Last night, when much of the political world was talking about Brian Williams’ suspension and Jon Stewart’s departure, Jeb Bush’s operation had an announcement of its own: the Republican presidential hopeful has parted ways with the chief technology officer Bush hired the day before.
In the first significant stumble of his nascent campaign, the former Florida governor’s Right to Rise PAC announced that newly hired chief technology officer Ethan Czahor, who co-founded Hipster.com, was out of a job over his old inflammatory tweets and blog posts.“The Right to Rise PAC accepted Ethan Czahor’s resignation today,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement. “While Ethan has apologized for regrettable and insensitive comments, they do not reflect the views of Governor Bush or his organization and it is appropriate for him to step aside. We wish him the best.”
I’ve seen some short tenures, but Czahor was introduced on Monday to a top campaign post and was out of work by Tuesday.
The Hipster.com co-founder was responsible for a series of controversial online messages relating to women, gays, and African Americans.
All of this came the same day Bush’s operation published thousands of emails the governor sent and received during his two terms as Florida governor, posted online in “the spirit of transparency.” There was, however, a problem Bush and his team neglected to address: redactions. Within hours of the Republican’s website going live, we learned that Bush’s PAC had inadvertently published “the email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers” of many Florida residents.
To be sure, every presidential candidate and campaign makes mistakes, and one assumes Team Bush will learn from these missteps. But the former governor’s problems this week nevertheless matter.
Bush not only likes to present himself as a hyper-competent manager, but also a tech-savvy manager. “I was digital before digital was cool,” the Republican likes to boast.
Rebecca Leber added last night:
Party leaders already know how a campaign’s poor grasp of technology can hurt them in elections. In 2012, Mitt Romney launched bug-filled smartphone apps for fundraising and campaigning. One was supposed to deliver data on election-day polls, but often gave false information and even crashed on election day. […]Losing the digital campaign can mean losing the election.
It’s early and this week’s tech troubles obviously won’t derail Bush’s efforts. But for a GOP candidate eager to get his campaign off on the right foot, yesterday’s developments were an inauspicious beginning.
Postscript: Also yesterday, the Florida Republican criticized public schools and seemed quite pleased with himself. “That’ll light up the Twitter,” Bush said, apparently without irony. The former governor then made a series of odd beeping sounds that were intended to mimic online discussion.
One gets the sense that Bush won’t win much praise as the most tech-friendly candidate in the field.