What a world without Baby Hitler might look like

10 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bush, Rubio Appear to Court Scott Walker Ahead of Wisconsin Debate.

As Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s poll numbers dropped, his supporters sought to assuage doubters by pointing to a campaign machine built to out-muscle less organized competition in March, the most frenetic and consequential stretch in the party’s five-month primary race. Seething with anger and alarmed over Marco Rubio’s rise, aides to Jeb Bush and his allies are privately threatening a wave of scathing attacks on his former protégé in the coming weeks, in a sign of just how anxious they have become about the state of Bush’s candidacy.With Jeb Bush dropping in the polls, the Clinton machine is starting to worry that Rubio could prove to be a formidable opponent in the general election.

News that Jeb Bush’s allies intend to unleash holy hell on Marco Rubio — highlighting the 44-year-old Florida Republican’s lack of accomplishment and hard-line approach on abortion — arrived a day before the 4th GOP debate. It was first posed in a poll by The New York Times Magazine, when a plurality of respondents said they, too, would kill baby Hitler if they could before he turned into a murderous Nazi leader.

The cash-rich group aiding Jeb Bush’s White House run has filmed a provocative video casting his rival Marco Rubio as ultimately unelectable because of his hard-line stand against abortion. Back in the days when Hillary was doing her slow crawl towards a presidential campaign, the general feeling among her advisors and allies was that once the Republican circus dust settled, their opponent would be Jeb Bush.

That group, which has raised more than $100 million, has asked voters in New Hampshire how they feel about Rubio’s skipping important votes in the Senate. The logic was history—the GOP tends to eventually settle on the early front-runner, the one who had the most money and party support, as its nominee. They paint a picture of a top-heavy campaign with plenty of endorsements that’s still waiting for the candidate to turn on the ignition. “You can buy all the people you want, but it doesn’t make voters vote for you,” Brent Buchanan, an Alabama political consultant, said in an interview. “He’s just not connecting with people like his brother did. And that was seen as mostly good news in Clintonworld, as Bush was the only plausible contender who appeared to neutralize the right’s anti-Clinton talking points.

He met Walker’s brother backstage at the Burlington event, and he’s already secured the support of Walker’s sons — two prolific campaigners for their father. Rubio was in its sights. “Part of running for president is you have to put your big boy pants on and get vetted on the issues, so we know we don’t have a dud candidate running against Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Jeb Bush helped raise $100 million for this Super PAC. It’s an important and potentially persuasive argument: March is the month when the presidential campaign shifts from a retail operation focused on meeting voters in living rooms and high school gyms to a nationwide marathon with elections in multiple states each week. A Walker endorsement would be a boon for any candidate, providing both a handful of major donors that still remain undecided and valuable staffers in early states. In a memo released along with its quarterly fundraising totals in October, campaign manager Danny Diaz noted “substantial investments in data and grassroots operations across the February and March states,” highlighting the campaign’s on-the-ground presence in “key early battlegrounds” of Illinois and Michigan, where voters go the polls in early March.

They are also telegraphing a warning that has already reached many of Bush’s donors: Such an assault, they argue, would be beneath the dignity of the Bush name. In an October interview with Bloomberg Politics, Mike Murphy, a longtime Bush adviser who heads the Right to Rise super-PAC, referred to March as “the real deal” in the race for delegates. And Bush should focus on resurrecting his own candidacy, they say, not on trying to tear down Rubio, who they contend represents the future of the Republican Party. A presentation to donors at an Oct. 26 summit in Houston said the campaign had 45 “volunteer operatives” in states with March nominating contests. Even Mitt Romney told donors at a private meeting in New York that, “a Bush can’t beat a Clinton.” And best of all, because Jeb hailed from Florida, he would be unlikely (or legally unable) to run with Marco Rubio, whose Cuban heritage and campaign charisma would make him a potential game-changing veep pick.

There was a list of more than 10 national committees announced or in formation, including one that claimed to have engaged on more than 300 college campuses. Some supporters of Bush are publicly urging restraint. “At the end of the day, wisdom dictates that an internecine fight between the two is unnecessary, and potentially damaging to both,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Bush fundraiser.

