Saturday, February 12, 2011

Palin's Hiring of 'Chief of Staff' Evidence of Organizational Failure, not Presidential Candidacy

CNN reported:

Sarah Palin has added a veteran Republican strategist [Michael Glassner] to serve as chief-of-staff for her political action committee, Sarah PAC, CNN has learned. ...

And Politico reported:

Sarah Palin has hired a veteran operative to serve as a chief of staff to her loosely organized team, one of the biggest indicators yet that the former Alaska governor is leaning toward a run for the White House. ...

The fact is that nobody -- Todd Palin? -- was officially in charge of SarahPAC. That lack of management has led to a lot of problems, so it shouldn't be surprising that the PAC should bring someone in with management (and fundraising) experience. To construe the appointment of a chief-of-staff as evidence that Palin is going to run is something -- well! -- something straight out of the fevered minds of palinistas and palinoiacs. CNN's characterization of Palin's team as "loosely organized" was echoed in Politico's post, which stated, "Glassner will be tasked with bringing greater organization to the far-flung and small staff that resides in several different states and time zones."

Palin's has been quite an amateurish organization and has been long overdue for a shakeup. Glassner's first task will be to organize the existing staff, to improve its discipline, fund raising, expenditures and reporting. Heads may roll; the existing staff must be professionalized before any consideration can be given to staffing-up in anticipation of a run, if one is being considered. Remember, too, that if Palin runs, it won't be SarahPAC that manages the campaign.

There is a little deja vu in Glassner's appointment. Glassner became involved in Palin's VP campaign just before the VP debate, which, in 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal, might have been an epic fail:

... in recent days, Gov. Palin flubbed quasi-mock debates in New York City and Philadelphia, some operatives said. Finger-pointing began, and then intensified after her faltering interview with CBS anchorwoman Katie Couric. However, she performed better when she took questions from the press after touring Ground Zero and remarked about her parents' visit there after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Her performance also sparked negative responses from some conservative pundits, and she has slipped in some polls. Last week, nearly half the respondents in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll said she is unqualified to be president, while one in three said they were "not at all" comfortable with the idea of Gov. Palin as vice president, up five points from a poll in early September.

Until the weekend, the highest levels of the McCain campaign were focused on Sen. McCain's response to the financial crisis and his own debate against Sen. Barack Obama.

The McCain campaign has put in place several other well-regarded advisers to Gov. Palin, including head of vice-presidential operations Michael Glassner, who has worked for former Sen. Bob Dole, and Mr. Eskew, who worked for President George W. Bush's campaign and administration. ...

The Journal's report lends credence to what we're told in Game Change (pg. 401):

Given the acuteness of [Nicolle] Wallace's concern, McCain's advisers felt they had to bring the candidate into the loop that Saturday. Bluntly, they described to him their unease about Palin's mental state. McCain suggested that they move the debate prep to his spread in Sedona [Arizona]. Give her room to breathe. Let her bring her family. A change of scenery might do her good. Cindy would be there to support Palin, and a doctor friend of the McCains would be on hand to observer her.

Perhaps the PAC's namesake hasn't yet become organized, or has become disorganized, or ... . An interesting question is: Who realized that the PAC was disorganized and decided that a chief-of-staff should be hired?

Some of Glassner's other experience with the McCain/Palin campaign was reported in The Washington Post's "McCain Lists Top Bundlers," and The Huffington Post's "McCain Bundler, Booted Over Role In FCC-Fined Telecom, Now Staffs Palin."

Update, February 13, 2011: Added the quote from the Wall Street Journal. Reading between the lines, it may be that Glassner, who was head of operations for the 2008 VP campaign, became more directly involved with the candidate after her disappointing interview with Katie Couric and poor performance during debate preparations.


conscious at last said...

This is an excellent point-- really sharp. For example, it is possible that the Feds have been looking into SarahPAC and demanded a clean-up.

dmoreno56 said...

There was a doctor????? That information is so telling and could be so damaging. She displays her mental illness almost daily, but for McCain to actually HAVE a doctor over for observation???? and this Glassner wants to work with that???? He must have other motives--book deal after the crash and burn???

zoe said...

Agree with conscious: this is a very thoughtful post. SarahPac does not run the campaign. Again, she has chosen someone she knew, was close to. This DOES NOT mean she is running. It means she is trying to clean up the PAC, and get more funds....period. Even NPR reporting tonight 'LOOKS LIKE SHE IS GOING TO RUN". EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS OUT THERE, IN ORDER TO GATHER MORE $


zoe said...

Thank you. I agree this does not mean she is running. She is looking to clean up the PAC, make people think she is running ($$$$) and that is it. The guy she hired is an unethical hack.