Yesterday, I wondered why the Bush Super PAC, Right to Rise, that cash guzzling behemoth that has blown through the GDP of a small nation, was crowdfunding a Super Bowl ad rather than just buying it outright. Was it an attempt to be young and edgy? Or is Right to Rise, as I suspect, nearly broke? A lot of other people are asking similar questions:
A prominent donor to Jeb Bush pressed the chief strategist of the “super PAC” supporting Mr. Bush over the group’s negative ads about Senator Marco Rubio during a closed-door meeting in Manhattan on Friday, according to three people familiar with the encounter.
Mr. Volpert said he was concerned about the way in which the money he was giving to the super PAC was being spent, according to the person who witnessed the exchange. Mr. Murphy responded that the group had run many positive ads about Mr. Bush, and that now the race had reached the point that required contrasts. The exchange lasted a few minutes, and no one else raised concerns among the group, according to the attendee.
There are several moving parts to this story.
First, Right to Rise is about electing Jeb Bush. Jeb is a sorry candidate out of step with the electorate and zeitgeist. The only reasonable chance Jeb has is tearing down Rubio, Kasich, and Christie and hoping their voters coalesce around Jeb. Now 99% of this strategy is just hoping against hope. But it is really the only arrow left in the Jeb Bush quiver... other than quitting.
Second, Right to Rise donors are about electing Jeb but they are more about electing someone who will represent their interests. To the extent that Right to Rise is attacking Rubio, which the GOP donor class would gladly accept as a candidate and other establishment friendly candidates it is working against the interest of the donors. What they don't want is a moribund Bush campaign that killed Rubio on its way out.
Third, only one guy raised questions but you can bet he didn't ask those questions without extensive backchannel communications to other donors about their concerns. They don't want the headline to be that they are panicked, but they are panicked and looking for the exits.
Fourth, the New York Times is concerned. They are as well aware of Hillary Clinton's manifest weakness and burgeoning legal problems as we are. It a Republican is going to win, they want it to be Bush. Failing Bush, a Rubio presidency would be their choice in demeanor and reasonableness. They are, essentially, warning Right to Rise that their attacks on Rubio are not appreciated and setting the narrative for how the Bush campaign ends and the employability of Mike Murphy.