Despite talk of a campaign in free-fall and cuts in campaign staff and salaries, JEB says his campaign is fine. To skeptics, the articulate Bush defiantly says,"Blah, blah."
Because political campaigns are really all about appearances, so much of what really goes on is shrouded in secrecy. If there is inner turmoil, it is carefully camouflaged and when things are going well. the press is ready to exaggerate any little thing as a sign of a candidate in despair and his/her ambition shattered.
So when the news outlets heard from JEB's campaign spokespeople that the numbers of staff were being reduced and salaries were being cut, the rumors began to buzz. It was a pointless exercise to try to get a straight answer from the horse's mouth, as the cliche goes, but some bright thing asked Bush what it meant.
He assured the reporters while campaigning in South Carolina that critics were all wrong. The changes do not signify that his campaign is losing ground to people like Ben Carson and Trump. This slide has reportedly made some of his donors uneasy. Who wants to throw money on a horse that can't win.
JEB! poo-pooed the suggestion that the pay cuts and dismissal were a sign of bad things. He shrugged it off, saying:
"We've made an adjustment in our campaign. That's what leaders do."
Well, one thing is perfectly clear. JEB! is no leader, at least not in the polls. Monmouth University poll released last week showed that Bush polled at a mere 5 percent. Only slightly higher than Mike "Women can't control their libidos" Huckabee.
Some analysts were even using the term "free-fall."
Bush's standing has fallen in every successive Monmouth poll since July when he led the GOP field with 15 percent. His current standing is a full 10 points lower than it was when the slide began.
In South Carolina, JEB! didn't appreciate being pressed on a response to his low numbers and said
"Blah, blah, blah.That's my answer — blah, blah, blah."
At this rate, JEB is unlikely to ever be called "the Great Communicator."
Later he elaborated on his response somewhat by saying that early leads mean nothing and the election is a long way away. Focusing on just four primaries in February was all part of his crafty plan. Then he would take aim at key Southern states the following month.
Hardly what anybody (except JEB!) would consider that game plan innovative.
"We have a campaign that is designed to win. And I'm going to win."
Last week MSNBC reported that while Jeb Bush's campaign and his Right to Rise Super PAC have spent more than $10 million in TV ads since September -- more than any other candidate or 2016 entity, there's not much to show for all that spending.
It was only in blazing July that Wall Street was nodding its approval for JEB!'s candidacy. At that time, those well-paid Only 7 percent of Bush's Campaign Contributions have come from small donors. That's pretty revealing if you think about it.
It suggests that JEB! doesn't have any real public support at all. A George W. Bush presidency tends to leave a hell of an aftertaste.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month:
Of the top 10 employers listed by Mr. Bush’s donors, half are financial firms: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Neuberger Berman and Barclays, where Mr. Bush previously worked as a consultant making about $2 million a year.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the financial sector was pleased as punch at the idea of another Bush in office. After all, who else but a Bush could you turn to when you accidentally manage to destroy the world's largest economy?
Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). And despite that, President Bush still somehow found a way to sell it to the panicked American public, contradicting the long-hailed free market principles conservatives crave.
Seven hundred billion dollars in taxpayers’ money buys you a lot of love on Wall Street and it hasn't forgotten those loving acts of kindness.
The only question is, given the series of gaffes, the lackluster- often clumsy- performance by their chosen candidate, how much longer Wall Street will continue what might well be a lost cause.
Last week. The Wall Street Journal which should at least, in theory, be singing JEB's praises reported what sounded more like mournful funeral march.
The family's financial network, it seems, has gone on the blitz and Bush's "campaign stock is falling." All those shady connections, all those favors, all of those well-kept secrets, all of it seems to mean nothing at this moment.
His crowds are modest. He failed to dominate in either of the GOP debates, and million-dollar ad buys in Iowa and New Hampshire have barely moved the needle on his support in the early-contest states.
Said one fundraiser for his brother,
“When you run for president, you have to be very charismatic, you have to articulate extremely well and you have to show unbelievable amounts of passion.”
Bush will have to do a little bit better than "blah, blah" if he wants to soothe nervous donors.
In yet another case of poor judgment, JEB appeared at a town hall with U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy who only two days earlier had his butt kicked by Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings. Bush then praised the South Carolina congressman for seeking the truth about what happen in Libya.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, according to a poll, over 70% of the American public thought the hearings were a politically-motivated sham.
If Bush is cutting back on staff, it can't be such a bad thing. After all, it appears that nobody in his campaign bothered to inform Bush that Gowdy had inadvertently put into stark contrast why Clinton is electable and Bush is not.