The applause line for Jeb Bush at CPAC last Friday came from folks his handlers organized in an email campaign. Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary obtained a copy:
A group of JEB! ’16 supporters are heading out to National Harbor to support Governor Bush during his speech at CPAC next Friday, 2/27. We’re working on having a location at CPAC for Governor Bush to visit with supporters after the speech. If you have friends or co-workers who support the Governor, please encourage them to attend as well. Let’s show the nation that Governor Bush’s proven conservatism and leadership is what America needs right now.
Please plan on being there by noon as we want to make sure every supporter is able to get a seat for the Governor’s speech, which will be approximately 1:30pm.”
Leary provides a photo of Bush with his supporters during a selfie session in which the supporters look like a bunch of insiders and lobbyists. That’s because they are.
The email was provided to the Tampa Bay Times by one of the organizers, who disputed the characteriztion in some reports that the troops amounted to Astroturfing. “Far from that, it was Jeb alumni who wanted to help the cause. I think the haters are mad because us being able to flood CPAC with 500 people illustrates the depth of the network and the passion that Jeb Bush invokes.”
Other republicans really weren’t impressed. Matthew Boyle reports in conservative website Breitbart News:
Trying to rig the CPAC straw poll “is a cynical effort by Bush’s establishment campaign to attempt to build some conservative bona fides where none exist,” a second rival presidential effort staffer told Breitbart News. “Since they don’t have legitimate conservative support they have to pay for it in a transparent AstroTurf effort.”
“This shows one thing: Jeb Bush’s base is D.C. insiders and lobbyists,” an operative for a third potential GOP presidential rival said. “He has to bus them everywhere he goes. They are his only hope, that they can buy him this election every step of the way. True conservatives need to stand up and fight back.”
The Bush machine is a creation of its operator, who is quite the operator and has been for some time. A Matt Dixon story titled in the Naples Daily News as “Jeb Bush, Nigeria and the FBI: How a Business Deal Soured” is an expose of Bush’s rainmaking before he became governor.
Bush can claim to be an education job creator, but only of insiders and lobbyists. They now thrive in education policy think-tanks, test-making companies, software sales and as part of the expanding class of edu-crats who staff state and federal departments of education. They showed up at CPAC on Friday.
If only such a talent base would choose the classroom. But Jeb neither wants nor needs them there. Teachers don’t show up at his rallies at his beck and call on a week day. They’re in the classroom, teaching.