I’ve previously noted Noam Schrieber’s theory that the Democrats are too beholden to a small coterie of inside-the-Beltway pollsters and political consultants, who have an undue influence on the party’s ideas, rhetoric and tactics. Howard Fineman’s latest 2004 presidential race rundown supports this thesis:
Winning campaigns usually, though not always, are led by candidates and managers who haven’t been around Washington and the upper echelons of electioneering. Recent examples include the Reaganites, who came out of California circles, and the Clinton campaign, which was led by a cadre of younger hands who hadn’t managed a presidential campaign before.
That’s not true this time. Each of the Big Five campaigns is being run by a member of the Washington Democratic management elite. That includes the “outsider” Dean, whose main man is Joe Trippi, a savvy veteran who began his career working on Walter Mondale’s campaign in 1984. At least Trippi has moved to Vermont, where Dean was governor for a decade. The rest of the Trippi family is about to follow him north. “I love it up here,” he says. He sounded like he meant it. But the rest of his consulting firm is still in Washington.