Right to Rise USA, a Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush for president, has opened an attack on Marco Rubio. In a newly released ad that’ll be played in Iowa, the PAC blasts Rubio for missing key national security briefings in the Senate.
The ad charges that Rubio didn’t participate in important national security hearings after the attacks in Paris and San Benardino. “Where was Marco?” the narrator asks rhetorically about the hearing following the attacks in California. “Fundraising again in New Orleans.” It continues:
Over the last three years Rubio has missed important national security hearings and missed more total votes than any other senator. Politics first: that’s the Rubio way.
As Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel points out, it’s rather interesting that Team Jeb! chooses to attack Rubio now; a guy who’s at best in fourth place in Iowa and third nationally. Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to go after frontrunner Donald Trump and the surging Ted Cruz?
Hot Air’s Allahpundit asks the same question and answers it convincingly:
The strategy here is to blow up Rubio early, even before New Hampshire, so that he limps into that state with lots of doomsaying media buzz around him. If Rubio finishes fourth in Iowa behind Cruz, Trump, and also-ran Ben Carson, the press will be calling him a paper tiger as late deciders in New Hampshire start to decide. In theory, that’s going to tip would-be Rubio voters towards Jeb, who’ll finish strongly in NH and then use the “comeback!” coverage to claim he’s the consensus center-right choice in a three-way race with Trump and Cruz.
The only problem with this strategy is that Rubio’s supporters are likelier to get behind New Jersey Governor Chris Christie than Jeb. Especially so if they believe Jeb! brought down their guy.
This means that Jeb! will also have to attack Christie soon. His only hope is to nuke every other establishment candidate out there, making him the last moderate Republican standing in a three-man battle with Trump and Cruz. In that scenario, Jeb has at least a shot at going all the way to the convention. It’s doubtful that he’ll be able to get enough support to actually become the nominee, but if there’s one thing the Bush clan doesn’t do, it’s give up. They’d rather destroy every other Republican candidate than to lose face.
Jeb’s attacks on Rubio are unfair, because the senator sits on the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, meaning that he receives far more information than the Senate in general. He doesn’t have to be present at Senate hearings; he receives the same information and then some due to his position on the committee.