“You cannot run a political campaign and not have the ability to adapt, to pivot,” one longtime Bush donor who has supported all five of the family’s presidential campaigns. “To sit there and say, ‘We have a book,’ just shows the immaturity.”
The Jeb! strategy, laid out in a “playbook” a year ago, was to fight the battle on the Bushes’ own terms and to rely on the deference he was owed as an establishment elder with organizational prowess across the country.
Great strategy, wrong environment…
Most critically, the playbook, people who have read it tell POLITICO, contained nothing about Donald Trump, who would spend the next excruciating year turning Bush into his personal patrician piñata.
“The rules all changed this year. It was all about taking on the establishment,” said a Republican operative close to the Bush family. “When you’re the son and brother of former presidents, the grandson of a U.S. senator, how do you run in a year like this? It is just a year of personality, not message. All of a sudden, there was no path for him. They just kept falling back on his record as governor, which is all he has—and no one gives a shit.”
Somehow Jeb and his Right to Rise SuperPAC managed to raise $150 million and literally accomplish nothing. It’s actually pretty astounding when you think about it.
The parallels for investors here are obvious so I won’t take much time spelling them out. Suffice it to say that having a strategy that works in one kind of environment is akin to making a big bet. And big bets either pay off spectacularly or fail spectacularly – and no matter what tactics you try to employ, it’s already too late if you’ve bet incorrectly.
Strategic asset allocation, which I am a firm believer in, is a bet that the environment will be unpredictable and subject to change without warning. With a long-term mandate in place, I don’t think there’s a more rational course of action available to investors.
Politico has the inside story on Team Jeb’s dreadful miscalculation.