Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeb! makes it official ... by gimleteye

Mr. Bush’s advisers and allies once predicted that he would emerge as the dominant Republican in the 2016 campaign, fueled by his record of conservative accomplishment as Florida’s governor, his popularity at the end of his time in office and the fund-raising prowess of the Bush family network. But now they are resigned to a far longer and uglier slog for him in the Republican nominating contest.

“The operative word inside the campaign is patience,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party leader and longtime ally of Mr. Bush. “As people get to know him, things will get better.” New York Times, June 15 2015

Even the New York Times has fallen into the narrative making rounds on the 24/7 news cycle: Jeb has real competition from a younger generation of candidates like Marco Rubio. Scott Walker.

It’s a fiction that sells newsprint and keeps eyeballs on TV news. Jeb Bush! will be the Republican nominee for president.

So far, it is all shiny surfaces. Like Jeb’s “curiousity”. Or his intent to run a "joyful" presidential campaign.

Thanks to money, it is inconceivable anyone but Jeb Bush will be the GOP nominee in the 2016 presidential race. He is the proven entity to GOP financiers who shape elections. It will be as Eye On Miami predicted earlier on: Marco Rubio will lead the roller derby pack, elbowing the competition out of the way, until Jeb Bush! can be swung to the front. Who knows, maybe even Scott Walker will be the one to swing him forward.

So today, an official campaign kick-off will provide sound bites and chances for Jeb to rehash the fiction he hasn't been running but now he is. Jeb Bush! made sure hundreds of millions of unlimited campaign contributions found their way from anonymous donors into superPAC's before he had to bring the pretense to an end.

We know Jeb Bush! at Eye on Miami and have little enthusiasm for his record as governor. For eight years we observed Jeb Bush! in motion and there is no reason to believe otherwise: if elected to president he would use the same ill-tempered and judgmental approach to problem-solving at a national scale as he did as governor. (cf. New York Magazine's recent feature on Jeb!)

Now GOP voters are being asked to believe that Jeb Bush! has been reborn as a leader who found “joy” since leaving the governor's mansion in Tallahassee. In a general election, that will not fly. Based on evidence and the record, Jeb was a divider not a uniter. He saw no need to even acknowledge those who dissented with his policies.

His mode, to make policies fit predetermined outcomes, matches exactly what the biggest Republican donors like the Koch Brothers and Big Sugar want.

The winnowing of the 2016 field of GOP candidates won't have to do with ideas or personality. It will be about who can marshall the money to convey messages framed around twenty second television spots.

It will be Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton and the narrative of political dynasties. One can tell that story in 20 seconds. Get ready for billions to be spent telling it.


Gimleteye said...

The FEC’s cry for help
Washington Post
By Ruth Marcus Columnist June 12

It has come to this: The chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a fellow Democratic commissioner have filed a petition asking their own agency to do its job.

Don’t hold your breath.

It’s not news that the campaign finance system is out of control. It’s not news that the FEC has watched, haplessly, as candidates and their super PACs have made a mockery of individual contribution limits and as a torrent of unreported “dark money” sweeps through a system premised on disclosure.

The conventional narrative places the blame on the Supreme Court and its 2010 Citizens United ruling, which, along with subsequent decisions, paved the way to unlimited independent expenditures by corporations and bands of wealthy individuals (via super PACs).

But this account both overstates the ruling’s significance and neglects to hold the FEC to task for failing, even in the difficult post-Citizens United legal landscape, to perform its enforcement and regulatory functions.

Recall, even before Citizens United — indeed, since the high court’s landmark 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo — the justices made clear that the First Amendment protects the ability of wealthy individuals to spend unlimited sums of their own money to promote (or oppose) individual candidates. The catch has been that these expenditures are supposed to be (a) disclosed and (b) made independently of candidates.

Ha and ha.

Disclosure has become more or less optional. If you want to influence an election and don’t want your fingerprints on the spending, just employ the mechanism of a nonprofit organization operating under the fiction that it is a “social welfare organization” for which politics is not the primary activity. Such “dark money” accounted for nearly one-third of outside spending in 2012.

Independence is similarly fictional, particularly with the emergence of the candidate-specific super PAC. These entities exist for a single purpose — to promote a candidate rather than any party or ideology. They are run by the candidate’s allies and advisers, and the candidate can headline its fundraisers as long as he or she doesn’t directly solicit the big check.

Was this what the justices contemplated in Citizens United? “By definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate,” observed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, dismissing concerns about corruption.

Ha again. (cont)

Gimleteye said...


A functional FEC — the ultimate bureaucratic oxymoron — could have averted a good deal of this damage. The FEC has never been a model of effectiveness; it was deliberately created to have six members, equally divided between the two parties, to avoid any risk of partisan tilt.

But since about 2008, the previous era of FEC gridlock has begun to look like the golden age of activist enforcement. Republican commissioners selected by Sen. Mitch McConnell, an ardent foe of campaign finance reform, have essentially balked at doing anything but the most skeletal enforcement and regulation — and that may be a charitable assessment. One measure: The agency collected under $600,000 in fines last year, less than half the 2013 total and a record low, according to the New York Times.

“We’re heading into an election where we know we’re going to see hundreds of millions of dollars raised and spent in ways designed to keep the American people in the dark about where the money is going to be coming from,” Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told me. “Candidates are interacting with outside spending groups in ways that defy any rational definition of what coordination and independence mean. And here at the FEC we couldn’t even find agreement that foreign pornographers shouldn’t be spending money to influence American voters.”

The FEC, Chairman Ann Ravel told the New York Times in May, is “worse than dysfunctional,” and speaking with me, she echoed that bleak assessment.

“I’ve never been in a situation where people do not appear to support the mission of the agency,” she said of Republican commissioners. “On any issues that I think are the most significant matters that the commission faces . . .there is not one chance that the Republicans will provide a fourth vote for those issues.”

Hence the extraordinary move by Ravel and Weintraub to prod their own agency. They ask it to write rules to ensure “dark money” disclosure and super-PAC independence.

On one level, this is a stunt, doomed to fail. On another, it’s an understandable plea for public attention. The Supreme Court notwithstanding, many of the problems with our campaign finance system could be fixed, if the public insisted that those entrusted with policing this mess actually perform their duty.

Read more from Ruth Marcus’s archive, follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her updates on Facebook.

Geniusofdespair said...

If it comes down to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in the primary, it would be a Sophie's Choice for me.

Anonymous said...

The scarlet letter fiasco will take them both down in the general election. You won't be looking at that choice in the primary.

Anonymous said...

None of the above is needed more then ever on the ballot

Anonymous said...

When it comes down to it, most people already know who they will vote for. All hail President Clinton. A few republicans are trying to figure out who they want to vote for who will lose. In the mean time, everyone has figured out running for president is not about trying to be president, its about making money for friends and family until the next presidential election rolls around.