I continue to think [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] is on trajectory to be the next President of the United States in a nomination fight against [mc_name name='Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)' chamber='senate' mcid='R000595' ] and George W. Bush may have just handed the whole race to Cruz.
Multiple people have told the Politico that at a fundraiser in Colorado for Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush lit into [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ]. Cruz could not have paid for such a sterling moment for his campaign.
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that more Republicans, upwards of 40%, say they would never, ever vote for Jeb Bush for President, which is more than those who say that about Donald Trump. Along comes the former President in a season of "we've already had two Bushes" to promote his brother by bashing [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] as "opportunistic" and self-interested.
The GOP is still wrestling with immigration reforms started by the Bush administration, TARP, the GM bailout, John Roberts, and more. Conservatives have grown more and more hostile toward Jeb Bush and his brother's legacy. So it does not help George W. Bush to give a back-handed endorsement to [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] as the antithesis of Bush Republicanism.
What's more, in the continuing scenario where I see Cruz vs. Rubio as the logical outcome of this, Bush also dinged Rubio, but not nearly has hard as he slammed Cruz.
More troubling, I am not aware of George W. Bush criticizing Barack Obama as intensely as he has criticized his Republican Senator in Texas.
What President Bush is doing is signaling that he thinks [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] is the major threat to the Republican Establishment and the candidate the Establishment fears the most. In a election year where the outsiders are beating the insiders, this will only help Cruz. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll -- the same one showing strong anti-Jeb sentiment -- Cruz had made no gains over last month. I expect this news will help him tremendously.
I also think this is another data point in why Jeb Bush walking away from the race would profoundly shake up the race in ways no other candidate leaving would.
[mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ] could not pay money for this kind of publicity in this kind of election year.
As an aside, it is a really damning indictment on the maturity of those in the room who showed up to help Jeb Bush that they'd run off to the press and mouth off about what a former President said behind closed doors while being completely oblivious to the fact that it would actually help [mc_name name='Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)' chamber='senate' mcid='C001098' ].
The Republican Party simply does not understand its voters any more.