Jeb Bush has a Biff problem, as Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has demonstrated time and again, but if you need any more evidence that the former Florida Guv is weaker than day-old Sanka, you’ll find it in the recent tale of how Marco Rubio lied (he really didn’t). It all started when Rubio’s campaign decided to humblebrag about how they have more cash on hand than the fifth-runner-up, which is true:
Here's why Marco Rubio's campaign has more cash in the bank than Jeb Bush for President: https://t.co/eYNZ7gFX48
— Alex Conant (@AlexConant) October 15, 2015
At the end of the 3rd quarter, Rubio’s cash-on-hand was $11 million, to Bush’s $10.3 million. That’s more. But if you take away donations that can’t be used in the primaries, that must be used in the general election, Bush has more. Rather than point this out as a technical flaw in Rubio’s argument, Bush’s flack decided to call Rubio a liar:
Lying about budgets. Guess Marco picked up something in the Senate. https://t.co/mCSILB3VjK
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) October 16, 2015
I gotta admit, it’s a baller move to hit back that hard when even after you’ve “unskewed” Rubio’s press release, you’re still only beating the guy by point-three-million. No, this loser isn’t beating us, we’re, like, tied!
So, Miller is wrong about Rubio, but if you’re Jeb Bush, and somebody asks you about it, there are really only two acceptable responses. You can do a Bernie and defend Rubio by saying your flack went way overboard, and it’s obviously a technical difference at best. That’s a strong move because it shows your loyalty to a friend is above petty politics, and you’re not afraid to tell your own people to shut the hell up.
Or you can go “Well, yes, he lied, and integrity matters, and blah, blah, blah!”
Instead, when asked about his flack’s accusation by Jake Tapper, Jeb went with option 3:
Tapper: “Them’s fightin’ words, Governor.”
Bush: (sighs) “Yeah, I’m not into all that, but, uh, he kinda misled people about his fundraising results, that’s fine.”
First of all, you’re “not into all of that? ” It’s not acoustic-alternative K-pop, Jeb, it’s the election. This isn’t some niche side-topic. And if you’re going to intimate that yes, Rubio did lie, then you can’t then say it’s “fine.” Jeb has somehow found a way to take weakness and cube it. His problem is that he doesn’t want to look bad, but he also doesn’t know how to look good.
Elsewhere in the interview, Tapper asked Bush about a new ad calling into question the wisdom of giving Donald Trump nuclear weapons, and Bush was finally ready to say that, gosh, maybe that wouldn’t be good, which only served to remind people that it took him a month to get to that point. When Tapper asked him that at the debate, Bush’s response was “I think the voters will make that determination.”
Oh, really, Jeb, you mean Jake Tapper thought you got to decide it, right there on the stage? Thanks for clearing that up.
Look, you can either be the good guy who won’t attack anybody, or the other guy, but especially with Republicans, you can’t be the mother-in-law who stage whispers at the table that you’ll just let others decide if someone’s good enough. Nobody likes that guy.