Of all the jokes and failures of this election cycle, the biggest has to be the Jeb Bush SuperPAC Right to Rise, which boasted a $100 million budget that was supposed to sweep away the entire competition before the race even started, but managed only to push Jeb Bush to 2% of the polling on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.
Right to Rise’s failures have been the subject of much discussion, from its inexplicably late spending to its bizarre messaging choices to its utter failure to acknowledge Donald Trump as an existential threat and negatively define him early. But the futility of Right To Rise doesn’t end there. Among its bizarre decisions has been its insistence on trying to savage other candidates running the “establishment lane” of the party, under the strange assumption that if Jeb Bush was left as the only establishment candidate in the pack that voters would eventually abandon their flirtations with Trump/Cruz/Carson and settle for Jeb. As I have often noted before, the the fact that the establishment candidates combined never exceeded 25% of the total vote in public polling should have clued in both mainstream pundits and Right to Rise strategists that it was more important to bring disaffected voters back into the establishment circle, if possible, than to fight for the establishment’s scraps.
But the capstone on the pyramid of failure that is Right to Rise has to be its last, desperate attempt to take down Marco Rubio of all people at this late date–and its utter failure to do so.
The super PAC supporting former Florida governor Jeb Bush plans to keep up its advertising assault on onetime protege Marco Rubio and other establishment-friendly GOP presidential candidates, ignoring calls from many Republicans to focus on Donald Trump instead, according to people familiar with its strategy…
The group’s spending — $64 million so far on ads and mailers — has provoked a sharp backlash among allies of the senator from Florida and some top GOP donors, who say it should be aiming its substantial firepower at front-runner Trump or the Democratic candidates.
Not only can everyone in politics see that this strategy is perverse and misguided even from Jeb Bush’s personal interest as a candidate much less the health of the Republican establishment as whole, but it didn’t even work. Rubio still trails Trump and Cruz by significant margins, but his poll numbers have been improving, including in the final Selzer poll in Iowa:
Mainstream Republicans, faced with seeing governors Jeb Bush and Chris Christie stalling and the grim reality looming of a victory by a smash-mouth game show host or an ultra-conservative obstructionist, have gravitated toward Marco Rubio. The young-looking, first-term U.S. senator from Florida is now at 15 percent. Still, Trump gets more of their support.
What an epic disaster for an organization that was supposed to be the biggest, baddest, best funded SuperPac behemoth on the block. If anything, it goes to show that the GOP establishment isn’t just utterly incompetent when it comes to managing public policy. It can’t even do a basic job of affecting its own internal elections.