Sunday, January 22, 2012

I had a feeling this was the case... Dave Carney wasn't "actively involved in the campaign for quite a while, a few months."

This makes everything make much more sense about Rick's huge campaign implosion. I had a sense that this might have been the case...

Let me just let this speak for itself (link)...
David Carney of Hancock, a nationally-known political strategist, had been Perry's top political adviser since he ran for lieutenant governor of Texas in 1997. Carney and others left the Newt Gingrich campaign in June to go with his long-time friend and boss as he mulled a presidential run, and eventually decided to run.
At first, Carney was Perry's chief presidential campaign strategist, but in the fall, when a new regime headed by former George W. Bush advisor Joe Allbaugh was brought in by Perry, Carney's role was severely diminished, even if he was not officially demoted.
As it turned out, Carney was not in South Carolina today when Perry dropped out. He was home in Hancock.
In fact, Carney told the Primary Status today, “I haven't been actively involved in the campaign for quite a while, a few months.”
Carney, a well-respected political operative who got his start in Gov. John H. Sununu's State House office in the early 1980s and who headed the George H.W. Bush (41) White House political office, declined to criticize the Allbaugh regime in retrospect.
It takes a big man... and I am not talking about mass... to do what Dave Carney did here... here is Dave Carney, who arguably is responsible for Rick's rise to presidential contender status in the first place... Dave Carney who has been with Perry for more than a decade... Dave Carney who we now know was not even really actively involved in Rick's campaign for years... Dave Carney who nevertheless has been the scapegoat for the ineptitude of unscrupulous Washington based consultants who actually were running the show... here is Dave Carney with a chance to settle scores and correct the record... so loyal that he refuses to engage in sniping... instead of telling the world the short comings of Joe Allbaugh... the Bushie who hand picked and groomed Michael Brown as his successor at FEMA... instead of pointing out that he was not even involved in the abortion of a campaign over the past few months... Dave Carney chose to stay above the level...

Think about that...

Here is Dave Carney... the guy who helped make Rick the success he has been... and who has been blamed for Rick's presidential implosion even though he hasn't even been involved for a long long time... here is Dave Carney, with a perfect opportunity to settle scores and let everyone know just what he really thinks of Bushie Joe Allbaugh... here is Carney's opportunity to deflect blame onto blame's rightful owner... and what does he do? He "declined to criticize the Allbaugh regime" in retrospect.

Like I said it takes a big man to do what Carney did...

A blog that popped up over the past few months the Rick Perry Report agrees with me (link)...
Harsh criticism was leveled against Texas Gov. Rick Perry's national campaign manager Dave Carney by unnamed sources in Politico the Saturday before the Iowa Caucuses. The article didn't help the Iowa effort, and those "sources" interviewed revealed an astonishing amount of disloyalty to the candidate that hired them.
But when you're a political consultant, and you see that the polls aren't going your way, it's better for the life of your career that you are the first and loudest to place the blame on the other guy. This is especially true if you're inside the Washington D.C. beltway. That fall guy became Dave Carney.
Carney was hailed as a super-genius of political campaigns who, after leading the Perry fundraising to a record $17.4 million in donations in just 49 days, skillfully engineered Perry's airborne assault into the Iowa narrative, just when Iowa was attempting to create the state's own narrative that candidate Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll. The bump a straw poll victory would have been was not to be because of Carney's maneuver. Playing off the Perry image, Perry announced his candidacy in South Carolina just as the straw poll results were announced.
Sasha Issenberg scrambled to release his book that relied upon scientific studies of the 2006 Perry Gubernatorial campaign. It was released as an ebook on Amazon just as Perry plunged into the presidential campaign: Rick Perry and His Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America, A Sneak Preview from The Victory Lab (Amazon link in new window). "As general campaign consultant, Carney was suspicious of the various vendors selling their wares to political campaigns," Issenberg explained. "The television vendors told him to buy more TV ads, the printer told him to buy more direct mail. He wasn't sure any of it worked."
The Perry campaign of 2006 hired scientists to study the effects of various campaign techniques. Issenberg's full interview:

