A funny thing happened to Jeb Bush on his way to the White House.
He was rolling assuredly toward his coronation as the next GOP presidential nominee. He was sacking up millions of dollars in campaign cash from his dynastic family’s extensive coterie of reliable corporate donors and wealthy patrons. And he was confident that he’d roll to victory next year.
But then — Screech! Wham! Eeeeek! — the wheels came off his golden victory wagon.
As the campaign entered the month of June, the supposedly seasoned politico was looking incompetent. He badly bungled an easy question about his brother’s disastrous invasion of Iraq, fell behind in key states, and watched as his campaign staff fell into disarray.
As one close ally put it, the Bush operation will now be like “Pickett’s Charge” to win the nomination. Now, a mere six months before the 2016 primaries begin, Jeb is hitting the reset button. He’s shifting his strategy and style from cruise-control to overdrive, including getting a new campaign manager notorious for full-throttle and nasty attacks on opponents.
But wait — George Pickett was the Confederate general who led 12,500 men in a suicidal infantry assault on Union troops at Gettysburg in 1863. Marching in formation over an open field for nearly a mile, the attack was a horrendous folly that produced a humiliating defeat for the Confederacy and left more than 6,000 of Pickett’s men dead.
That’s an unusual model for a presidential campaign. But Jeb’s got a strategic weapon that poor George Pickett didn’t have: a $100 million war chest. Double the amount raised by all the other Republican candidates combined, it surely can cover up a lot of Bush’s incompetence.