There is a strong and valid argument to be made against our political consulting class – and at CPAC, a lot was said against them. From NRO’s The Corner:
Here at CPAC, it’s evident that in the aftermath of the devastating November election conservatives are turning not on the losing candidates — Mitt Romney, for one, was warmly received – but on the people who ran their campaigns. With an eye to 2014 elections, some conservatives and tea partiers are pushing a new solution: Down with the consultants.
In an interview with NRO, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, blasted the professional political class, decrying “any consultant who thinks that they can come into a state and say, ‘this is who you need to have as your representative and we’re going to make sure that person is elected.’”
“That is the antithesis of what we’ve been talking about in this whole entire movement,” she said. “We want limited government. That means we don’t want Washington, D.C., making laws that limit how we live our lives, and we sure don’t want people from Washington, D.C. — consultants — telling us who is going to represent us.”
The rage reached its height during a panel on Thursday entitled “Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?” During the discussion, Democratic pollster Pat Caddell ranted against campaign consultants, saying, “they’re in the business in the lining of their pockets and preserving their power.”…
Which is very true, but not the whole story. Professional campaign consultants can have a very important role to play – how to jump through the legal hoops; how to fund raise; how to get the message out through traditional and new media. But the problem is that consultants have taken over what the campaigns say and where they say it. They are telling the candidates to not spend time or money in some areas because they are strongly Democrat; they are telling the candidates to stay away from this or that issue because it will result in negative press. What they don’t understand is that the reason some areas are strongly Democrat is partially because the GOP hasn’t done any campaigning in there. What they don’t understand is that the sort of statements which might cause an MSM firestorm to erupt are precisely the sort of things which fire up the base and convince a doubting electorate that, just maybe, this candidate isn’t a tool of the Ruling Class.
My view is that last year Romney should have headed for Pennsylvania in the flush aftermath of the first debate – Obama and the Democrats were rocked on their heels and a sudden splurge in that State (as well as other blue States which elect GOP governors/senators) would have thrown them in to panic – and people in a panic make gigantic mistakes. When gasoline prices in Los Angeles hit $5 a gallon, Romney should have done a campaign rally in front of a Los Angeles gas station. These actions would not necessarily be with a mind towards winning California or Pennsylvania – but of firing up the base (including the base in States where we won’t win – because that generates donations and volunteers who can work in other States); of going in to their backyard and planting our flag; of showing the nation that we’re in it to win the whole ball of wax. I ask: if Romney had done such things, would he have gotten fewer votes? I doubt it. Still might have lost – but it would have been closer…and certainly a more fun, energizing and even if lost a successful campaign…because we would have sown seeds in areas where the GOP has been absent for decades.
As I said in the immediate aftermath of our loss, we have to start getting in to the blue areas – and professional campaign consultants simply will not allow that. And so the consultants have to be shoved aside and kept to what they are good at: fund raising, hoop jumping, etc. The campaign, itself, has to be the product of the candidate and his more ardent supporters. Let’s face some facts here, boys and girls: as long as we resign California and New York to the Democrats, we’re always going to have a hard time winning the White House. And do pay attention – Democrats have started to work on turning Texas blue. Say it can’t be done? Just watch them – and even if it doesn’t work, its going to force us to spend time and effort locking down part of our electoral base. We simply must do it to them, as well.
As we head towards 2014 and 2016, all rule books must be thrown out. Everything must be on the table – no corner of the Great Republic must be signed off to the Democrats. Don’t play it safe – in fact, play it as dangerous as possible. Tens of millions of people didn’t vote in 2012…lets go get them, and bury liberalism forever.