The professional malpractice of the 2008 John McCain campaign team, revisited.

This Breitbart article about McCain’s 2008 campaign team is infuriating me far too much for me to write coherently about it for very long, so let me be brief: speaking professionally, I agree with it.  The faction of Team McCain represented by Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace should not be allowed anywhere NEAR a Republican Presidential campaign for the rest of their lives.

And I mean it: the main campaign was a collection of professional political malpractice that seemed content to merely put up enough of a fight to satisfy honor, then lose gracefully. While I like and respect most of the people who were directly involved in handling New Media aspects for McCain, it became incredibly clear by the end of the 2008 election cycle that the McCain campaign essentially treated those people with about as much respect as they did us; which is to say, none at all. The campaign would have happily ignored us completely, if they thought that they could get away with it; as it was, they made sure that we knew that our inclusion was both grudging and resented – and literally muted whenever possible.

How bad was it?  Let me put it this way: I’ve already gotten more out of Romney’s campaign than I ever have out of McCain’s – and Mitt Romney isn’t even the official nominee yet.  The bottom line is that it turned out that John McCain wanted to be the nominee a heck of a lot more than he ever wanted to be the President, and while I’m sure that McCain feels that his  team acquitted themselves well in the 2008 general election the rest of us are… somewhat unpersuaded.

But don’t get me started.  There was one conference call that still raises my blood pressure by a measurable amount…

(H/T: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Like many people at the time, I thought that McCain’s offer to suspend campaigning as a reaction to the financial crisis was a good one; the difference  is that I am willing to admit that yeah, I got that one catastrophically wrong.

19 thoughts on “The professional malpractice of the 2008 John McCain campaign team, revisited.”

  1. Stacy McCain’s been saying that Schmidt and his crew should be blacklisted (if not tarred, feathered, and whipped bloody) not just for their mismanagement of his crazy cousin John’s campaign, but for their fallback plan of blaming everything on Sarah Palin. Who was pretty much the ONLY reason a lot of us were willing to vote for “the Maverick”.

    1. I can’t really talk about it without being guilty of the thing that’s bugging me about RSM, Luke. Sorry about that.

  2. The real malpractice was the early republican voters choosing ” the war hero” over all the other guys running, all of which were leaps better than his sorry self.If not for SP I doubt the fool would have gotten 30% of the vote.

  3. Palin was not a mistake. Palin injected some excitement into what was a very boring campaign. And look at what’s happened since 2008. McCain should be given credit for picking her as evidenced by the influence she has had on national politics since. And much to Palin’s credit she has campaigned for candidates that were not obvious winners. In many ways, Palin is now a more powerful figure in national politics than McCain.

  4. Man, I hate it when people are being tactful about the animosities.

    Question that does not require the divulging of animosities: Given what’s happened over the last 3+ years, do you think John McCain regrets running from October onward a Bob Dole “Let’s lose gracefully” campaign?

  5. The mistake was not suspending the campaign. The mistake was supporting the bailouts!

  6. The way McCain ran that ‘campaign’ and the very laim debates made me believe at the time he was picked by the DNC and the New York Times; nothing since has dissuaded me from that belief. Finding out that Palin was such a huge draw must have scared them, another month of running and we’d of had another President. If John was a true patriot he would have committed suicide before letting Obama get in, Sarah would have been a super President.

  7. I blame Florida’s open primary for McCain’s nomination. That’s where he picked up momentum. Dems wanted him nominated so they voted in the R primary.

  8. Don’t know enough about the inside baseball to address how new media was treated, but whole-heartedly agree with your assessment that the campaign was run with an intent to “lose gracefully” for whatever reason.

    As a side note, I was directed here from Instapundit, but frequently read the Other McCain. So Stacy is blacklisted here? I thought he liked you.


    1. You may have missed it, Bob, but earlier in this thread I typed this out:

      “Under the circumstances, I would prefer it if we did not discuss RS McCain on this site.”

      That’s a polite way of saying “Please do not discuss RS McCain on this site.” I would appreciate that courtesy being extended to me in the future on this, thank you.

  9. Rich K, I’ve always felt that our nominee was predetermined by previous campaigns, kind of a ‘your turn’ process. And I agree with Ron Nord that the Dims and MSM seem to have some influence on our internal nominating process. After all, it was Democrats in Michigan’s open primary that turned the 2000 Republican race upside down for awhile by giving McCain that primary. McCain’s 2nd place finish did make McCain the perceived favorite for 2008. And it did seem like you could read the NYT today to see what McCain would say tomorrow. There was no sense that any of our party elite in DC had any internet or social media savvy and that has not changed.

  10. I have been impressed with the romney campaign so far. He has stayed on the right message so far, its the economy stupid. He has also made it clear he will cut spending. And his campaign has been pretty nimble in responding to Obamas various attempts at distractions like:
    1. Countering the war on women BS by taking advantage of the “Ann romney never worked a day in her life comment” by turning mothers against the dems.
    2. Countering the dog on the roof story with the Obama ate dog story, until the dems completely gave up on the whole issue.
    3. Swiftly jumping on the Obama overeach with the bin laden add.
    4. Not following the cringing McCain precedent of apoligizing for intemperate comments from minor supporters, while obama supporters could say anything they wished.

    Of course in some of these cases romney has also been helped by a much better prepared conservative blogosphere, like when a blogger unearthed the obama ate dog counterattack. But in any case, it looks to me like Romney is going to put up a real fight, and even has a very good chance to win. I think Romney actually is a gentleman, but he is also used to winning, and is not afraid to do what it takes to win.

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