As Bush sputtered out of the gate, Clintonistas still believed he would eventually right his ship, much as Mitt Romney and John McCain did before him. The Wisconsin governor was initially seen as an attractive candidate for both the conservative and establishment wings of the GOP, before dropping out in large part due to his campaign’s flagging poll numbers, lackluster debate performances and poor fundraising momentum. Bush’s team has also rolled out campaign committees with dozens of names from across the country, with the aim of portraying a vast network helping the former governor. An endorsement from Walker, the son of a Baptist minister who frequently touted his faith on the campaign trail, would likely come with a boost of support from evangelical Christians.

We are a little worried about the possibility that it may be Marco, and the possibility of Trump is too delicious to even speak about out loud too much’” said one donor who attended. But the preoccupation with Rubio is revealing, suggesting not just fury at his challenge to a former mentor, but also a conviction that rivals like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have no chance of winning and will collapse in time for Bush to rise again.

And Rubio’s campaign is beefing up its outreach to evangelicals with the hire of Eric Teetsel, the executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, a faith-based advocacy group focused on pro-life, marriage, and religious liberty issues. Chavez-Knapp’s home state of Texas is the biggest prize on March 1, when a total of 624 delegates are available to win, the single biggest day of voting in the Republican primary. The negative email hits on Bush from the campaign’s surrogate organizations, like its SuperPAC and the Democratic National Committee have slowed to a trickle. “There is a moratorium on hitting Jeb,” said one Democratic operative, who, like most of the dozen aides, operatives and donors contacted for this article insisted on anonymity since Clinton is still mired in a primary. “We want his numbers to go up. Under the headline “Marco is a risky bet,” the memo, which surfaced on Oct. 29, said that Rubio “has never been in charge of anything larger than two dozen people.” No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity.

Yet, in contrast with Donald Trump or Marco Rubio, Bush wasn’t able to find a full slate of delegates to run on the ballot by Friday’s deadline. “It’s been hard to recruit people to run because of how his numbers have gone,” said Chris Brown, an Alabama Republican strategist who worked for the Florida Republican Party when Bush was governor. Rubio presents a youthful contrast to a woman who has been in public life for a quarter of a century, and can make his own case for a pathbreaking candidacy of his own right. Representative Adam Kinzinger, whose district includes those areas. “Obviously we have to admit the last few weeks haven’t been the best few weeks,” Kinzinger said, adding that since Bush’s team restructuring, “there’s a lot more interaction with the campaign.” Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, who, like Kinzinger, has endorsed Bush, said he’s urged the campaign to focus on the so-called collar counties that form the Chicago suburbs as well as the city itself. Is this a guy ready for the world stage?” Over the last several political cycles, experience has been more of a bane than a boost–just ask John McCain. Bush has made several campaign stops in Virginia, and is sending a surrogate to an upcoming Virginia Beach Republican Party meeting, said Ken Longo, chairman of the local party.

But Democrats say that this is a different moment–that after sixteen years of newcomers in the White House finding themselves flummoxed by the ways of Washington, voters will at last turn to someone who knows how to turn the gears of power. Rubio, Democrats say, has scarcely been tested on the national stage, and in a general election setting will have a harder time sliding out from under tough questions. Senator Lamar Alexander’s former chief of staff, in Tennessee; Eric Tanenblatt in Georgia, who was one of Mitt Romney’s key operatives in the state’s 2012 primary; and Jonathan Felts, a former White House policy director, in North Carolina. Even if he captures the nomination, Democrats wonder if Rubio will be able to capture the imagination of rank-and-file Republicans in the same way that he seems to have captured the imagination of the media. Bush is the only candidate, as of Oct. 1, to have teamed up with i360, a data warehouse built by the Koch political operation to help Republican candidates turnout conservative voters at the polls.

I don’t know if their electorate is ready for him.” Clintonworld Democrats also say that they will largely stick to the same script they have been reading from in the primaries–that Clinton is the politician who will fight for the middle class, and will try to paint Rubio as just a fresh face on a deeply conservative set of policies. And Democratic jaws dropped at the first Republican debate when Rubio said that he doesn’t support abortion even in cases of rape or incest. “I think he is going to be easy to beat,” said one Democrat working on the 2016 campaign. “I just think Jeb would have been a little easier, but Republicans seem to have given up on him.”

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