What Jeb’s Campaign ‘Shakeup’ Tells Us About Him

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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By now, you’ve heard the Jeb Bush campaign “shakeup” news that Danny Diaz will be Bush’s campaign manager. Writers have every incentive to suggest these staff moves are indicative of a campaign coming apart at the seams, while campaigns seem to impulsively downplay the importance of such a move.

But I say … own it!

Whether it’s an administration (George W. Bush should’ve replaced Rummy sooner) or a campaign (John Kerry axed his campaign manager in November of 2003 — and promptly went on to win the Iowa caucuses that January), there’s no shame attached to going to the bullpen.

Of course, some observers are suggesting the real story is that Bush was forced to make this move before he even announced his campaign. Again, I say that potentially reveals something positive about the principal.

Now, maybe it would be preferable if nothing ever went wrong — if staff changes were never necessary. But in the real world, things don’t always go as we plan. And when that happens, do we want someone who doubles down and clings to sunk costs — or someone who’s willing to cut his losses and keep moving forward?

Success in life has a lot to do with how you handle adversity — how you adapt and overcome. Do you stubbornly cling to past decisions, ostensibly out of “loyalty,” but also out of a desire to keep up appearances, or do you fix things and move on? It might be painful, but at least one of the reasons we have political campaigns is to test whether or not the candidates can overcome adversity. That’s how wisdom is gained. And sometimes, it’s even endearing.

Of course, that’s not to suggest this will magically fix anything, any more than changing managers or uniforms will fix an ailing ball club’s performance. Most of Bush’s problems have to do with, well, Bush. But sometimes you gotta shake things up, and since Bush can’t easily consign himself a consultation role in some distant outpost, this seems like the next obvious move for campaign that clearly needs to flip the script.

Matt K. Lewis