“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
Jeb Bush has virtually no chance of winning the Iowa caucuses — but his team wants to make sure Marco Rubio doesn’t do too well there either.
On Tuesday, the Bush-allied Super PAC Right to Rise USA released a new negative ad attacking Rubio — and, according to the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs, the ad will air on Iowa television.
The ad itself is a pretty misleading attack on Rubio for missing a Senate briefing on terrorism to fundraise (Rubio actually attended a similar briefing days earlier, one that included classified information).
What is interesting about the ad, though, is that Bush’s team is airing this attack on Rubio in Iowa, a state Bush himself has basically already conceded, rather than just focusing on New Hampshire, a state Bush desperately hopes to win.
But this move by Bush actually makes a lot of sense — because any good news for Rubio out of Iowa would be terrible for Jeb Bush.
THE leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination include eight more or less distinguished politicians, such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, and two men, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, with no political experience and some odd ideas. Mr Trump wants to deport 11.3m people in two years; Mr Carson thinks being gay is a matter of choice and the Affordable Care Act the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery”. Polls suggest these greenhorn screwballs command more than half the Republican vote.
To understand why Americans are so fed up with politicians, it would be reasonable to start with the government shutdown of September 2013, when the failure of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass a budget led to about 800,000 federal employees being sent home for 12 days and the mothballing of numerous government programmes and services. This was estimated to have cost the economy $24 billion in lost output; it also hurt the Republicans.
At the time, almost half of Americans said the shutdown had cost them and most blamed the GOP—even if the nation’s disdain for Congress at the time was a lesson in bipartisanship. Only around a quarter of voters, Republican or Democratic, said they were satisfied with their congressional representative.
You might think the Republicans, now in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, would want to avoid a repeat of that embarrassing, damaging episode. Yet the prospect of another shutdown looms. Lawmakers have only 12 days to pass a fresh budget for the fiscal year beginning on October 1st; or, if they cannot, to sign off on a stopgap agreement, called a “continuing resolution”, which would maintain the current rates of expenditure for three or four months. Their progress is discouraging.
Tune out Wednesday’s Republican debate? We have you covered. In the video above, we whittled the near-three-hours’ worth of GOP banter down to one easily digestible 90-second serving. From Carly Fiorina taking home another w, this time on the main stage, to a (slightly) more subdued Donald Trump and a pot toking Jeb Bush, it was a, uh, big night for the Republican Party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
And if you’re concerned with whether or not the real issues entered the discussion, have no fear—we found out who Jeb would put on the new $10 bill. Hint: She’s not American. A curveball, we know.
Online video posted by former Florida governor criticizes opponent’s earlier statements; Trump returns fire
Jeb Bush, who dubbed himself a “joyful tortoise’’ in his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination, has had enough of the tough-talking hare in the 2016 race.
After weeks of enduring rival Donald Trump’s attacks, Mr. Bush on Tuesday released an Internet video aimed at trying to muscle his way back to the front of the pack and undermine the celebrity businessman’s fitness to be the GOP standard-bearer.
The video uses years-old interviews in which Mr. Trump contradicts his 2016 platform by calling himself “very pro-choice,” proposes raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, says he “probably identifies more as a Democrat,” and praises former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential front-runner.
Mr. Bush also assailed Mr. Trump as “not conservative”—in both English and Spanish—during a visit to a Miami school on Tuesday and in a Fox News interview, signaling that his campaign now views the businessman as a legitimate threat who isn’t going to implode without external fire.
Mr. Bush’s decision to engage Mr. Trump carries risks. He quickly drew a retort from Mr. Trump, who has drawn widespread attention by shooting from the hip on social media and in frequent national television appearances.
The move comes amid weak poll numbers and concerns that Bush’s torrid fundraising pace has slowed.
Three top Jeb Bush fundraisers abruptly parted ways with his presidential campaign on Friday, amid internal personality conflicts and questions about the strength of his candidacy, POLITICO has learned.
There are different versions of what transpired. The Florida-based fundraising consultants — Kris Money, Trey McCarley, and Debbie Alexander — have said that they voluntarily quit the campaign and were still working with Bush’s super PAC, Right to Rise Super PAC. Others said the three, who worked under the same contract, were let go because they were no longer needed for the current phase of the campaign.
