Jeb Bush replaced his campaign manager this week even before he officially declared his candidacy in what is being described as an “extraordinary” acknowledgement that his campaign has been in disarray.
Communications strategist Danny Diaz will be Bush’s campaign manager. Dave Kochel, Mitt Romney’s top Iowa operative who had been tapped to be Bush’s campaign manager, will now be the campaign’s chief strategist because he was reportedly “too deliberative for the decisive management style” that Bush preferred, according to the New York Times.
NBC’s First Read pointed out that though it is not “extraordinary in presidential politics” to replace a campaign manager, “what IS extraordinary is bringing in a new manager before the campaign officially begins.”
“It’s a tacit acknowledgement that the last few months for Team Jeb haven’t gone well. If the goal of the Jeb pre-campaign was to create enough of a juggernaut to scare off some potential rivals, it didn’t work,” NBC wrote.
Though Jeb Bush and his allies vowed to reportedly “shock and awe” the political world by raising $100 million in the first months of his campaign, Bush’s four different answers in four different days on Iraq may have been the ultimate sign of a campaign in disarray. It took Bush four tries to finally say that “I would not have gone into Iraq” knowing what we know now about the intelligence failures in answering a standard question he should have anticipated and for which he should have had a prepared response. Unable to win over conservatives who distrust him on amnesty and Common Core, Bush has not been able to rally the establishment behind his candidacy as well in the early stages.
The New York Times also reported that establishment Republican strategist Mike Murphy, the known conservative-basher who will be running Bush’s Super PAC, had “clashed with strategists” at Diaz’s FP1 firm. According to the Times, the Bush campaign has seen “conflict among competing factions about important decisions.” This may be a sign that Bush’s campaign is filled with establishment tacticians who are using the candidate as a vehicle to enhance their profiles and are more concerned about their interests and standing in the permanent political class than the actual candidate.
What may make things more complicated is that Bush’s top three advisers are “geographically separated”–longtime aide Sally Bradshaw is in Tallahassee, Kochel is in Miami, and Murphy is located in Los Angeles.
Bush is in Germany today and will reportedly formally announce his White House bid on June 15 after he returns his trip to Europe.