Jeb Bush to big donors: I'll be your guy -- give all your money to me

Why did Jeb Bush announce(-ish) his presidential intentions so early? Inside a play to top establishment donors

Published December 16, 2014 7:00PM (EST)

  (AP/Jacquelyn Martin/Manuel Balce Ceneta/Photo collage by Salon)
(AP/Jacquelyn Martin/Manuel Balce Ceneta/Photo collage by Salon)

So Jeb Bush, of Lehman Brothers fame, has "decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States." Good for him. Here's a question: What the hell does that even mean?

Bush announced his intentions to actively consider the possibility of considering his intentions in a Facebook post this morning. It starts off with a few sentences about his family's Thanksgiving, where he ate food and watched football -- heh, good ole Jibby -- before abruptly segueing into more pressing matters, like how his all-American football-loving clan can regain control of the national power apparatus:

We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.

That's right, reader, he wants to have a conversation with you, and you, and you too!, and me? All we ask for is a few hours notice to clean up the house before he stops by to talk about whatever a Jeb Bush talks about.

Jeb Bush does not want to talk to any of us, but it's kind of him to pretend. This is a signal to the pool of major establishment donors that he's serious about running and they shouldn't throw their lot in with those other candidates who might seek his slot. Why he's even setting up a makeshift repository, in the form of a leadership PAC, into which they might throw some million-dollar bills they find under the sofa cushions.

Bush is telling them not to give their money to:

• Chris Christie, who, if he runs, will be vying for the same pile of dough -- let's call it the "Wall Street Journal CEO Council" money. Christie is in a difficult situation now. He wants to run for president and is willing to torture however many pigs as necessary to prove his mettle. But all those people who begged him to run in 2012 may be more interested in Jeb Bush, their private equity blood brother and considerably less of a loudmouth. Poor Chris Christie, heh.

• Mitt Romney, who may really want this thing? Romney's line for a while was, oh, well, maybe if Jeb Bush doesn't do it, he can slot himself into the moderate-seeming business Republican stable and take all the money. Now that Jeb Bush has shown that he is, barring some shocking change of heart, going to do it, will Romney be fine with that? Will he be upset?

• Marco Rubio. Sorry, only one establishment-type immigration-loving Florida warlord guy allowed!

There has been "chatter" among the class of top establishment donors about trying to clear the field and rally around a single establishment, big-business Republican. Jeb Bush, by half-announcing in mid-December, is trying to tell them that he's their guy.

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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