Jeb Bush launches a December offensive. Is he too late?

The Bush team's anti-Trump web ad, 'Chaos Candidate,' aims to build on what they see as their candidate’s strong performance in this week’s debate. 

David Becker/Reuters
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (l.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are seen debating on video monitors in the debate press room during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Jeb Bush is making a late December push to climb back into relevance in the GOP presidential race. His problem is that he has fallen so far behind it may be too late, even if he is able to rebuild a bit of momentum.

The Bush team is trying to move onward from what they think was their candidate’s strong performance in this week’s debate. At the Las Vegas word-off, Bush went hard after Donald Trump and, by some accounts, actually got under the Donald’s rhino-tough skin. At least a bit.

The campaign has compiled some of these moments into a sort of greatest-hits page on its web site. And it’s produced a web ad called “Chaos Candidate” that matches comic Trump faces with actual Trumpian pronouncements, such as “ISIS is not our fight," and that he gets foreign policy advice from “the shows." (He meant “Meet the Press” and other Sunday news shows like that.)

The ad is pretty good. It paints Trump as a buffoon and shows Bush acting in what for him is a high-energy manner.

“We need someone that thinks this through, that can lead our country,” Bush concludes in the spot.

The punditocracy’s Mr. Savvy – Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post blog The Fix – judged the one-minute ad Bush’s “single most effective moment of the 2016 campaign."

Too bad the ad is only scheduled to run on the Internet at the moment, instead of actually appearing on television in a key place like New Hampshire, where Bush is in fifth place with 8.7 percent of the vote, according to RealClearPolitics.

In addition to all this, the Bushes have unleashed their family Kraken, meaning that they have begin edging George W. Bush into the campaign.

On Friday, President W. took part in a conference call with top donors, according to The New York Times. Bush 43 said that he was “upbeat” about the chances of his brother winning and that Jeb had displayed “vision” in last Tuesday’s debate.

“Jeb is a candidate who is peaking at the right time, I guess is the best way to put it,” said brother George, before excusing himself to go shop for Christmas presents.

Does Jeb Bush still have a path to winning the nomination? Well, if you squint, and imagine that Mr. Trump implodes while Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz fatally damage each other, and Chris Christie proves too liberal for Republican primary voters, then you can just see a winning path. It’s pretty narrow though.

But maximizing his chances of winning may no longer be Bush’s goal – or to be more accurate, may no longer be the goal of his top donors. That’s the view from right-leaning pundit Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

He suggests they are more interested in a possible kamikaze mission against Trump.

Establishment donors “may see taking down Trump as the imperative now, and hoping to catch a ride with another candidate when the right moment emerges."

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