather hitch their wagons to Trump and burn it all down.

Since then, the Bush team has flat out refused to acknowledge this reality and instead chosen to burn down the Rubio camp, hoping against hope that willing bleach drinkers will have second thoughts and accept Jeb’s campaign instead of downing Clorox. It is not going to happen when there are still so many other alternatives.

Jeb Bush is not getting a fair shake. He is attached to a last name from which voters are ready to move beyond. The mere connection to his family name and base of family donor support has made grassroots activists insane and driven them into the welcoming embrace of Donald Trump. Fair shake or not, however, the Bush campaign is just not viable and the only people who seem not to notice it are in the Bush campaign.

His campaign ticks on and consultants continue to profit.

Jeb Bush’s supporters have spent $15 million on slickly produced ads to win over Iowa voters. Barely registering in the polls and increasingly desperate in the shadow of the Iowa caucuses, he’s now trying a cost-free, personal tactic: hugs.…

Right to Rise has spent more than $24 million on ads contrasting the former Florida governor with one or more of those three, most often Rubio, data from advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG show. That’s on top of a tidal wave of millions of dollars of mail to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire opposing Rubio, Kasich and Christie — sometimes all three at once, expenses documented in Federal Election Commission reports.

Over at BuzzFeed, McKay Coppins has a profile of Mike Murphy, the man running Right to Rise.

If Donald Trump ends up on stage this July formally accepting the GOP presidential nomination, don’t be surprised if everyone from Washington Republicans to Twitter conservatives gathers outside the convention arena in Cleveland to burn Mike Murphy in effigy.

The problem with this story is that Jeb Bush put Mike Murphy in that position. If Trump ends up on stage this July, Murphy only enabled it because Jeb Bush enabled Murphy. It’s a heck of a thing to behold.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts