Romney’s campaign consultants were incompetent, in it for the money

In too many posts to count, I’ve argued that the reason Romney was the overwhelming choice of the Washington campaign consultant class since the day after McCain lost in 2008 was that he was their dream candidate. He possessed the two qualities most prized by this insular population of political parasites who occupy the D.C. beltway: An enormous amount of money and an equally enormous dearth of core convictions. For this reason, they correctly recognized Romney as someone who could easily be fleeced for a virtually limitless amount of money. He’d shower them with tens of millions of dollars in return for their sage "advice" on what he should think and say. It was always in their financial interest that Romney be the nominee and that someone like Governor Palin, who they knew would never fund their lavish lifestyles, be prevented from winning the nomination by any means possible. For campaign consultants, the "best candidate" isn’t the one with the best message or best chance of victory, but rather the one from whom they’ll amass the most cash. That’s how they pay their bills.

Governor Palin’s was the undisputed leader of the conservative fight against Obama in the run-up to the  2010 midterms, and it was increasingly clear to the beltway insiders that she had to be stopped lest they lose their multi-million dollar meal ticket. Even before the election, they did everything they could to minimize her role in the upcoming Republican sweep by trying to discredit her in their usual, gutless manner: false narratives spread via anonymous leaks. I discussed this at length a few days before the election:

Who has the most to gain by minimizing Governor Palin’s enormous role in the mid-term elections? Far be it from me, Dear Reader, to speculate on such things. I’ll leave that up to you. But as you contemplate this, there are a few salient questions to consider.

First, for whom do these mysterious “insiders” work (or want to work)? Keep in mind that Washington political consultants are basically parasites whose foremost goal is to suck as much money out of a campaign’s coffers as possible. But they first have to get hired by a campaign and, to do this, they must ingratiate themselves to the candidate. Most of these insiders know that Governor Palin will not play their game and, consequently, won’t hire their incompetent, backstabbing a*ses, so it’s undoubtedly in their financial interest that she not win the nomination. Sure, they’ll be able to find work on House and Senate campaigns, perhaps a campaign for the local dog catcher, but the real money is in the big show: the presidential election.

Second, which potential candidate benefits the most by a concerted effort to marginalize the Tea Party in general, and Governor Palin in particular? It would have to be an establishment candidate, of course. A candidate the Tea Party would never support. One who has taken positions that are, shall we say, anathema to the limited government principles espoused by Governor Palin and the Tea Party movement. A candidate whose position on, for example, government run health care is less than pristine.

Third, which candidate has consistently been promoted by Washington consultants and insiders as being the “inevitable” Republican candidate in 2012? Hmmmmm. And finally, who is willing and able to hire as many of these campaign advisors as it takes regardless of how much they cost? In other words, which candidate will result in the most financial gain for the community of mercenaries known as Washington political consultants?

I’m certainly not clairvoyant, but things turned out pretty much as I thought they would over two years ago. And today, in an eye-opening, though not surprising, piece at Redstate, Ben Howe exposes just how accurate I was, and how much of a mess these high-priced leeches made of the Romney campaign (emphasis mine).

Stu Stevens of the Stevens and Schriefer Group was said to not be chasing poll numbers with the media buy strategy and appeared instead to be doing little more than “throwing darts at a dartboard.”  At best using false numbers provided by ORCA; at worst milking the cash cow of the Romney campaign.

Most of the more public players, like Andrea Saul and Gail Gitcho, were doing their jobs as adequately as possible given that the apparently the poll numbers, ground operations & virtually all statistics and data involved with GOTV efforts were inaccurate.  However, players like Richard Beeson, Romney’s Political Director, are said to have spent the first half of the year “traveling state to state settling scores” instead of doing crucial campaign preparation.

According to all the sources I spoke to, the breakdown of the campaign can be traced to the primaries. One source saying “they looked at the guy who could raise the most money in history as a ride” adding that “money no longer matters.  That’s the problem,” also referring to the campaign overall as “the biggest political flim flam of all time.”

The result of all of these false numbers and inaccurate ground reports is simple: Mitt Romney was ill-prepared for the actual numbers on election day and his false sense of confidence directly translated into how the campaign operated in the closing weeks.  In the words of one source, it was a con job.  As David Mamet famously said, “If you’re in the con game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.”  Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming.

Shocking that. Romney’s army of over-priced campaign consultants and D.C. insiders were simply there to do as little work as possible while milking Mitt’s money machine for as much cash as possible. My decision to stick with my gut and not send these bloodsuckers any of mine is looking better and better. One of Romney’s self-touted selling points has been his great managerial ability. Shouldn’t a good business manager know when he’s being fleeced for a colossal amount of money by a bunch of high priced grifters? A rhetorical question, I know.

Governor Palin had these huckster’s number from day one, and they knew it. Mitt Romney? Not so much, and he got what he paid (handsomely) for. Anyone dumb enough to hire these con artists in the future will also get what they pay for. Maybe they’ll follow the example of former McCain staffers Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace and work for MSNBC. Who cares.

There’s a lot more to Howe’s piece and I urge you to read the whole thing.


(18853 Posts)