Political Consultant Racket
Matthew Yglesias has an interesting piece in Washington Monthly on the subject of Bob Shrum and his new book. This passage is especially interesting:
The consultant’s racket, especially on the Democratic side, is a good one to break into. Clients who lose wind up leaving office, losing power and stature. The D.C. power structure, meanwhile, is composed of winners, some of whose campaigns you probably worked for in the past. Even better, it’s fairly rare for an incumbent to lose, so once you have some significant politicians in your Rolodex you don’t need to be especially good at your job to rack up wins. Challengers who hire you and win are in your debt. Challengers who hire you and lose are yesterday’s news. And challengers who want credibility with the big-dollar fundraisers and other party kingmakers need to demonstrate that credibility by hiring someone from the circle of established consultants.
It’s nice work, if you can get it.
One often wonders how people with a consistent losing record keep getting hired to these gigs and moving up the ladder. Then again, that’s a pattern familiar in professional sports, where coaches and managers with abysmal records of failure seem to continually get hired by new teams.
It’s as if the only thing people who do the hiring look at is the list of titles on a résumé — Look at all that experience! — and nobody cares about who won or lost.