The Single Hardest Thing For Candidates To Understand

There are a lot of hard things about running for office, like asking all of your friends for money, but the single hardest thing for any candidate to understand, whether they are running for The White House or The State House or the City Council is that the consultant class that rules the legacy side of the Democratic party are, as a group, absolutely incompetent.

I don't mean they are not so great, not so smart, but absolutely completely incompetent.

Candidates just don't get this.

I have a friend who raised a lot of money, $300,000 plus to run in a Congressional contested primary. His consultant told him it wasn't worth spending $1,000 a month on blog outreach. He got whacked 70-30 in a primary by someone embraced by the netroots.

In races all around the country, consultants right now are steering candidates to direct mail and television - direct mail! It boggles the mind.

Bob Shrum, Tad Devine and their partners destroyed the Kerry Campaign with their complete misunderstanding of who John Kerry was but what the effect of the Swift Boaters would be.

Now, as there is at least the possibility that Senator Clinton's campaign is done, there is this tidbit about Mark Penn, someone whose company will be paid over $10,000,000 by the Clinton Campaign -- this is from TIME Magazine:

As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified -- and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?"

That is not a mistake, that is not someone who is a little off, that is a moment that should make every candidate pause, but it won't - because their consultant will tell them - don't worry about it.