Some real sparks are flying in the Republican universe over the attack ad that Donald Trump launched and Jeb Bush’s counterattack. I think Jeb Bush wins in this exchange.

Why?

First of all, with the lousy news coverage Bush has gotten in the past few weeks, an acknowledgement from Trump that Bush is his chief competition is probably a good thing.

Second, Bush’s sentiments on immigration generally and his emotional connection to Mexico specifically are already well-known among Republicans. I don’t think this ad changes anything. Also, I think it is an overreach. Trump’s ad attempts to link Bush’s gentle tone and practical approach to immigration reform with the actions of horrific murderers everybody knows Bush would actually send to the chair if he could. Plus — and Trump and his campaign probably don’t get this — at this stage in the game, the Republican primary race is actually composed of a relatively small number of informed observers and participants. Most Republican activists won’t buy the message this ad is selling.

AD
AD

In the meantime, the Bush counterattack ad hitting Trump vividly recalls what a non-Republican Trump has been on a lot of the big issues that matter most to Republicans. Trump is still something of a blank canvas, but all his bluff and bluster can’t hide who he really is and what positions he has taken on issues in the past.

At the end of the day, Republicans are going to nominate a good, conservative Republican for president in 2016. They are not going to go outside the party or abandon the core principles and beliefs that make up the Republican DNA. The bottom line is that Jeb Bush hit Donald Trump harder than Donald Trump hit Jeb Bush.

Speaking of honorable and decent, I call your attention to something that appeared in Hillary Clinton’s e-mails about House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). In the latest batch of Clinton e-mails released last night, her confidant Sidney Blumenthal said — in part — that Boehner, who has risen from decidedly middle-class obscurity in Ohio to become the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is “louche, alcoholic, lazy and without any commitment to principle.” Seriously? After those kinds of accusations, you might be asking, “So, what kind of guy is Sidney Blumenthal?”

AD
AD

Well, here is all you need to know about Sidney Blumenthal: At a certain level, I believe Bill Clinton is a good judge of people, and here’s what he thought of Sidney Blumenthal. Bill Clinton thought Sidney Blumenthal was the kind of guy he could go to and tell that Monica Lewinsky was the aggressor, that she was coming on to him. Clinton knew a) that Sidney Blumenthal would believe it and b) that he would spread that lie around.

That is all you need to know about Sidney Blumenthal. We all know the type. Enough said.

AD
AD