Just a little more than a week after John McCain’s campaign announced that they would be reducing their payroll by cutting staff due to lack of resources resulting from a lackluster fundraising quarter, additional campaign shakeups were announced today: McCain’s Campaign Manager, Terry Nelson, and Chief Strategist, John Weaver, have resigned effective immediately. Shortly after their announcement, it was also announced that Rob Jesmer, Political Director, and Reed Galen, Deputy Campaign Manager, would also be leaving McCain. Additionally, Mark Salter, a close staffer to McCain, will be scaling back his role in the campaign to that of an unpaid adviser.
Rick Davis, a longtime aid to McCain, will be taking over the campaign. And as with most stories, there’s certainly more to it than you’d think. The majority of strategists, political analysts and pundits out there will spring to their computers in order to write the next “McCain Doomsday” piece or (staying biblical) “McCain Exodus” story (as Drudge is calling it). Prudency and logic simply prevent me from following suit, but don’t get me wrong I’m not saying this is good.
Let’s start with what we know…
- We know that the McCain campaign has been riddled with division at its top levels. Those who philosophically fall in line with Davis, who ran McCain’s operations in 2000 and those who philosophically fall in line with Nelson. These tensions have been escalating over the past few months, especially in light of the fact that McCain would not give Nelson the kind of authority that he demanded.
- We also know that the campaign has been poorly run since its inception. They overestimated how much money they would be able to raise, they ran a luxury campaign when they only had enough money for an economy campaign, they squandered huge amounts of cash on things they didn’t need (like massive amounts of internet advertising…as if people didn’t know who John McCain was), they failed to really deal with McCain’s unpopular position on the Iraq war, their handling of the immigration saga was disastrous…
- We also know that McCain didn’t try and stop Nelson and Weaver from leaving (the nonpolitical term for this is “good riddance).
Now, given all the aforementioned, is it really such a bad thing that the guys at the top are leaving? Now, I recognize that it doesn’t look good when a campaign’s top staff resign; I do. But, consider the alternative of continuing to drag on with a divided staff and a bootleg operation. Not only would that look bad, but it would demonstrate prolonged bad judgment on the part of McCain. Whether or not Nelson and Weaver resigned completely on their own, were fired or (and most likely) were pushed to resign is really irrelevant at this point. All their resignation tells us is that up until this point McCain’s campaign hasn’t been run well and either they or McCain were fed up with the status quo. Well guess what? We already knew that the campaign wasn’t doing well before their resignations.