Other than soliciting millions of dollars in his unannounced campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination, few things have gone as planned for Jeb Bush.
Now it seems we can add one more.
Although it’s true that the former Florida governor – just hours away from officially launching a White House bid – already raised boatloads of cash, he still fights to win over conservatives, distinguish himself from his brother’s contentious presidency and cement his position as the Republican front runner.
“He just hasn’t met the expectation level of what we expected of a Bush,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain told the New York Times. “And that’s been a hindrance to him.”
Perhaps it was with that criticism in mind when Bush, who is committed not to change his positions on immigration and education unpopular with many Tea Party Republicans, reshuffled his campaign team.
Among the changes was the addition of Danny Diaz as the new campaign manager. Diaz is popular among Republicans as a tough operative ready to dominate news coverage with both a candidate’s message and the weaknesses of adversaries.
But even that aggressive move has brought its share of controversy within GOP circles.
With hiring Diaz, a close Bush ally also told the Times that it sends a signal that “the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents.”
Pickett’s Charge? Are they really going with that?
For those unfamiliar with history, Maj. Gen. George Pickett was one of three Confederate generals who led the assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The ultimate failure of the campaign was accurately predicted by its commander, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and the plan was questioned by many in the ranks.
Pickett’s Charge, although considered one of the high-water marks of the Confederacy, is now widely considered a major strategic blunder – costing more than 6,000 Confederate lives — one from which the South’s effort never fully recovered.
Invoking Pickett’s Charge may not be appropriate for Bush’s emerging presidential effort – despite best intentions — before it ever officially gets off the ground.
That’s simply not an encouraging sign, just as it wasn’t for Longstreet in 1863.