Jeb Bush and his campaign want you to know one thing: He gets it. He knows he needs to reset his campaign after a series of disappointments of the fundraising, polling and debating variety. His speech this morning in Tampa is meant to be the visible symbol of a fresh start — a chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again.
"Our story is about action," Bush says in a draft of the speech shared with reporters. "Doing, not just talking. Listening, not just lecturing."
The message and its intended target is clear. "I'm the guy who has done things for the conservative cause," Jeb is saying. "Marco Rubio? He's a guy who just talks a lot."
Implicit in that message is that Bush is not the orator or communicator that Rubio is. But talk is cheap — as Republicans found out over the last eight years with President Obama. Jeb is a doer; Rubio is a talker — just like Obama.
I get it. It's smart, politically. But I am not sure it will work for one reason: Jeb is still Jeb.
Here is what "Jeb" means for the average Republican primary voter: heir to a political dynasty, serious guy, accomplished record in Florida, up to the job, too moderate on issues, somewhat less than advertised.
I'm not sure a single speech or a new slogan — "Jeb can fix it!"— is the answer to changing that perception problem. Remember that Right to Rise, the Jeb super PAC, has already spent $13 million on TV and Web ads telling the story of Bush in Florida without moving his numbers in any meaningful way.
All of the talk about resets, about his (still massive) financial advantage and about how it's early overlook the simple fact that Republican primary voters have gotten plenty of exposure to this basic version of Jeb and not been won over. Have Bush's accomplishments as governor of Florida not been part of the campaign to date? Has he not already been running as a doer and not just a talker? Has he not already tried, unsuccessfully, to contrast himself with Rubio?
Sure, doing all of those things in a more concerted — and committed — way might make a difference. But simply giving a speech in which you re-package a lot of the ideas you have already been running on and calling it a "reset" doesn't actually make it a reset.
We, of course, might all look back at Monday's speech as the moment when Bush began to turn it all around. But I doubt it.