THE BLOG

Trouble in Romneyland?

02/06/2012 06:56 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2012

My friend Eric Garland recently wrote a piece here at The Huffington Post in which he discussed his experiences as an entrepreneur. He mentioned some basic rules for hiring, namely:

"So, when choosing your team: I like to think that I arrived independently at a recruiting strategy usually attributed to Guy Kawasaki (and, by implication, Steve Jobs). Solid A players hire A+ players; B players hire C players, Cs hire Ds... In other words, find people who are better than you are."

If this theory of hiring is correct (and it certainly sounds correct to me), a recent event may portend trouble for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. According to an article in Politico, Mitt Romney's campaign has split with Brett O'Donnell, a GOP political operative who has helped prepare Romney for recent debates. O'Donnell has been credited for the improved performance of Romney in those debates and that performance has been credited for Romney's much-needed and decisive victory in Florida. The Politico article states that O'Donnell was "an apparent victim of internal tensions over staff receiving too much credit for the candidate's comeback."

That certainly doesn't sound like the hiring activities of solid A players. If the Romney campaign chose not to hire O'Donnell for reasons due to internal politics and ego concerns rather than his actual abilities, that isn't a good commentary on the Romney campaign. Obviously, this is serious inside baseball in the political campaign world and doesn't affect the day-to-day lives of average voters. But it isn't an irrelevant issue and it is the sort of thing that people who are heavily involved in politics will notice.

If Romney's campaign is struggling with these sorts of turf wars at this early stage of the campaign (and while it may seem like the campaign has gone on forever, we still have nine long months until election day), that isn't a good sign for how they will need to staff up and operate for the general election. Despite the dismissive rhetoric that one often hears from the right these days, President Obama will be a formidable opponent for Romney if Romney is the GOP nominee (which is likely to be the case). Romney will need all the help he can get and failing to hire talented staff because of internal campaign ego and power struggles isn't the way to maximize the chances of victory.