This is an interesting choice: Right to Rise, the mammoth pro-Jeb Bush super PAC, released an ad focusing on all the stuff he vetoed as Governor of Florida. It’s has the effect of making him look like a bit of a douche. Just a touch.
The ad focuses on a nickname Jeb’s evidently quite proud of, “Veto Corleone,” so named because of his drastic cuts to the state budget:
“If he didn’t like a project, it was going to be vetoed,” says a lobbyist, sunnily.
“If he saw something in the budget that he thought violated his conservative principles, you could guarantee it was gonna get whacked,” says former House Speaker Will Weatherford
“He voted a bunch of my stuff!” says Toni Jennings, Florida’s former lieutenant governor (appointed by Bush) and, prior to that, the Florida Senate President.
“The message to Washington D.C. is get ready,” says another lobbyist, sounding maybe a touch less than overjoyed. “Because there will be change.”
The Godfather-esque nickname and Bush’s fondness for budget cuts are real things. So deep was his ardor for slashing the budget, as Politifact pointed out, that it, uh, veered into the unconstitional:
The Senate was so angry about the cuts, they sued Bush over his partial veto of funding for an extended school year. The Florida Supreme Court eventually ruled Bush defied the state Constitution by cutting $16 million out of a $40 million appropriation to keep schools open longer. They said he either had to cut all of the program or none of it.
(He also, as a fairly scathing New York magazine profile points out, vetoed $2 million breast cancer research. )
It’s also a weird thing to focus on, again as Politifact noted, because the President of the United State doesn’t get to take a red pen to things. He either approves or denies a piece of legislation.
But anyway, we’re clearly not Jeb’s target audience, and perhaps they respond to a leader who’s so unable to work with the other branches of government that they end up suing him in frustration. That works. Right to Rise will be spending some $25 million on an ad blitz targeting early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Bush at a college football game in Tennesee, October 10, 2015. Photo via AP Images