Issenberg explains that the results of the studies, as explained in his book, indicate that candidates get more favorable coverage in local media when the candidate visits personally than from the statewide or national press pool reports. Aggressive retail campaigning was the centerpiece of the Carney campaign, and it was copied by Allbaugh even after Carney was vanquished to Fort New Hampshire. There, like Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman at Fort Henry, Carney was abandoned and cut off, starved of resources and forced to surrender with only 1,500 pitiful votes on primary day in January.
Carney gave his postmortem of sorts to the New Hampshire Union-Leader. His summary: There wasn't enough time to prepare and raise the cash to compete, the early debates became a huge hurdle, and there wasn't enough candidate time to tend to the "vineyard" of support he could have grown in New Hampshire.
No where in his remarks were snarky criticisms of his peers or the candidate himself.
The POLITICO article that hit just days before the Iowa caucuses and arguably helped to stunt Rick's mild surge in the polls at that time was entirely one sided... it was all anonymous Washington consultant hacks trying to save their reputations and hides... all while Rick's actual loyal team held their fire and remained loyal and above the fray... in fact here was Dave Carney's quote at that time (link)...

Carney, a longtime GOP strategist who worked for Bush 41’s presidential campaigns, declined to comment for this story.
“I don’t think so,” he said in response to an email asking to get his side. “Not much good can come from process stories like this.”

He is right... and in the history of Rick's team I have never seen anything like that POLITICO article. Heads should have rolled that very day. In fact I would wager that if heads had rolled a lot of people might have had more confidence in Rick... and you would have avoided Erick Erickson calling for campaign changes (link)...

Here is a blog I wrote but didn't publish months ago because I was having trouble getting answers from my contacts at Rick's campaign who were extremely tight lipped until Friday, and I didn't want to post something without knowing I was on the right track from discussions with them... what follows is a blog I wrote in early December...
This article from the Huffington Post... yes that Huffington Post... is stunning (link). Excerpt follows...
WASHINGTON -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's newest television ad criticizing the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was created over the objections of at least one top staff member, sources in the Perry campaign tell The Huffington Post.
The spot, which began airing in Iowa on Wednesday, features the governor questioning why soldiers can serve openly in the military while children "can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." Coming a day after Perry criticized the Obama administration for using foreign aid to defend gay rights abroad, the ad was one more note in a fairly overt dog whistle aimed at the Hawkeye State's influential evangelical voting block.
But not everyone was comfortable with the script. When the ad was being crafted several weeks ago, Perry's top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, called it "nuts," according to an email sent from Fabrizio to the ad's main creator, longtime GOP operative Nelson Warfield. In a separate email to The Huffington Post, Warfield confirmed that the ad was made over Fabrizio's objections.
"Tony was against it from the get-go," Warfield wrote. "It was the source of some extended conversation in the campaign. To be very clear: That spot was mine from writing the poll question to test[ing] it to drafting the script to overseeing production."
That a presidential campaign would suffer from internal disagreements over a controversial ad or broader campaign strategy is far from shocking. High-stakes political operations are often rife with strategic disputes. But it is rare for those disputes to spill over into public view and even rarer (at least when it comes to Republican politics) for them to center on the issue of gay rights.
It just so happens that several members of Perry's campaign staff have worked to advance LGBT causes inside the GOP. Liz Mair, a consultant to the Texas governor, serves on the advisory board of the group GOProud. And Fabrizio has done polling for the Log Cabin Republicans in addition to urging lawmakers to reconsider their approach to the culture wars and embrace basic fairness for gay Americans on the issue of marriage. He was considered an ally by pro-gay rights conservatives.
This isn't a unique feature of Perry's campaign. Republican candidates are increasingly relying on younger operatives who are far more sympathetic to gay rights. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour did during his exploratory run for the presidential nomination earlier this year. But Barbour never aired a blatantly anti-gay ad campaign that demonized one of the LGBT community's signature legislative achievements.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for Tony Fabrizio to have been a part of that," said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of GOProud. "He has lined his pockets for years with money from the gay community to conduct polls to ostensibly help gay people in this country, and for him to be a part of this is the height of Washington hypocrisy. It is absolutely what is wrong with Washington. It is all about the payday for these people."
If Fabrizio found the ad repugnant and it aired over his objections, LaSalvia argued, he should have quit in protest. "Perry said in the ad that the service of tens of thousands of patriotic gay Americans is what's wrong in this country," LaSalvia said. "That is an outrageous and un-American statement."
Reached by email, Fabrizio confirmed that he was uncomfortable with the ad. But he said he was going to follow the advice he has given to candidates throughout his career: "If you start answering personal attacks, you are just rewarding the attacker."
Other sources familiar with the Perry campaign have said that Warfield is the one driving the sharp cultural conservative tones that have come from the candidate in recent days. In addition to coming out against openly gay service in the armed forces, the campaign has tested voter reaction against taxpayer-funded abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood.
Reached by phone, Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for the Perry campaign, called the internal disagreements and the external criticism over the ad "irrelevant."
"This ad is about the governor's faith, the governor's belief and his campaign, not about any one else," Sullivan said. "And the ad talks about what Perry views as this administration pushing a liberal agenda in places like the military, while at the same time praying at football games, moments of silence at school and celebrating Christmas in the public arena is frequently verboten and certainly not defended by this administration. The bottom line is that the ad is about Governor Perry's faith and his belief."
Sullivan noted that Perry has not formally come out for reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell, should he become president. His decision to criticize the open service of gays in the military, in short, was made from a personal, not a policy, perspective.
"It seems Governor Perry wants to be theocrat in chief, not commander in chief," said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans.
This is not the Rick or Rick campaign I know. Tony Fabrizio is allegedly the top consultant and strategist on Rick's campaign. He is throwing the entire campaign under the bus. He is throwing Rick himself under the bus when Rick is already under fire for making what many believe is a really bad and controversial advertisement. The backlash was too much for Tony on this so he just looked out for himself instead of his candidate or his campaign he is allegedly the boss of. And who are these peeps anyway? Are they even looking out for Rick's reputation here, or are they just trying to make a buck? This is really strange... I have never seen such breakdown on Rick's team in decades of following his career.

