11/07/2014 05:51 pm ET Updated Jan 07, 2015

Worst Advice Money Can Buy


Are overpaid and self-important political consultants driving the Democratic Party to ruin? Three days after the election debacle I nearly spit coffee up through my nose over this morning's New York Times front page story touting Hillary Clinton's advisers who now advocate a "listening tour" so she can create a "blueprint for a 2016 presidential candidacy." Not to worry, Hillary will have a "legal pad and lots of conversations."

As my 20-something daughters would say, "OMG"!

Are these the same consultants who advised Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes to make sure and give a blank stare when asked in a televised editorial board meeting if she had voted in 2012 to reelect President Obama? Or maybe they were the same geniuses who convinced Grimes that a TV spot showing her firing a shotgun - wearing safety glasses - while declaring she didn't support "President Obama on guns." Because as everyone knows, President Obama supported legislation mandating felons and domestic violence offenders to forgo background checks as long as they bought safety glasses with their AR-15s.

Or maybe it was the consultants advising sitting U.S. Senators - who had campaigned side-by-side just 2 years ago with President Obama - to ban him from campaigning or touting their collective accomplishments - as if there were no accomplishments - as if President Obama didn't win 2 terms for President of the United States with the help of millions of independent non-Democrat voters.

Extremely well-paid consultants advised a tremendous game of Let's Pretend. Armed with millions and millions of dollars for polling, consulting and paid television advertisements, political consultants seemingly convinced smart and capable office-holders like Colorado's Sen. Mark Udall to run on a very narrow platform of protecting women's right to choose. Yes, women's right to choose has been under attack and is a concern. But is that the way a sitting U.S. Senator who has a list of accomplishments several pages long should run for reelection?

Let's Pretend that Senate Republicans haven't been on a mission of obstruction for six years. Let's Pretend that the Republican House hasn't used its majority to vote repeals of the Affordable Care Act 50 times over the past 5 years. Let's Pretend that 86% of the country's voters haven't said over and over that they disapprove of the job Congress has done.

I could go on and on with the Let's Pretend advice given by political consultants and followed by newly defeated Democratic office-holders. It's shocking and sad that these smart, accomplished people work so hard to raise the money running for office requires, then lose their bearings and the courage to stand up for their beliefs or proudly tout their record and principles.

Instead they are convinced and - cave into the wisdom of political consultants - that raising the minimum wage, and equal pay for women are American voters' highest concerns. An observer could travel across the country attending campaign events of Democratic office-holders and hear the same rhetoric on 2 or 3 issues. As one national pundit declared in the final weeks, the political consultants should be sued for malpractice.

The shame of 2014 elections is that Democratic candidates had the resources, campaign infrastructure, the 2-time national presidential campaign winner - one of the best campaigners ever - available and sitting in the White House, and an economy which has been rapidly recovering all at their beck and call. They listened to the Let's Pretend consultants all the way down the slippery slope to defeat. But not to worry, Hillary will get right back out there on her listening tour - probably sporting a nice pair of studious glasses perched half-way down her nose. Then she can carefully formulate her poll-tested focus-grouped 2016 blueprint all the while sending fundraising email after fundraising email to pay her political consultants for their outstanding advice.