The Spectacle Blog

Sexism or Campaign Lessons 101?

By on 8.2.07 | 10:50AM

I think the Bob Novak column and other commentators miss the point on Jeri Thompson. Frankly, they sound a bit like defenders of Harriet Miers screaming that opponents of her nomination were "sexist." The issue is not whether she is a trophy wife, it is whether she should be running her husband's campaign.Several points are worth considering. First, presidential campaigns are best run by gurus who have expertise in national campaigns and presidential politics. Letting someone, spouse or not, run the show who does not have that experience is a big risk. Second, spouses are not objective and dispassionate and are unlikely to say things like "stop doing softball interviews and see a speech coach to get rid of the uhhhs and mmms." Third, Thompson does have a very qualified campaign head in Randy Enwright and the appearance that he is really not in charge or does not have final say is deadly, as the McCain folks can attest. The recent shake up and particularly the loss of the only other advisor who has played in the major leagues, J.T. Mastranadi, is a sign other qualified professional staff may be hard to entice aboard in this situation. Finally, the "Jeri is in charge" line of stories never mention what Thompson is doing in all this. Is he a passive player in his own campaign? For a fellow with no executive experience and a fire in the belly issue the notion that others are running the show undermines the idea he is capable of running his own organization, perhaps the only executive experience he has ever had. She has final say in hiring and firing decisions, say these unhappy Fred supporters, but he is absent in these tales- not a good sign and utterly at odds with the picture of Romney and Rudy who clearly run their own organizations. And yes, if your spouse is Bill Clinton, you get to disregard all of the above. If your spouse is not, think twice about the downsides of letting your spouse- whatever his or her appearance and age - run the show.
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