Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dems need to wake up and...

Fire the Consultants
by Amy Sullivan
"...Since their devastating loss last fall, Democrats have cast about for reasons why their party has come up short three election cycles in a row and have debated what to do.... But one of the most obvious and least discussed reasons Democrats continue to lose is their consultants.... Yet when it comes to political consultants, Democrats seem incapable of taking this basic managerial step.

A major reason for that reluctance is that Democrats simply won't talk openly about the problem.... Few insiders dare complain about the hammerlock loser consultants have on the process -- certainly neither the professional campaign operatives whom the consultants hire nor the journalists to whom the consultants feed juicy inside-the-room detail. 'Everybody in town talks [privately] about Hansen and how he's held candidates hostage through the DSCC,' says Chuck Todd, editor of National Journal's Political Hotline. Todd, however, is one of the few brave insiders. I interviewed two dozen Democratic Party leaders, operatives, and others for this story. Virtually no one had a good thing to say about Hansen or the rest of the oligarchy. Yet few would talk on the record. The exceptions were those who have gotten out of the business of working for political candidates such as Dan Gerstein, a former advisor to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). 'If a company like General Motors had the same image problem that the Democratic Party does, they would fire the guys responsible,' Gerstein told me. But not Democrats. 'We don't just hire those guys,' Gerstein said, 'we give them bonuses....'"