Give Jeb Bush this much credit — he didn’t have a super-PAC launch this full-out attack ad aimed at Donald Trump. It comes directly from his own campaign, and from his own Twitter account, for that matter. The latest (and perhaps one of the last) ads features Jeb’s effective moment in Tuesday’s debate, bolstered by video evidence of his points. Does this add up to a ‘chaos candidate,’ as the ad labels Trump, or just a politician who will say anything to get elected?
And which of those conclusions would be worse for Trump, anyway?
Donald Trump versus Donald Trump:https://t.co/AFqAgs9hd6
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 17, 2015
Given the erupting feud between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz over who said what and when about immigration and who had their fingers crossed behind their back, some of this might lose its impact. It feels a little more like an attempt by Bush to rebut Trump’s debate facial expressions by juxtaposing corroboration around Jeb’s attacks. That’s fine, but it may be irrelevant to Trump’s loyal fanbase, because they’re seeking a “chaos candidate.” That’s why this might have been better framed as “Just Another Politician” instead, but that might be a little rich coming from the scion of a political dynasty.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza thinks Jeb should start running this as a TV spot ASAP:
This is Bush at his best and Trump at his dismissive, shallow (from a policy perspective) worst. But, it’s only a web video — posted on Twitter. While that means that every reporter will see it, which may be the goal, it means that the average voter, who doesn’t keep Tweetdeck open on a second screen all day, won’t.
Bush should immediately put this ad on TV in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. As I’ve written before, he badly needs to destabilize the race in order to have any chance at winning it — or at least being relevant in it. And, the best way to destabilize the race is to take a flamethrower to Trump.
This ad does that. And, no, it’s not on TV. “Right now it’s a web video,” confirmed Bush spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger.
That’s the Bush campaign’s problem in a single sentence. They continue to misunderstand that their candidate is not in a position to sit back and see how things play out — with Trump or anyone else. He is down and almost out. Taking risks isn’t optional, it’s a necessity.
Taking risks was a necessity in August. It’s almost pointless now, at least in terms of winning the GOP nomination. Bush is too far behind the leader and there are too many people in front of him. However, as I suggested after the debate this week, that may no longer be Bush’s goal, or perhaps more accurately, not the priority among his donors. They may see taking down Trump as the imperative now, and hoping to catch a ride with another candidate when the right moment emerges.
Speaking of which …
Major donor just told me he's switching to @GovChristie & donated to his super PAC b/c "He's smart. He’s not a big mouth blow-hard.”
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) December 18, 2015
Ken refused to say which candidate the donor supported before the switch, but I can take a pretty good guess.