Bad news: Civility candidate’s campaign pretty darned uncivil
posted at 8:08 pm on August 4, 2011 by Allahpundit
Should I bother blogging this? It’s a great read and hands-down the Big Political Story Of The Day, but how “big” can a story be when the subject is polling an asterisk? It’d be a bombshell if it had to do with Romney’s or Bachmann’s campaign. Because it’s Huntsman, it’s more like a really, really bright sparkler.
[A] longtime family friend tells POLITICO that Huntsman’s wife and father fret that his presidential prospects have been threatened by the turmoil — and he places the blame on John Weaver, Huntsman’s controversial chief strategist…
He described Huntsman’s organization as disorganized and full of staff tension, disclosed new facts about the candidate’s announcement day mishaps, recounted tearful conversations with the recently departed [campaign manager Susie] Wiles and revealed other previously undisclosed resignations…
After Fischer’s revelations, multiple sources close to Huntsman’s campaign subsequently came forward to corroborate some of the information and disclose new facts — revealing a campaign divided between factions loyal to Weaver and those who couldn’t stand him…
The problem for Huntsman, of course, is that all this high-decibel public squabbling undercuts his main rationale for winning the GOP nomination — that the former Utah governor offers the level-headed competence and executive experience needed to unseat President Barack Obama. Not only that, but voters might wonder how he’d bring civility to the public discourse — another Huntsman promise — if he can’t do the same inside the four walls of his campaign headquarters…
Added a … source who worked on the campaign, of Weaver: “One minute he’s a nice man and the next minute he’s blasting you with four-letter words. I can’t understand why Huntsman keeps him.”
Deadpanned Fischer: “If you’re the civility candidate your campaign has to be civil to one another.”
Weigel wonders why Democrats have been circulating this story today when the improbable emergence of Huntsman as GOP nominee would help Obama by all but ensuring a third-party challenge on the right. I don’t get it either. In case you can’t be bothered to read the whole piece, the villain turns out to be Huntsman’s chief strategist, John Weaver, whom you may remember from the last time a Republican presidential campaign melted down in mid-summer. Weaver’s an old McCain ally and Rove nemesis who briefly turned Democrat after Bush was elected before finding his way back to the right with, er, Huntsman. The last time he made a blip in conservative media was back in June, when Esquire magazine quoted him as saying, “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party. No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.” Exactly the sort of thing you’d want your chief strategist telling the press if you already have a credibility problem with your party’s base, no? For more on Weaver, read Matt Lewis’s terrific post at the Daily Caller tracking his career, which is notable for lots of backstage drama and lots of … defeats. Exactly the qualities you’d seek in a chief strategist if you’re keen to project an image of cool, quiet managerial command, no? And yet, Huntsman’s sticking by him. Go figure.
Devil’s advocate exit question: As embarrassing as this piece is, does it hurt Huntsman at all? McCain won the nomination despite his own early campaign drama (although, granted, he had advantages that Huntsman doesn’t), and Huntsman is so far back in the polls and desperate for media traction that it might help him in a perverse way to have people talking about him for whatever reason. If New Hampshire sours on Romney and Huntsman’s numbers start to climb, this story sets him up for the inevitable paint-by-numbers “comeback!” buzz down the line. No one cares about his backstage problems except political junkies.
Breaking on Hot Air