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Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

The 6 ways Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC got it wrong

We are not looking forward to 2016.


Miles Klee


Posted on Jan 7, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 8:06 pm CDT

Except for a handful of wonks suffering from midterm election withdrawals, nobody was happy to see former Florida governor Jeb Bush kick off the 2016 presidential race by announcing that he would “actively explore” a run. Now, as part of the developing bid to keep his family’s aristocratic dynasty alive, he’s unveiled a new political action committee: “Right to Rise.”

We’re still 670 days out from the actual election, so there’s really nothing to do but make fun of the one guy who’s thrown his hat in the ring thus far. Here are the dumbest things about Bush’s campaign fundraising group—which has raised over $100,000 in a few short hours.

1) The name

“Right to Rise” ostensibly refers to “the central moral promise of American economic life”—the opportunity to “move up the income ladder based on merit, hard work and earned success,” per the site’s feel-good and explicitly vague copy. But the concept rings a bit hollow when pinned to a career elite who had his path to power paved by every possible advantage and connection. Plus it sounds like a scrapped title for one of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.     

2) The aesthetic

Nothing says strong leadership and vision like stock and clip art. Sure, street artist Shepard Fairey got hit with a fine and probation after a copyright battle with the Associated Press over his Obama “Hope” campaign posters, but at least he picked a decent (and relevant) photo.

3) The timing

Again, as the lone horse in the race, Bush can do little but create high expectations for himself. All the momentum is his to lose, and he’s now a magnet for otherwise unfocused abuse:

4) The vertical video

Bush’s attempt at a regular-Joe-talking-to-a-camera-crew moment is weird for a few reasons—Is that a binder full of women? Was this really the best take they got?—but the failure to shoot it horizontally is confirmation that nobody on his team “gets” the Internet.

5) The language

Can we talk about how forced and weird some of this phrasing is? Putting aside for a moment the revelation that you apparently now need an Instagram account in order to support a candidate? The PAC’s staff want people to “seize the American Dream,” as if by eminent domain. They “believe that America’s opportunities have never been greater than they are right now” yet feel the country “is falling short of its promise.” (?) And they never stop hammering that silly slogan, no matter how awkwardly it reads. Branding!  

6) The pitch

At the end of the day, what we’ve got here is a man with a famous surname who wants to run the country. He’s an obvious non-starter for the liberal set, and conservatives don’t seem too crazy about him, either. Surely his acknowledgement of the income gap, and suggestion that we respect the legality of same-sex marriage will further sink him in their esteem, even as such careful moderation fails to sway the Left. Maybe he should have taken that NFL commissioner gig after all.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2015, 12:19 pm CST