It’s getting clearer to everyone but the candidate that the campaign of Jeb Bush for president isn’t going anywhere and it’s time to fold his tent and make a graceful exit.
You have to wonder what kind of advice Jeb is listening to and from whom. It certainly isn’t from Christine Ciccone, who resigned as chief operating officer of the campaign yesterday.
News of Ms. Ciccone’s departure comes a week after the Bush campaign announced a re-organization that it said would reduce payroll by 40%. Ms. Ciccone served as Mr. Bush’s chief operating officer, effectively an office administrator responsible for logistics.
“We are grateful to have had Christine on the team, we respect her immensely,” Bush spokesman Tim Miller said.
Ms. Ciccone was paid roughly $12,000 a month, the equivalent of a $144,000 annual salary, according to the campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission filling. Reached by phone Friday, Ms. Ciccone said “I’ve got no comment. I’ve just got to go.”
Ms. Ciccone came to the campaign with political roots in the Bush family. She worked in President George W. Bush’s White House, serving as a legislative liaison to the Senate. Before working for the Jeb Bush campaign, she worked as a lobbyist at Sphere, a top Washington consulting firm.
No one wants to be the bandleader on the Titanic and Ciccone is probably one of the lucky ones. Along with an imminent cash crunch, the Bush operation is falling apart as it was revealed earlier this week that the candidate had only 1260 supporters signed up in Iowa.
So why is he staying in the race? Bush has an old-fashioned sense of loyalty and may be maintaining his position to keep faith with his donors. He still has nearly $100 million in his Super Pac, although none of that money can be used to directly benefit the campaign. It won’t fund his travel, or staff salaries, or the polling operation, or ads that mention the candidate directly.
Bush doesn’t have the legions of small donors who can sustain the campaign by giving multiple donations up to $2500. Nor has the candidate attracted the kind of enthusiasm that other candidates enjoy.
What Jeb Bush needs most of all at this point is an intervention. Last weekend was the perfect opportunity as Bush gathered with his family in Texas. But even his father and brothers appear to be feeding his delusions about being able to turn the campaign around.
All he’s doing at this point is beclowning himself. Someone close to him should sit him down, grab him by the shoulders, and try to shake some sense into him. He should accept his humiliation with as much grace as he can muster and quietly move back into the shadows.