If there’s one thing Jeb Bush wants to show Republican primary voters worried that the presidential candidate isn’t quite so conservative, it’s that he really loves making spending cuts.
“We reduced the government workforce by 13,000, 11 percent, during my eight years,” he bragged in June when discussing his gubernatorial career. “The ultimate disruption of Washington is to reject, as I do, the whole idea of a government forever growing more, borrowing more, and spending more – beyond anyone’s ability to control or even comprehend,” he announced in July. In August, he tweeted, “I cut state spending more than anybody. I’ll do it in DC too.”
And now Jeb Bush is showing that he not only knows how to drastically cut costs in government, he is capable of showing off those same slashing skills with his own campaign!
The Bush campaign announced today that it plans on cutting payroll costs by 40 percent, while also trying to save on travel and other nonessential spending. The campaign’s Miami headquarters will also be downsized.
Bush’s campaign is so good at slimming down that this is the second time it has done so in the past two months.
The Bush campaign has also successfully shrunk the rest of its campaign in the past few months — even the high expectations his candidacy faced earlier this year have been diminished. However, all of this seems less like gonzo budget-inspired performance art and more like additional proof that Bush realizes that winning a presidential nomination might be harder than he originally bargained for.
The former front-runner’s poll numbers have fallen to the single digits, and his fund-raising obviously hasn’t been impressive enough to sustain a giant campaign. On Thursday, Megyn Kelly asked Bush, “What would it take to make you get out?” a question only a few degrees away from Wolf Blitzer’s recent query for former Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee (“So at what point will you drop out?”).
It’s not clear if Bush’s super-pac has also suffered from some downsizing — it was once raising so much money that Bush asked donors to stop giving so much — as super-pacs won’t let anyone peek at their ledgers again until the end of the year. It was also unclear if Bush also planned on slashing mentions of his brother’s record on foreign policy or attempts to comment on pop culture from his campaign — or if there was a chance he might be forced to mimic the example of past candidates and try to win Iowa with only a truck and his wits.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has declared war on the many super-pacs supporting him. He sent nine of them letters this week, asking them to just leave him alone because, as a man worth $10 BILLION, he does not require their assistance.
Earlier this week, the Make America Great Again super-pac sacrificed itself for the greater making-America-great cause after a report in the Washington Post showed that the organization and the Trump campaign seemed awful friendly. Trump released a statement on Friday that noted “I have disavowed all Super PAC’s, requested the return of all donations made to said PAC’s, and I am calling on all presidential candidates to do the same.”
The candidate who is now beating Trump in Iowa, on the other hand, is neither restructuring his campaign nor fighting with his super-pacs. He’s not even really campaigning at all, as he is on book tour. Ben Carson doesn’t get why everyone thinks that’s weird, though. He told NPR, “Honestly, anything that you do when you’re running for president is campaigning, to a sense, because it’s going to be seen that way.”