Apparently W doesn’t care much for Ted Cruz, as he was the only candidate that he trashed at a Jebby fundraiser. But for what it’s worth, he sees Cruz as the biggest threat to Jeb, not Donald Trump:
POLITICO – Inside a sleek Denver condominium, George W. Bush let a hundred donors to his brother’s campaign in on a secret. Of all the rival Republican candidates, there is one who gets under the former president’s skin, who he views as perhaps Jeb Bush’s most serious rival for the party’s nomination.
It isn’t Donald Trump, whose withering insults have sought to make Jeb pay a political price for his brother’s presidency. It also isn’t Marco Rubio, Jeb’s former understudy who now poses a serious threat to his establishment support.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said Sunday night, according to conversations with more than half a dozen donors who attended the event.
One donor in the room said the former president had been offering mostly anodyne accounts of how the Bush family network views the current campaign and charming off-the-cuff jokes, until he launched into Cruz.
“I was like, ‘Holy shit, did he just say that?’” the donor said. “I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised.”
“The tenor of what he said about the other candidates was really pretty pleasant,” another donor said. “Until he got to Cruz.”
Bush took a harsh view of Cruz’s apparent alliance with Trump, who stood with the senator at a Capitol Hill rally last month in opposition to the Iran deal. While Trump, the current GOP poll leaders, has attacked most of his competitors in the 2016 field, he has avoided criticizing Cruz.
One donor, paraphrasing the former president’s comment in response to a broad question about how he viewed the primary race and the other Republican candidates, said: “He said he found it ‘opportunistic’ that Cruz was sucking up to Trump and just expecting all of his support to come to him in the end,” that donor added.
While Jeb Bush’s campaign is spending far more time of late pushing out information that contrasts favorably with Rubio, his oldest brother seemed to see Cruz as the biggest threat in the end. According to several donors, the former president said not to doubt Cruz’s strength.
“He said he thought Cruz was going to be a pretty formidable candidate against Jeb, especially in Texas and across the South,” a donor said.
Cruz’s campaign declined to comment.
Bush also cast Cruz’s candidacy as an exercise in personal gain, not service. “He sort of looks at this like Cruz is doing it all for his own personal gain, and that’s juxtaposed against a family that’s been all about public service and doing it for the right reasons,” a donor said. “He’s frustrated to have watched Cruz basically hijack the Republican Party of Texas and the Republican Party in Washington.”
Well for all that Bush did to keep us safe, he was still a big spender with his ‘compassionate conservatism’ and remains the former leader of the GOP establishment. Cruz is antithetical to the establishment which is why I like him so much and why Bush doesn’t like him so much.
But I’ll say this. It will be great enjoyment for me if Bush has to eat all of his words and support Cruz next year as the nominee of the party. That’ll be the greatest payback of all.