It wasn’t supposed to be like this:
On Monday, news broke that Danny Diaz will be the campaign manager when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) launches his expected White House bid next Monday.
As The Wall Street Journal reported, the position was originally “expected” to go to David Kochel, another operative who will instead serve as Bush’s chief strategist.
Business Insider had several conversations with aides to other Republican 2016 presidential campaigns who said they believe this staff switchup is evidence the Bush campaign is changing its strategy amid disappointing poll numbers and failed efforts to eliminate opponents.
“The strategy they were previewing with everybody is already changing substantially, and they haven’t even announced their campaign yet,” a rival 2016 GOP operative said of Bush’s team.
Overall, the operatives who talked with Business Insider said they thought Bush was abandoning efforts to run a positive, above-the-fray campaign. Last year, when he began publicly discussing a potential candidacy, Bush vowed to have a “hopeful, optimistic message” and said he would campaign with “joy in my heart.” This month, however, Bush has launched a series of attacks on his Republican rivals that some observers have pegged as a sign of a strategic shift.
The operative suggested naming Diaz as his campaign manager was further indication of a more aggressive strategy by Bush.
“Putting one of the best opposition research guys in the business in charge is a dramatic change from Jeb’s previous ‘joyful’ message,” the operative said. “This is essentially going back to square one and scrapping the original strategy they touted at the beginning of the year.”
An aide for another rival Republican presidential campaign echoed the notion Bush was changing course and attributed it to disappointing poll numbers.
“They’re having to change their strategy and attack much earlier,” the aide said.
While Bush’s team denies it is making any strategic shifts with staffing and tone, rivals point to another indication Bush hoped to run a different type of campaign. Earlier this year, there were multiple reports that Bush’s team hoped an early fundraising blitz would help him secure front-runner status and even scare off some potential opponents.
“Look at how he was sort of previewing his potential candidacy especially back in December … talking about running with joy in his heart … the massive fundraising that was supposed to push people out,” the rival operative said. “None of that seems to be falling into place.”
Ace wonders if this has something to do with the recent attacks on Marco Rubio.
I want to know who called that motherfucker a frontrunner? Jeb can raise money from the GOPE but he can’t raise votes from the GOP base. To say that he’s unpopular with the base is to put it mildly. He’s acting like he already won the nomination and is looking to attract moderate swing voters for the general election.
Hillary can get away with acting like she’s a sure thing for the nomination because she doesn’t have any real competition. There are several legitimate contenders on the GOP side, along with some no-hopers. Jeb would have a tough time beating a weak field. Sooner or later the GOP voters will coalesce around one or two of the top contenders, like Rubio, Walker, Perry and Cruz. Jeb can rearrange his campaign all he wants but he will be finishing with the other losers, like Christie, Huckabee and Kasich.
Here’s another bad sign: His opponents aren’t attacking him, except maybe Marco Rubio in Florida. You attack what you fear, and nobody is afraid of Jeb.
Meanwhile, Hillary is re-launching her campaign on saturday. I guess the last launch wasn’t “official”.