My God, he’s gone full RINO.
This is a little like Darth Vader vowing to outlaw Death Stars.
“If I could do it all again I’d eliminate the Supreme Court ruling” Citizens United, Bush told CNN’s Dana Bash. “This is a ridiculous system we have now where you have campaigns that struggle to raise money directly and they can’t be held accountable for the spending of the super PAC that’s their affiliate.”…
In order to overturn the court ruling, Bush has said he would seek a constitutional convention, where he would also push for term limits and balanced budget amendment.
Bush reiterated his comments in a speech Monday afternoon.
“The ideal situation would be to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that allows for … unregulated money for the independent and regulated for the campaign,” the former Florida governor told a Luncheon in Nashua, New Hampshire. “I would turn that on its head if I could.”
It’s hard to tell from that if he’s saying he wants a cap on contributions to Super PACs, which would threaten the First Amendment in addition to being highly, highly ironic, or if he’s saying we should do away with caps on contributions to campaigns and let the candidates receive as much money as people want to donate. Bush’s spokesman clarified on Twitter:
Re: campaign finance. Jeb's view is ideal system would be no limits to campaigns, full transparency in 48 hrs. Has said all campaign
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) February 8, 2016
If all he wants is unlimited contributions to campaigns, why would he need to overturn Citizens United rather than simply extend its logic to direct contributions? Overturning the ruling would drain Super PACs of their funding without doing anything for the candidates themselves. Ah well. Either way, sounds like Bush is trying to distance himself from Right to Rise and Mike Murphy, who’ve taken a beating for (a) failing to move Jeb’s poll numbers despite having spent many millions in trying and (b) attacking Rubio, allegedly the center-right’s best hope for the nomination, rather than Trump. I’m going to guess Jeb’s bothered more by the first failing than the second, partly because he’s attacked Rubio harshly himself this week as an unproven neophyte who’s never been tested and partly because he’s already expressed surprise publicly at least once on how R2R is spending its dough.
I was w/ Jeb Bush yesterday as he drove past a pro-Bush billboard in Des Moines. "What the hell is that?" he asked. "Is that Right to Rise?"
— Jason Noble (@jasonnobleIA) January 13, 2016
Maybe he’s just setting us up for the big “MURPHY BLEW IT” pile-on by Bush loyalists once he’s out of the race. Or maybe he’s winking at centrists in New Hampshire here by voicing what sounds superficially like a Democratic talking point, even though the substance of his proposal is the opposite of what the left recommends on campaign finance. Ranting about Citizens United is something you’d expect from Bernie Sanders, and Jeb Bush has a powerful incentive to sound a bit like Sanders over the next 48 hours: Namely, because Sanders is expected to win easily in New Hampshire, left-leaning independents there may decide to vote in the GOP primary to give some of the more centrist Republicans in the race a boost. Kasich, for instance, is going all out to pander to Democratic crossovers today, telling one liberal townhall attendee this morning who said she was trying to decide between him, Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, “One of them’s too hot, one of them’s too cold, but I’ve got the right temperature.” Could be that Jeb’s trying to generate a headline here that might get him an extra look from that crowd, provided they don’t read further and see what his plan is for money in politics.
Speaking of which, another choice Bush soundbite from earlier today:
“My pledge to you: When I’m president I will not blame Barack Obama for a single thing,” he told listeners at the Nashua Country Club in Nashua, N.H. “The day that I’m sworn into office, I’m on watch — whatever it is.”
“I am really tired of politicians that blame their predecessors,” the Republican White House hopeful added. “I have a personal kind of feeling about it having watched it for a while.
“I hope you want a president who actually accepts accountability and responsibility but also has the skills to fix the mess that exists. I hope you want a leader who’s focused like a laser beam on the mess in Washington, D.C.”
Honestly, I’m not sure who the target audience for that message is. The headline, that he won’t blame Obama, seems geared to attract independents and Democrats, except that he’s actually complaining about Obama’s own propensity to blame Dubya in the rest of his remarks. On the other hand, if he’s pandering to Republicans, how many Republicans would agree that Obama will deserve no blame for the state of America’s affairs in 2017 and 2018, when the press will inevitably be attacking a Republican president for not having achieved enough yet? I suppose he’s trying to set up a “leadership” contrast with his old nemesis Marco here, keying off Rubio’s now famous line at the debate about how Obama knows exactly what he’s doing by insisting that, as a mature leader, he won’t resort to finger-pointing. Er, okay, but I don’t know who the constituency for that is supposed to be in a highly partisan primary.
Also, he’s also taken to calling Trump a loser today, on the evening before Trump almost certainly wraps up an easy victory in the first presidential primary, with Trump responding by calling Jeb an embarrassment to his family. So we’ve got another four months of that to look forward to in case Jeb shocks the world and finishes a strong second tomorrow night.