For a few months now, Jeb Bush's campaign has been insisting that the Jeb! Comeback is on, and that the media should get on the ground floor of this amazing narrative. And it's a nice thing for the media to do to comfort some of the cycle's most downtrodden Americans -- Jeb's donors. Here's how the comeback is going.
Right To Rise, a super PAC that supports Jeb Bush and asks us all to be respectful in this time of trouble and continue pretending to believe that it doesn't coordinate with the campaign, has been entrusted with the lion's share of Jeb's nominal war chest. So, from time to time, it has to -- you know -- "do stuff," so that all of Jeb's megadonors don't think the entire Bush operation is sitting around in a room, gently weeping.
And so, the group has decided that the time is ripe to really ridicule Marco Rubio, a man whose political career Jeb once championed. What did it come up with? Well, it made a video.
Now, Jonathan Chait cautions that it's pretty easy for political scribes to "dismiss it high-mindedly," and that this ad stings because it depicts Rubio as a weak fancy-boy. Bush has "finally figured out how to attack Marco Rubio," Chait says, but it's an open question as to whether finally figuring out how to attack Marco Rubio has any real utility at this point.
Additionally, Jeb seems old and slow and a step behind the zeitgeist, mining a silly story from last week (Marco's wee booties!) that moved through the bowels of the news cycle at Taco Bell chalupa speed, and which was done and dusted in the political consciousness by the time happy hour ended last Friday evening.
Also! It's just a really amateurish effort from the candidate who's supposed to be able to mobilize the full force of one of America's most powerful political family's capital to continue their presidential hegemony. My God, to look at this you'd think that Bush's team just got into politics last week.
See what I mean? For the casual viewer, this spot raises far more questions than it answers. Where did they find a guy to dance around in boots? Who agreed to sing this? And those lyrics! "You keep spinnin' when you oughta be truthin'?" Wow. I like to imagine the moment when the Right To Rise interns hit on that.
INTERN ONE: Oughta be...oughta be...GOT IT: "truthing."
INTERN TWO: Yes! Let's high-five!
[they high five]
INTERN ONE: Wow, we always find something, you know, to give us the impression we exist.
INTERN TWO: Yes, yes, we're magicians.
INTERN TWO: I'm so cold.
But more than anything else, Bush is trailing the frontrunners in Iowa and New Hampshire -- who are not Marco Rubio -- by double digits. Is it wrong of me to wonder why Jeb's team is spending millions bashing Rubio and complaining about his record? I wonder what Jeb's communications director thinks about all of this.
This has been the Jeb! Comeback Watch for Jan. 12, 2016. Jeb Bush is currently in fifth place in Iowa (4.0 percent), sixth place in New Hampshire (7.8 percent) and fifth place nationally (5.3 percent).