Posted on | December 31, 2011 | 47 Comments
The secret to an effective “oppo dump” is to leave no fingerprints. The campaign trying to push negative information about its rival into the media strives to obscure the origin of the attack.
If the Rick Perry campaign thinks that delivering its opposition research files to Erick Erickson is an effective messaging technique — well, good luck with that. And the fact that the “oppo dump” doesn’t indicate any wrongdoing by the targeted candidate? Hey, if desperation was a cologne fragrance, you’d reek of it.
The overpaid staffers who have run the Perry campaign into the ditch are already preparing their excuses for failure in Iowa:
[S]ome of his advisers have begun laying the groundwork to explain how the Texas governor bombed so dramatically in a race that he seemed to control for a brief period upon entering the race in August.
Their explanations for the nosedive come against the backdrop of a campaign riven by an intense, behind-the-scenes power struggle that took place largely between a group of the governor’s longtime advisers and a new cadre of consultants brought on this fall. In the end, the outsiders won out — and ever since have marginalized Perry’s longtime chief strategist while crafting a new strategy in which the Texan has portrayed himself as a political outsider and culture warrior. . . .
[S]ources close to the campaign depict a dysfunctional operation that might be beyond saving because of what they describe as the political equivalent of malpractice by the previous regime.
“There has never been a more ineptly orchestrated, just unbelievably subpar campaign for President of the United States than this one,” said a senior Perry adviser.
Even Perry supporter Dan Riehl is getting sick of this clumsy campaign. Yesterday, I was talking to people about how a candidate with such a great story to tell — Texas has the best economy in the United States — has done so poorly. People who had called Herman Cain’s campaign the worst-run presidential campaign of the year may owe Mark Block an apology.
Remember when I was the first reporter to raise the question of whether Perry’s back pain was a factor in his poor debate performance? They originally denied this, but two weeks ago, Perry admitted that had been a problem. Earlier this week, I talked to a well-informed conservative who claimed to know — from sources close to the Perry campaign — that the governor had been prescribed Oxycontin for pain, and was subsequently taken off that medication when it became apparent it was affecting him negatively.
If true, that would explain a lot about the candidate. Now the question is, “What’s wrong with his campaign staff?”
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:
There’s an old saying that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan. That’s not entirely true; when a big enterprise fails, it usually produces a thousand claims for paternity for someone else. . . .
In order for Perry to regain credibility as a contender, and especially as a Not-Romney who can take on Barack Obama, the collapse of his campaign in October has to be laid at the feet of someone other than Rick Perry.
Indeed: This finger-pointing festival may just be an effort at “strategic communications,” pre-emptive face-saving intended to assure campaign donors (and Perry supporters in South Carolina) that the likely caucus catastrophe on Tuesday isn’t the death knell on his campaign.
And no one now seems to remember who originally dubbed the Perry campaign in Iowa “The Phantom Menace.”
Speaking of being denied the credit I deserve, last night I gave Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard an earful for not mentioning me as an early prophet of the Santorum Surge in a widely-cited item he published this week.
Of course, I don’t blame Hayes personally for the fact that no one important reads a blogger who is Not Good Enough for BlogCon. “A Venn Diagram Might Be Helpful.”
Meanwhile, Dan Riehl has a startling confession: “I guess I’m getting soft in my old age.” Say it ain’t so!