A funny thing happened on the way to the coronation. Establishment favorite, Jeb Bush, morphed from the 800-lb gorilla in the race to the huge, not-very-bright, and slow moving wildebeest at the waterhole.
With his polling mired in single digits in most places and his campaign losing senior fundraisers, Jeb’s campaign is looking less like a juggernaut than a huge source of votes to be pillaged. Earlier in the month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hit Bush for refusing to sign the no-tax pledge by Americans for Tax Reform:
Christie also went after Bush over his refusal to sign prominent conservative Grover Norquist’s famous pledge not to raise taxes, which almost every other Republican presidential candidate has signed. Americans for Tax Reform, the group Norquist heads, announced Wednesday that Christie had signed the pledge.
“I wonder why Gov. Bush won’t sign the pledge,” Christie said. “It doesn’t make any sense. If your record is consistent with that, and your philosophy is consistent with that, which mine is, I saw no problem with that.”
Christie, who probably sees himself as the logical beneficiary of a widespread Jeb Bush unraveling, has also attacked Bush on his immigration statements. Carly Fiorina has hit Bush over his comments about the funding of women’s health.
Wisconsin Governor, who’s slide in the polls in Iowa is more akin to an Himalayan avalanche, is the latest to take aim at Bush in an ad that calls into question Bush’s conservative credentials:
Walker now joins New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has been citing Bush for being “irrelevant” and “AWOL” during the big conservative struggles of the past six-and-a-half years.
The growing sense among non-Bush campaign professionals is that Bush offers Trump a convenient and powerful foil that starves the rest of the race of exposure. Walker is now joining the attack and clearly hopes to gain attention by taking on the GOP field’s top money raiser.
And, of course, Bush is demonstrating that he won’t hit back at attacks so it become a very low risk enterprise to take a shot at a candidate few people like who won’t defend himself.
The campaign is shaping up in a way that indicates the consensus is that Jeb Bush is the ‘high value target’ to be eliminated. Knocking Rick Perry or [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] out of the race isn’t worth the effort in terms of money or ill will accrued in the process. They will both ‘self deport’ from the primary process soon enough. Bush, on the other hand, provides a walking proxy for the big money cronyism that has the GOP base exercised this year. This will only get more interesting as Bush’s fundraising falters, as his donors go to other candidates, and he gets desperate.