Even if Tony is right about hating this commercial... and he is right... for this infighting to be aired this way is such a break from the entire history of Rick's team.

Rick's old team would never have let this happen. In the entire history of Rick's team I have never ever seen anything remotely like the public infighting in this article. Rick's team doesn't even leak things except on purpose, until now. They have always been so disciplined. So loyal. So on message. What happened there? Why did Rick's team throw out the playbook from 2010 and bring in these second rate national consultants who air their dirty laundry and fight with each other in public? This is just so bizarre.

This is really strange. Rick has run such a tight ship for so long... his peeps are always loyal to him... he just wins and wins and wins. Bash him for this or that but judging from his legislative accomplishments and results he is the most successful governor in modern American history.

He gets what he wants. He gets things done. I just hope these national consultants do not ruin Rick for the 2013 session...

Can someone fill me in on what in happening? I am feeling very out of the loop and even Rick's team I know from Texas won't talk to me about this issue.

Now we know... and I suspect much more will come out soon... so far we now know that the campaign team that did such a solid job in 2010 was not manning the controls throughout much of what we have seen in recent months...

As someone who believes that campaigns matter... this is really infuriating... especially since I gave the max dollar amount to Rick's 2012 hopes... only to see him end the campaign less than three weeks into 2012... I gave my money thinking I was giving to the Rick I've seen in action and his campaign team I have seen succeed over the years... instead I was giving to enrich consultant mercenaries based in Washington at Rick's expense... and make no mistake this campaign hurt Rick nationally as well as back home... in a big way. Had Rick kept his real team together they would never have let him tarnish his legacy and harm his future hopes the way he did...

Three points....

  1. I hope Rick ditches Joe Allbaugh, Tony Fabrizio, Nelson Warfield, and all of the other Washington peeps like a bad habit. They are clearly to blame for the campaign failing. I hope blame is assigned properly...
  2. I hope Rick can make amends with Dave Carney and his old team and bring them back into the fold, if they will have him again. They may not after being discarded so casually.
  3. I hope Rick doesn't allow this to make him cynical about the conservative movement... it would be easy to turn his back on those who so cynically turned their back on him... but he is an important figure and I hope he remains committed to conservative causes rather than what is politically expedient... in this campaign he often veered toward what was politically expedient in the extreme short term...

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.