None of the three immediately responded to requests for comment. Bush spokesman Tim Miller would only say that “Governor Bush has the widest and deepest fundraising operation of any candidate in the field. Ann Herberger — a longtime aide with more than two decades of experience in state and national politics — will continue to lead the operation in Florida with our team in Miami.”
One source attributed the departures to personality conflicts in the campaign, some involving Bush’s finance team.
“They were glad to go. This wasn’t a shock to anybody,” said one campaign source. “There were just some personality problems. It happens when you have a big organization like this, a big campaign. Some of the national people are tough to work for.”
Alexander, Money and McCarley have deep and longstanding ties to Florida’s GOP power structure. Money is close with former House Speaker Will Weatherford, McCarley’s part of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s political team, and Alexander has been a member in good standing of Bush’s operation since he was governor.
“They raised a lot of money out of Florida. A lot,” said the campaign source. “So if anyone says they didn’t quit, it’s not true. They’re still working for the super PAC as well. This is not about them,” said one source. “This is about the campaign.”
Sinking in the polls and struggling to gain traction in New Hampshire, the New Jersey governor could be relegated to the “kiddie table” debate next month.
He was supposed to be the brash, blunt New York-area candidate who told it like it is. Then came Donald Trump.
Chris Christie, the voluble New Jersey governor, is once again facing the possibility that he might be relegated to the junior varsity debate — and rival Republican campaigns and outside observers say his window to re-enter the top tier of presidential candidates is closing fast.
Wednesday night’s scene in New Hampshire showed the daunting challenge ahead of Christie. As CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC covered Trump’s first town hall live — breaking only to run clips of Jeb Bush attacking the real estate tycoon — Christie was gasping for air on C-SPAN. Because the governor’s dimly lit event — a town hall at a restaurant outside of Manchester — was outdoors, the few viewers watching saw the candidate gradually disappear into darkness. The next day’s headlines duly focused on the Jeb-Donald contretemps, ignoring Christie’s play for a state he has made central to his fading White House hopes.
“He’s just not getting the traction that I think he was expecting,” said Andy Seale, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.
Christie has become such an also-ran that the Associated Press and the New York Times recently reassigned reporters dedicated to covering Christie — Jill Colvin and Kate Zernike — to other beats.
Then there are the polls.
If current trends hold, the New Jersey governor will likely lose his spot in the primetime CNN/Reagan Library debate on Sept. 16, displaced by a surging Carly Fiorina. As of mid-day Thursday, Christie was in 11th place among GOP presidential contenders in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls — behind Trump, Bush, Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Fiorina, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. John Kasich, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
On Wednesday six GOP candidates for president—Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie—sat on a stage in a Londonderry, New Hampshire, high school to talk K-12 education policy with former CNN anchor-turned-“education activist” Campbell Brown. The New Hampshire Education Summit, sponsored by the school choice advocacy organization the American Federation for Children and hosted by Brown’s glossy new school-reform website, the Seventy Four (both, it is safe to say, are sympathetic to right-leaning education proposals currently in vogue), gave the six GOP candidates who showed up 45-plus minutes each to expound their views on K-12 education. The result was a daylong school-choice lovefest. Here’s what the candidates covered (hint: race, class, and poverty seldom made the cut).
The opening act was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was far more comfortable and commanding than at the Republican candidates debate last week. Bush, the (dubiously) self-proclaimed “education governor,” has well-known views on education, and he didn’t deviate from the formula much. He supports vouchers, which he claims didn’t “destroy public education—that’s a myth that was shattered by Florida,” and the general marketplace-driven competition of the charter movement: “The public schools have to get better or they close. This is America.”
When Brown veered to Common Core, Bush joked, “What’s that?” before coming out in veiled support of some form of state-derived standards (which are the same thing as the Common Core standards, since governors derived them). “We can’t keep dumbing down standards,” he said, then reminisced about his Spanish AP teacher at Andover who, in forcing him to read Cervantes and Borges his sophomore year, taught him that “high expectations matter.”
