Back in June, many of us laughed and laughed at the idea that John McCain (R) and the RNC was putting the top staff to Rudy Giuliani's (R) disastrous presidential campaign to run the general election ground game.
Recall that Giuliani's campaign manager -- Mike DuHaime -- is McCain's political director and field general, and it was top Giuliani field staff (who worked for DuHaime) who were put in charge of the field effort in places like Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada -- red states where McCain now trails.
Back in June, The Atlantic's Mark Ambinder wondered "why DuHaime and the RNC did not recruit more field operatives who worked on Gov. Mitt Romney's more successful presidential campaign." Indeed, it was a great question and likely a reflection of the sheer lack of a McCain/RNC game plan at the time which allowed DuHaime to hire his buddies, rather than the best staff available.
I raise this because there's a great nugget in a Washington Post story today that relates to DuHaime's tactical decision-making that is making me laugh, and conservatives cry:
Mike DuHaime, McCain's political director, said internal campaign polling does not make the electoral map look as bad as some public polls suggest. For example: Asked why, if he has given up on Michigan, McCain has not given up on Iowa, a state that looks strong for Obama in public polls, DuHaime said because the campaign's polling has Obama's lead in the low single digits.
Yes, please keep sending McCain to Iowa and keep believing those internal numbers in the face of every other poll contradicting it. Pretty please.
Even McCain's former top lieutenant from his 2000 race, Mike Murphy, is losing his mind over these decisions. Here's what Murphy said more than a week ago:
So, 35 days left and McCain is in Iowa? Why put McCain in the wrong state, at the wrong place? No surprise the result is the wrong message and the wrong tone.
What's going to be fascinating is the post-mortem on McCain's loss. There will be so many things that will deserve a heap of blame for the tactical disasters of this race -- and I'm not referring to things that McCain can't control, like the financial crisis and President Bush's unpopularity -- I'm talking about things like:
- The influence of the Giuliani presidential trainwreck brought by DuHaime;
- The disastrous Rovian tactics brought by his disciple Steve Schmidt;
- The trainwreck of Sarah Palin (a pick Schmidt urged);
- The weekly collision of McCain's message of reform with the lobbyists who run his campaign -- like Rick Davis and Charlie Black;
- The disastrous comments by surrogates like Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina;
- McCain's own temper, gaffes, and willingness to regularly lie.
I could go on, but that's enough for now. We'll have much more fun dissecting this pig on November 5th.
But the Giuliani influence was a disaster waiting to happen and that was apparent from the outset, at least for many of us.
Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "Will Giuliani's Top Staff Lose Two Presidential Campaigns In One Year?"