Friday, November 19, 2004

I wish I had said this. Wait: I did.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I said it in 2000, and I said it in 2004: If Carville is on board, the democratic candidate wins the presidency. I was giving short shrift to Carville's partner in crime, however, namely one Paul Begala. Courtesy of ABC's The Note, The Sunday Boston Globe reports that Begala, who co-engineered [with James Carville and a host of others] Bill Clinton's successful White House run in 1992, was approached by the Kerry campaign in August to become a senior campaign advisor. After weighing his burgeoning TV career, he called Mary Beth Cahill to say yes, and she never called him back:
So in mid-June, Begala met with campaign manager Cahill at Kerry's campaign headquarters in Washington and said he had changed his mind; he would quit CNN and join Kerry.

The reaction was not what he anticipated. What are you talking about? Cahill asked, according to Begala.

"It seems obvious you don't have a message or strategy-driven campaign," Begala said he replied.

Again, Cahill asked what Begala was talking about. Begala remembers that she looked "like I was going to perform open-heart surgery on her. She said: 'I need to think about this. Give me a couple of days to set that up.' From that day to now, I never heard another word from her. And you know, I was pretty angry. I'm still pretty angry."
Cahill now says she made a mistake in not calling Begala back. You think?

Not to toot my own horn [aw, why not; it's my blog], but I've said for years that getting the horse sense that Carville[or Begala] would have brought to the inner workings of the Kerry campaign would very possibly have been the difference between success and failure. By ignoring the South and placing all your hopes into one traditionally Republican state [Ohio], you are taking a hell of an electoral college gamble. The Democrats lost that gamble in 2000, and they did it again in 2004. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. For shame.

It also points out an "inside the Beltway" mindset I saw in 1985, when I interned for then-Senator Al Gore. I was a third year law student, and was willing to give of whatever skills I had for free [law school credit aside]. Gore's staff, however, was so turf-conscious and fearful of getting upstaged by anybody that they had me doing the xeroxing and signing constituent letters with the auto-pen.

My take is that Cahill responded to Begala's offer with shock and apparent disdain because she was afraid she was going to lose her campaign leadership position with Begala on board. Alternatively, she was afraid he would shake up the campaign that she had been instrumental in developing to that point. So, when Kerry & Co. needed it the most, they spurned assistance from one of the few people on the Democratic side who has ever successfully won a presidential campaign.

And now, Mary Beth Cahill is unemployed.