Friday, December 31, 2004

Mea Culpa

I owe Joe Trippi an apology. In my previous post about campaign consultants I unfairly lumped him in with some of the worst examples of political consultancy and completely misstated his actual power within the Dean campaign.

Here is Joe's response to that post:

Uh....I had absolutely zero control of the Dean campaign's check book. Governor Dean specifically placed someone in the campaign who was in charge of budget and spending because of the situation to describe. The fact is that at the time of my hiring I told the Governor that I did not want to get paid -- it is also fairly well documented that I received $165,000 for the 13 months of work on the Dean campaign. And Alice is right consultants try to get hired by the winner before the race even starts -- the front runner almost always has more money and you end up with a better win/loss record. So you got to wonder what I was thinking when I went to work for a guy who was zero in the polls, had less than $100,000 in the bank, and when he wanted to hire me I told him I didn't want to be paid. Could it maybe, just maybe, be that I actually gave a shit?

Also in defense of the 8 time loser rap on Shrum and others -- I could point out that since 1968 63 Democrats have run for Pres

Thanks for the clarification Joe. I knew that you weren't in charge of the money, but it was one of those facts that slipped through the cracks. I can only plead temporary insanity.

I still think it's irresponsible to keep putting people with losing records in charge of important campaigns like Kerry's. That "63 Democrats" number means that Shrum has been in charge of 1/8 of all Democratic presidential campaigns since 1968 and every one a loser. That's not exactly an inspirational record. Is it really a surprise that many Democrats might start questioning that kind of record and why Dems keep hiring the guy?

(BTW, I have heard from others that Shrum has a much better record running state level races. Maybe he should stick to what he is good at.)

The title to that post was facetious. I don't really want to kill the consultants. I just want the campaigns to be more like Dean's, where it was the supporters that were the #1 force (in tandem with the candidate of course) and the consultants are only in service to that force.

The payment structure for consultants can be a corrupting influence even if the consultants themselves are not corrupt. Worse, it can also breed suspicion within the minds of the campaign supporters. A fact I am sure you, Joe, are well aware of considering some of the criticism you received from Deaniacs after the Dean campaign imploded. When Democratic leaders start losing the trust of their supporters then the party is really in deep crap.

Still, I shouldn't have lumped you in so casually with this criticism since you are an innovator in the very thing I am advocating. For that I am profoundly sorry. It was both a thrill and a horror to see that you read this little old blog of mine (the horror being the context). I hope you will stick around.

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