Robert Gibbs? Really? What, exactly, are his qualifications to run the DNC? Oh, right, we’re in the post-qualifications, post-experience era in politics:
Democratic insiders are taking the temperature of some top party donors about the possibility of naming White House press secretary Robert Gibbs as chairman of the Democratic National Committee heading into President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, senior officials tell POLITICO.
Under the scenario being tested, Tim Kaine, the current DNC chairman and former governor of Virginia, would be named to a top administration post, perhaps in the Cabinet, the officials said.
Donors’ response has been positive, according to people who have been consulted.
Of course it has. After all, these are the same people who positively responded to a three-year Senator for a Presidential candidate with no executive, military, domestic, or even private-sector business experience, and look how well that worked out.
For the record, Gibbs’ experience consists almost entirely of serving on communication teams for politicians. After graduating from college in 1993, he worked on the staffs of a series of House and Senate members before joining John Kerry’s team in 2003 for his 2004 presidential bid as press secretary, and then resigning when Kerry fired Jim Jordan. He then took a position as a mouthpiece for an independent group that opposed Howard Dean’s bid, and later in 2004 began working for Barack Obama’s Senate campaign, moving to the presidential campaign after two years on Capitol Hill.
Note what his CV doesn’t include. Gibbs has never run an organization, or worked as an executive at all. The most he’s ever done was manage a small communications staff at the White House. He has no experience in fundraising, as his campaign experiences have all been on the communications side. He has never stood for election himself, which isn’t a complete disqualification for the job, but it certainly doesn’t help, either. In short, there is nothing at all in his background to recommend Gibbs for a position which requires coordination, fundraising prowess, organization, and a political talent with experience and connections supporting it.
Under those circumstances, why would anyone take this proposal seriously, let alone react positively to it? It threatens to take the DNC hostage to the administration, putting it even further in the control of the White House political team, whose instincts haven’t exactly proven felicitous to Democrats in this midterm cycle. With this kind of grip on the DNC, the West Wing inner circle will demand much tighter loyalty from Democrats on the campaign trail in 2012, which could make 2010 look like a walk in the park. It’s political suicide on just about every level one can imagine.
It’s not as though the Democrats don’t have any bench talent, either. They could tap Evan Bayh, for instance, who has extensive experience both in Washington and in the Rust Belt, plenty of executive experience, and an ability to make the DNC look moderate and approachable. Michael Bennet will also shortly become available, or if they want a progressive, Russ Feingold. Ed Rendell would make a better DNC chair, although he’s already had the gig once and may not want it back again. There promises to be a lot of unemployed Democrats looking for a regular job come January, perhaps even Harry Reid, whose prodigious fund-raising talents might be sorely needed by the DNC.
But apparently the Democrats prefer to roll over to a White House that already has them on the road to ruin, allowing Obama to pick yet another completely unqualified party leader to speed that march to double-time. I won’t say I’ll be unhappy to see that, but I’d be surprised if it really comes to pass.