WaPo: Jeb’s Campaign Off-Course Before It Even Began
Things are bad in Bushville.
Older Bush hands…grew unhappy with rapid hiring by new advisers, and relationships frayed, according to Bush associates. And as the former Florida governor began to founder on the trail and in the polls, the discussions flared into arguments about how to divvy up money and resources between Bush’s allied super PAC and his official campaign…
In interviews this week, dozens of Bush backers and informed Republicans — most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to comment candidly — described an overly optimistic, even haughty exploratory operation. Strategic errors were exacerbated by unexpected stumbles by the would-be candidate and internal strife within his team, culminating in a staff shake-up this week…
On the stump, Bush has stuck to his pledge not to shift to the right to win the primary, but his middle-of-the-road positions on immigration and education have come off more as out of step with the base of his party than shrewdly pragmatic. His wonky question-and-answer exchanges with voters sometimes resemble college lectures rather than a friendly appeal for votes.
The troubles have eroded the image Bush has sought to present as the one Republican uniquely ready for the presidential stage. He has slipped in polls from presumed front-runner to one of several candidates jumbled toward the top of an increasingly crowded field.