Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jeb Begins To Face The Reality That There Won't Be Another Bush Presidency Any Time Soon


As Trump was delighted to remind everyone in an ad, Jeb's mom, when asked how she felt about him running for president responded that, "There are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushes." Apparently, the vast majority of Republican primary voters agree. The most recent national GOP polling-- from ABC and the Washington Post-- shows that registered Republican voters put Jeb in 4th place with 7% (down 1 point since September)-- just ahead of Ted Cruz (6%) and just below Marco Rubio (10%) and leagues behind Trump (32%) and Carson (22%). In Iowa things are even worse. The new Quinnipiac poll of likely GOP caucus goers shows Bush struggling to stay in 6th place-- tied with Fiorina at 5%. And in New Hampshire , the newest polling shows Bush way behind frontrunners Trump (24%) and Carson (17%) with just 10%. in 3rd place. And neither South Carolina nor Nevada looks likely to save the day for him. In Nevada Jeb's in 5th place-- behind Trump, Carson, Fiorina and Rubio-- with 6% and in South Carolina he also has 6%, which places him in5th place behind Trump, Carson, Rubio and Fiorina, just ahead of Ted Cruz and homeboy Lindsey Graham at 5% each. And even in the state where he was governor, Florida, he fails to break into double digits (9%) and is left behind by Trump (21.7%), Carson(19.3%) and Rubio (15%).

Maybe his son, 39 year old George P. Bush, a charter school business executive who was just elected Texas Land Commissioner, will be the next Bush to try. Jeb's toast though. All this talk about his one strength-- his ability to access his families money connection-- starting to falter is not helping. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the "struggling campaign" is cutting expenses like mad-- because of donor pressure.
The campaign is removing some senior staff from the payroll, parting ways with some consultants, and downsizing its Miami headquarters to save more than $1 million per month and cut payroll by 40 percent this week, according to Bush campaign officials who requested anonymity to speak about internal changes. Senior leadership positions remain unchanged.

The campaign is also cutting back 45 percent of its budget, except for dollars earmarked for TV advertising and spending for voter contacts, such as phone calls and mailers. Some senior-level staff and consultants will continue to work with the campaign on a volunteer basis, while other junior-level consultants, primarily in finance but including other areas, will be let go, the officials said. The officials declined to say who would be removed from the payroll or provide an exact dollar figure for the savings.

...Analysts and rival campaigns will view the changes as a desperate act, perhaps the last one, of a man whose campaign has dropped in the polls in recent months and has remained mired in the middle of a crowded field despite a month-long blitz of friendly television ads. None of the changes deal directly with what even many of Bush's supporters say is his main challenge: The burden of trying to convince voters hungry for change to choose a man whose father and brother both served as president.

Officials said the changes-- the second time the campaign has cuts its payroll this year-- will enable them to shift more resources into New Hampshire, where the campaign has the largest operation in the state, and other states where early voters begin casting ballots in February. There will be more volunteers and surrogates for Bush, which the campaign refers to as “friends of Jeb,” on the ground to help in a state that his brother lost in 2000 and his father won in 1988.

This is right on the heals of a Wall Street Journal report that the family "financial network is mostly disengaged and splintered-- and his campaign stock is falling...[I]t remains striking Mr. Bush hasn’t been able to galvanize support from what would seem a natural base."
Nearly half of the leading donors to his brother’s 2004 re-election who are still alive appear to be on the sidelines, while about 15% have peeled off to a dozen other candidates, including Mr. Christie and Mr. Rubio, according to a Journal review of Federal Election Commission filings. (Super PACS haven’t reported donations since June 30.)

Only about one out of four of George W. Bush’s “Rangers”-- those who raised at least $200,000 in 2004-- have each bundled at least $17,600 for his brother’s campaign, according to a list released last week. Another 15% have given to a super PAC backing Mr. Bush or made a smaller donation.

The Wall Street Journal contacted dozens of these donors, many of whom have helped fund and steer presidential campaigns for decades. Some are Bush family friends from the centrist wing of the GOP who are inclined to support the business-friendly former Florida governor, yet only a fraction have jumped into the campaign in earnest.

Several of these donors said they are disgusted by the circus-like atmosphere dominated by Mr. Trump, and see Mr. Bush as an uninspiring candidate, despite his qualification.

“When I see him on television, he seems like he’s stumbling,” said Travis Thompson, a former Ranger and GOP national committeeman from Hawaii who hasn’t committed to a candidate. “The fact that he did an excellent job in Florida isn’t turning people on.”

The bundling system Mr. Bush’s brother used so successfully is showing its age, as campaigns figure out how to raise large sums from a pool of small, online donations.

Only 7% of the $13.3 million Mr. Bush raised in the past three months came from contributions under $200. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who ranks second in national polls of Republican voters, saw 60% of the $20 million he raised in the same period come from donations of $200 or less.

In the Wall Street Journal poll, Mr. Bush’s support fell to 8% from 22% in June. Among Republicans who want the next House Speaker to seek compromise-- a natural audience for Mr. Bush, who pitches himself as a can-do pragmatist-- he is receiving support from only 11%. And his appeal among tea party Republicans has deteriorated, from 10% in June when he was leading overall to 4%.

But money isn't Bush's only problem. He spent more on TV advertising in New Hampshire than any other candidate and his numbers have actually fallen!
“With such a heavy spend, the Bush campaign was undoubtedly hoping for a bounce,” said Doug Usher of Washington-based Purple Strategies, which conducted the poll Oct. 15-18. “But their candidate is closer to Rubio, Fiorina and Kasich than to the top tier, and his favorables are moving in the wrong direction.”

There's virtually no good news in the poll for Bush, who early on in the race was thought to be a better fit among New Hampshire's more moderate voters than in more conservative-leaning, early states like Iowa and South Carolina. Besides a declining favorability rating, the poll shows his positions on immigration and national educational standards are troubling to roughly half of likely primary voters,  he lags on questions of empathy and authenticity and he's the second-choice pick of just 6 percent.

...Bush's 57 percent favorability rating among Republicans is below Carson at 74 percent, Rubio at 68 percent, Fiorina at 67 percent and Trump at 58 percent... When asked to pick the candidate that's the most conservative among Trump, Carson, Rubio, Fiorina, Bush, Christie, Cruz and Kasich, Cruz easily wins, with 26 percent of likely primary voters picking him.
This morning at Vox, Matty Yglesias made the perfectly logical point that if Jeb "cares about his family legacy, the good of the Republican Party and the ideological principles he espouses, he should drop out as soon as possible and endorse Marco Rubio." The alternative is a GOP wipeout in November, 2016 when the nominee is either Trump, Carson or Cruz. "All the conventional candidates in the field-- Bush, Rubio, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and even Bobby Jindal-- have something of an obligation to ensure that they don't collectively do so much to divide the establishment that they let an outsider in... [F]or months now the Bush campaign has gone nowhere but down. The more people see of Bush, the more they feel "meh" about him. If he quits now for the good of the party, people will say he was a good man driven by a strong sense of duty and noblesse oblige. If he waits for months as his public support continues to bleed away, he'll be humiliated."

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At 7:56 PM, Blogger tamtam said...


Maybe Dubs wasn't the dumbest Bush after all. He singlehandely wrecked the family name, thus preventing his brother from getting the nomination!


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