Great new Jeb Bush strategy: attack Trump

jeb bush shirtsleeves

Desperate times call for desperate measures… or just for desperation.

Via The Hill:

Jeb Bush is trying to get off the mat and prove his mettle to the Republican Party after a tough summer.

No longer the front-runner, Bush has reset his campaign strategy and is now directly engaging Donald Trump, in part to show that he’s capable of the political knife-fight it takes to win.

It’s a risky plan and a complete departure from his previous strategy. But in the end, donors and strategists say, Bush had no choice but to attack.
Bush’s biggest donors are cheering this new strategy, though some more nervously than others.

One of the more bullish donors is California investor William Oberndorf, who says there is “no time like the present” to start fighting back against Trump. Oberndorf has already sent a $1 million check to Bush’s super-PAC, Right to Rise.

The real problem here is the same that has confronted Jeb Bush since he announced his candidacy. And to a great extent it is the same that confronts Hillary Clinton. You can’t look at the political landscape and find any group, other that GOP plutocrats and consultants, who are attracted to Bush. Some of that is his name. Some of it is that he hasn’t had a conservative thought in the past decade. Some of it is that you don’t get the sense that he actually wants the job.

One is really unsure how this strategy is supposed to work. While he blames Trump for the downward trajectory of his campaign, the most probable beneficiaries of his hemorrhaging support are Ben Carson and John Kasich. The only logical reason for him to think this makes sense is the realization that Trump is dominating media coverage and the only way he’s going to get noticed is by attacking Trump.

Earlier in the week, Bush released his first attack ad on Trump’s previous positions and drew in return a brutal linkage of his referring to illegal immigration as “an act of love” to a series of murders by illegal aliens. When Bush attacked Trump in Spanish for not being a conservative, Trump’s riposte was that Bush should “set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”Now Bush has responded:

A defiant Jeb Bush struck back at Donald Trump on Thursday, declaring in English and Spanish that he would campaign with “los brazos abiertos” — arms wide open. It was an admonishment of Trump’s suggestion to Breitbart News on Tuesday that Bush should refrain from speaking in Spanish and “set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”

Earlier in the day during an interview with ABC News, Bush said that he “laughed” when he first heard Trump’s comments, saying, “I mean, this is a joke.” He also said that Trump “doesn’t believe in tolerance” or the “things that created the greatness of this country.”

Does Jeb Bush seriously want to make “English should be the official language” a campaign issue and be on the opposing side?

The problem with Bush’s attacks is that he always saves that final round to shoot himself in the face. Let’s assume, arguendo, that Bush killed Trump’s “speak English” gibe in that convoluted response. Transport your self to a Bizarro World where at this point a crowd of manufacturing workers are cheering and chest-bumping Bush’s defense of speaking Spanish, this is how he finishes up. From the same article:

While agreeing that criminals ought to be kicked out, Bush pushed back, reiterating his belief that most migrants are “coming to provide for their families.” The Florida Republican stated that he would not “ascribe bad motives for people that are trying to provide for their families” and he would not “change his views,” which he didn’t “view as appeasement.” Factory employees in the crowd audibly bristled at Bush’s answers to questions about immigration plan and Obamacare. Employees sat in the crowd with blank stares as he answered questions with lengthy, specific, technical answers.

Nearly 60% of the nation is in favor of deporting every single illegal. Who are you appealing to when you label Trump, who right now epitomizes that view, as intolerant for believing that?

It is difficult to see what Bush thinks he can accomplish with this strategy. He is not an attack-dog by nature. Christie, Cruz, and Jindal could all trade attacks with Trump and probably hold their own but Bush is the quintessential party man. His responses are late, they are ill-conceived, and they play into the very worst stereotypes people hold of Bush.