Sisyphus Shrugged - it's just so maverick
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it's just so maverick
Well, even-the-liberal Jonathan "war is good for children and other living things" Chait called this one back in February
Steve Schmidt Demotion Watch Begins... Now

I really need to start blogging my predictions. I've been telling people for weeks that Rick Davis's firing [from the McCain campaign] was inevitable. Chris Orr and I were even planning to start an office betting pool on when he'd be gone. It happened even faster than I thought.

Anway, let me now go on the record to say that another McCain staff shake-up is, if not inevitable, very likely. McCain's staff is just too factionalized to remain stable unless McCain is consistently winning. And Schmidt is a Bush 2004 veteran who lacks the deep emotional ties to the candiate that other McCainiacs have. I predict that at some point, probably just before or just after the convention, there will be a move to "Let McCain be McCain," and new boss Steve Schmidt will be replaced with either John Weaver or Mike Murphy, to try to recreate the magic of the 2000 campaign.
and sure enough, today
Campaign Manager Rick Davis said Tuesday morning that senior adviser Steve Schmidt would take over day-to-day operations of the campaign. The Bush campaign veteran will report to Davis, but the rest of the campaign will report to Schmidt, who will be in charge of everything from message and communications, to the political structure and organization to scheduling.

Davis will shift into what is being described as a more “natural role” for him — the kind of duties he handled before last summer’s mass firings, working on the vice presidential search, and other long term planning including the Republican convention.

Schmidt’s top priority, according to a senior aide, will be to stop “unforced errors in the campaign.” He is also expected to shore up what some believe is a misguided political operation put in place by Davis – a decentralized system of regional campaign managers who are not given clear instructions from the central campaign.

After Davis announced Schmidt’s new role at the headquarters, they got on a call with the 11 regional directors to let them know they would be reporting to Schmidt. They did not discuss changes to that structure on the call, but CNN has been told it will almost certainly be altered.
That's some righteous prognosticatin' there, Center Man.

Mr. Schmidt will no doubt be key to McCain's much-discussed "respectful campaign" strategy
Top aide Steve Schmidt calls the Democrat’s remarks about small-town Americans “condescending and elitist,” says the campaign will continue criticism “for the duration of Sen. Obama’s candidacy.”
and he'll be invaluable in distancing McCain from the third Bush term thing
Steve Schmidt is a veteran campaign strategist and public relations expert. In his career to date he has been:
  • Chief strategist in charge of Supreme Court nominations of Samuel A. Alito. and Chief Justice John Roberts
  • Counselor and spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • Member of the exclusive "breakfast club" led by top White House adviser Karl Rove that ran President Bush's re-election campaign. (2004)
particularly with the media
In the middle of the interview, [Mike] Allen [of the Politico] and Hewitt began discussing Bush/Cheney '04 media strategist Steve Schmidt, a former top aide to Dick Cheney for communications strategy (i.e., media management). Allen and Hewitt both heaped great praise on Schmidt as a brilliant media strategist, and Allen claimed that the current GOP campaign operatives "are schooled in the Bush-Cheney school . . . all of them learned under Schmidt's rules." Allen is very excited about the fact that a whole new generation of GOP media strategists are becoming so well-practiced in "the Bush-Cheney school" of media manipulation: "the great thing of it is he's populated his ideas into these young people who are out there today, Matt David [of the McCain campaign], Kevin Madden [communications Director for Mitt Romney and formerly for Tom DeLay], all these young people are out there. They sort of have the Schmidt credo."
who know what a fresh breeze through the smoke-filled rooms he is
At the NRA convention in Kentucky this afternoon, Karl Rove portrayed Barack Obama as an effete, South Side liberal who claims he's immune to criticism and and who would confiscate guns by the barrel. The gun stuff is much less important than Rove's general line of argument; Rove has a direct line to McCain advisers Steve Schmidt and Charlie Black and has been pushing the campaign to make these sorts of contrasts.
Luckily for him, Schmidt won't have to carry the load alone while he's learning on the job. They're bringing another fresh face in to help him
Former Giuliani campaign manager Mike DuHaime, another longtime associate of Schmidt’s who has been working for both the McCain team and the RNC, will also be taking on more responsibility.
DuHaime's got a Chait-level political prognostication record of his own
KWN: Some critics in the MSM and the Blogosphere are skeptical that Mayor Giuliani will be able to win Florida if he does not win a primary or caucus up until that point. How confident are you that he will win Florida?

Michael DuHaime: We have taken a lot of criticism for having a bit of an unconventional approach. But The Mayor has never listened to conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom a year ago said that he would not even be a serious candidate past the spring or summer. They said that he would never be able to last in the race. Not only did he last but he lead in the race and is certainly one of the top-tier candidates here as we go forward. If he had listened to conventional wisdom, he probably wouldn’t have ran for Mayor of New York, right? Five-to-one Democrat, how could a Republican win? He probably would have never said, I can cut crime in New York. He would never had been able to reduce the welfare rolls as he did because the conventional wisdom and the pundits said he couldn’t do it. But he has never listened to that. He has always said that we have to do what we believe is right, and we are going to stick to that.

...

So we are comfortable with our strategy. We think its very good. I am very confident about Florida. First, Rudy has a base in Florida that is better than anyone else’s. He is very familiar with Florida going all the way back to his days in the Reagan Justice Department. We have a great operation down there. Great endorsements and a great field team. Great grassroots volunteers. We have a base of support that is very familiar with The Mayor from folks that have moved down to Florida in recent years that are familiar with The Mayor’s record.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be a very tight and close race throughout-that is understood.
and he was right, if by tight and close you mean that a distant third has the same number of digits as first (below: Mr. Duhaime talks about the groundswell of support for Giuliani in Florida, which is, apparently, "Rudy Country")


In fairness, the Giuliani campaign wasn't DuHaime's first time at the roundabout. He came to that campaign as "someone with such expertise in national politics, who has served in such a key role for the national Republican party during some of its strongest years"

That would be this role

GOP consultant Terry Nelson, who put DuHaime in charge of President Bush's 2004 reelection effort in the Northeast, notes that DuHaime lost all 11 states he oversaw but still impressed everyone with his targeted get-out-the-vote operation.

"I think it says a lot that here's a guy who didn't win the most electoral votes, but who everyone thinks still did a great job," said Nelson, until recently the campaign manager for GOP rival John McCain.

(where he impressed everyone with his keen political insight)

At first, however - back in 2006 when Giuliani had yet to announce his intentions - DuHaime played hard to get. "He kept saying, 'Well, people are telling me that you're not really running,'" recalled Carbonetti.

But DuHaime says now that he could tell Giuliani had made up his mind. And based on the crowds he kept seeing Giuliani draw as he campaigned for others during midterm congressional elections, he sensed that Giuliani would do far better than pundits predicted.

and this one
DuHaime served as Political Director of the Republican National Committee from January 2005 to December 2006, where he become known for his ability to effectively organize on the grassroots level.
Ayup. This is the prodigy who directed the Republican electoral triumph in '06.

Mssrs. Schmidt and DuHaime are expected to concentrate on keeping McCain, who is running  as a symbol of change and definitely not for a third Bush term, on message.

That Jon Chait. He's uncanny.
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