Jeb Bush delivers a foreign policy address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Aug. 11, 2015, in Simi Valley, California. Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images
Most presidential candidates who deliver a “major foreign policy address” have something original, potent, or insightful to say. On Tuesday night, as with most other aspects of his campaign to date, Jeb Bush defied expectations.
His 40-minute speech, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, was a hodgepodge of revisionist history, shallow analysis, and vague prescriptions.
The history—his effort to hide the scar of his own family history—was where he placed most of his chips, and he lost them all. As a preface, he admitted that “no leader or policymaker” got “everything right” in the Middle East, “Iraq especially” (his single indirect acknowledgment of his brother’s mistakes). But, he added, “one moment stands out in memory as the turning point” of the war in that country—namely, the “surge,” which “turned events toward victory.”
“Why,” he asked, “was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq?” The “fatal error,” he answered, was the “premature withdrawal” ordered by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who “stood by” as our “hard-won victory” was “thrown away” in “a blind haste to get out”—leaving a vacuum that Iran and ISIS filled.
Bush got a crucial fact wrong in this chronicle: His brother’s administration—not Obama’s—signed the status of forces agreement, on Nov. 17, 2008, which stated, in Article 24: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”
Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, is not among the 10 Republicans running for president who will take part in the first primetime TV debate.
Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker will take the stage in Cleveland on Thursday night with seven rivals.
Fox News selected the 10 most popular Republicans based on five national polls, excluding Mr Perry and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
Those two and five other candidates will take part in an earlier debate.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum reacted angrily to his omission.
“The idea that they have left out the runner-up for the 2012 nomination [Santorum], the former four-term governor of Texas [Perry], the governor of Louisiana [Bobby Jindal], the first female Fortune 50 CEO [Carly Fiorina], and the 3-term Senator from South Carolina [Graham] due to polling seven months before a single vote is cast is preposterous,” his spokesman said.
In contrast, Mr Perry tweeted that he was looking forward to being on Fox at 5pm for “a serious exchange of ideas and positive solutions to get America back on track”.
The main debate takes place four hours later at 9pm local time (01:00 GMT).
All eyes will be on hotel tycoon Mr Trump, who leads the polls and has made headlines with outspoken r`emarks about many of his rivals.
Three days before the first Republican presidential debate, where Jeb Bush will go head to head with the man who displaced him at the top of the polls for the first time, Bush’s campaign released a proposal for immigration enforcement. This is not a coincidence. Bush and his campaign are trying to protect themselves against attacks from the right on immigration, from Donald Trump and basically every other candidate in the race, over his support for legal status for unauthorized immigrants currently in the US.
But simply opposing “amnesty” doesn’t automatically secure the border. Bush knows how border security actually works better than the Donald Trumps of the world — he literally wrote a book on it — and this proposal, for the most part, is a more sober, realistic plan for preventing unauthorized migration than his opponents are likely to make.
Instead of making promises that the government can’t keep, Bush is focusing on interior enforcement — where the US really could be doing more — instead of border enforcement, where there isn’t much more it can do. The takeaway: If you cared more about preventing unauthorized migration than about looking tough, here’s what you would do.
Bush believes that comprehensive immigration reform is the best way to prevent unauthorized migration
“Comprehensive immigration reform” is a catchphrase for a three-part policy: increased immigration enforcement both at the border and in the interior of the US, to prevent future unauthorized migration; a way for unauthorized immigrants who are alreadyin the US to stay (usually via a path to legal status and ultimately the ability to apply for citizenship); and reforms to legal immigration. The theory behind the policy is that it’s the best way to “secure the border” and end unauthorized migration: it’s a lot easier to preventunauthorized migration than it is to root out 11 million people who’ve been here for years.
That seems to be what Bush is proposing here, too. The end of his campaign’s fact sheet says (emphasis added), “These six proposals, when combined with a rigorous path to earned legal status, would realistically and honestly address the status of the 11 million people here illegally today and protect against future illegal immigration.” It’s not a full-throated endorsement of the comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed in 2013, but it’s an important note: These proposals aren’t supposed to work in a vacuum.