THE BLOG
11/20/2006 05:08 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Early Advice for '08 Hopefuls: Beware the Consultants!

So another season of Dancing with the Stars has ended -- but fret not ballroom fans, the Democrats' '08 presidential waltz is already underway.

Performing a deft two-step, John Edwards and Barack Obama have adopted the running-for-president-under-the-guise-of-a-book-tour approach, with Edwards earning extra style points for saying of Obama: "I hope he runs. I think he should run." Classy. Is there an Edwards-Obama '08 Tango in their future?

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has already laced up his Capezios -- perhaps to take the heat off Hillary in the Hawkeye state while earning himself some possible VP bonus points for making sure no one comes out of the Iowa caucuses with the kind of momentum that propelled Kerry to the '04 nod.

The rest of the sure-to-be-crowded field is still practicing its steps, though it is all-but-certain that Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Evan Bayh, Wes Clark, and John Kerry are all at least thinking about getting ready to Rumba. With Al Gore rested and ready to do a late-entry Quickstep.

But whoever ends up Cha Cha-ing onto the 2008 primary dance floor needs to remember one thing above all else: beware of the political consultants -- they can only trip you up!

In fact, ridding the party of the consultants who have led them down the wrong path again and again should be the #2 item on the Democrats' '06-'08 to-do list -- #1 being getting us out of Iraq.

And the Dems should start the purge by kicking James Carville to the curb, once and for all. His inane -- insane? -- remarks about Howard Dean are all the proof needed that the time has come to send the Agin' Cajun to the Political Consultants' Retirement Home. (Dream scenario: he gets a room with Bob "0-for-8" Shrum.)

Carville's attack on Dean was utter nonsense. The reason the Dems "only" picked up 29 House seats isn't because the Democratic National Committee didn't spend enough money; it's because too many Democratic candidates didn't spend enough time talking about Iraq.

Here's the back-up on Iraq. And here's Chris Bowers' post proving that it wasn't the money, stupid.

While calling for Dean's ouster, Carville labeled the DNC chairman "a C-minus general." Grading on a curve, I guess that would make Carville an F-minus strategist (or, to look at the glass as half-full, an A+ hack).

James Carville hasn't correctly read the pulse of the American public since 1992. Among his greatest non-hits since then were urging Al Gore to pick Zell Miller as his running mate in 2000, and advising John Kerry to push domestic issues in 2004. (Read Jane for more on this).

Indeed, I'll always remember sitting in a living room in Los Angeles 12 days before the '04 election listening to Carville assure us that Kerry would win big, completely misreading the reality that '04 was all about national security.

And in the run-up to '06, Carville steadfastly refused to accept that Iraq needed to be front and center on the Democratic agenda. Perhaps this is because he is hopelessly compromised on the issue and has been since the beginning of the war, married as he is to Mary Matalin who was a charter member of the White House Iraq Group created to help sell us the war. This alone should disqualify Carville from giving advice to any candidate with a (D) next their name until the last American soldier has been brought home from Iraq.

Howard Dean hasn't been perfect. In fact, I took him to task late in the campaign for making the Carville-ian mistake of focusing too much on domestic issues and urging Democrats to talk not about the actual war in Iraq but the metaphorical war the GOP was waging on the American family.

But for Carville to equate Dean's handling of the '06 campaign with Donald Rumsfeld's tragic handling of Iraq is the worst kind of hyperbole -- and lazy rhetoric to boot when you consider that Rumsfeld's leadership led to the death and maiming of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

When Dean went the misguided metaphor route, at least he was attempting to win an election. Can someone please tell me what James Carville was trying to accomplish?

Other than making an ass of himself.