The Jeb Bush hatchet man who might accidentally elect Donald Trump

The critics argue that Murphy recklessly enabled Trump’s rise last year by cavalierly dismissing him as a “zombie frontrunner” and stubbornly refusing to use the vast war chest at his disposal to take the billionaire down. (“Trump is, frankly, other people’s problem,” he said when asked about it in August.) Meanwhile, the super PAC went on to spend approximately $30 million on attack ads targeting Marco Rubio — a candidate many (including Bush donors) believe to be the party’s last best hope to stop The Donald. In spite of it all, Murphy shows no signs of letting up: in the final sprint to Iowa, Right to Rise has reportedly spent nearly $1 million per day hammering Rubio on everything from his immigration record to his insufficiently masculine boots…

“The real question of this campaign is whether Mike Murphy wants to spend down to the last dollar just to destroy Marco Rubio,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist based in Florida. Suggesting that Murphy’s unwavering commitment to the failed ad blitz might be infusing Bush with false hope, Wilson added, “Maybe I’d be a lot richer if I just always told my clients the ads were working when they weren’t.”

“I have a lot of respect for Mike Murphy, but I have no idea what the hell he is doing right now,” said another strategist.

A third GOP operative who is neutral in the 2016 race even floated a far-fetched theory that Murphy is holding his fire on Trump because he wants the billionaire’s future business. (In fact, Right to Rise did eventually end up running some anti-Trump ads, though the $5.5 million behind the effort is a pittance compared to the group’s seemingly bottomless kill-Marco fund.)