Fred Thompson Doesn't Need McCain's Castoffs

By Bluey Posted in | Comments (10) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

A week ago Michelle Malkin wrote about the possibility of John McCain's former staffers taking jobs with Fred Thompson's up-and-coming presidential campaign. At the time I didn't take it very seriously, but since then the McCain exodus has grown. Yesterday he lost his communications staff.

Matt Lewis writes at Townhall that this could be a boon for Thompson:

The real winner here may turn out to be Fred Thompson. Until recently, I was wondering where in the world he would find a staff. After all, many of the top talent had been grabbed up. Well, it turns out McCain's value may really be as a staffing and training agency for Fred Thompson.

I disagree. Any decision by Thompson to hire McCain's castoffs would send a horrible message to Thompson's legions of supporters. I suspect many of grassroots activists who are supporting Thompson's candidacy flocked to him because McCain was such a turnoff. While the candidate must bear much of the blame, McCain's staff aren't absolved from responsibility.

Thompson has already done a good job recruiting a respectable staff. If he knows what's good for him, he'll stay far away from McCain's leftovers.

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Fred Thompson Doesn't Need McCain's Castoffs 10 Comments (0 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Don't blame McCain's staff for the candidate's bad judgment. McCain tanked because of amnesty. If there are some experienced people who want higher ground, fine. Let's just win in November '08.

I think Fred Thompson has plenty of good people to choose from without having to raid McCain's former or present staff. Say what you will about Tennessee politicians, but person for person, they are among the most impressive group in American politics over the last 35 years. There are plenty of people for Thompson to pick from right there.

And there's a whole new crop of young Tennesseans coming up who'll be leaving their mark over the next 35 years.

All the same, though I agree FDT shouldn't pick-up headline grabbing names from the McCain camp, I think he would do well to pick-up district level staff in Iowa, etc.: field reps and field marshals. The grunts, the troopers.

"He's tough. He's six feet five inches, a big mean fella."
- Baker on FDT, Nixon tapes, 1973

McCain built his team prior to Fred's entry in the race. These people are first and foremost professionals, and, presumably, competent. The fact that McCain was able to pull them together had more to do with the fact that he (McCain) WAS the most conservative candidate (Mitt being an unknown. McCain may still be more conservative than Mitt), and these folks were looking for jobs with the most supportable candidate.

They do not bring philosophical baggage to any campaign.

If you mean "conservative" in terms of fighting the War on Terror, then, vaguely-worded torture ban aside, he probably is. The same is true of his stances on government spending (excuse Ron Paul, who isn't a real candidate).

However, on immigration he goes to the left of the entire GOP field, on trade issues he's about in the middle, on tax cuts he's to the left of most of the field, and his stances on social issues and judges are more than a bit wobbly. Personally, if "conservatism" was the only judge of a candidate right now, I'd probably take Brownback (except on the war) or Hunter (except on trade) over him... that aside, nobody's exactly wowing me at this point.

"The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent, law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose." - James Earl Jones

What I was thinking was that McCain had a lot of conservative staff members from what I'd read. They joined the McCain team not because they were gung-ho for McCain, but they figured he was the next in line and the more conservative between McCain and Rudy.

So, while it would look really bad of Thompson to just absorb the entire McCain team, he certainly should be picking off the top conservative talent that was there. That does not include Weaver, who had worked for Democrats between McCain campaigns.

I doubt the message is that clear if Fred hires some McCain peeps. Hell, I know several solid, good folks that followed Terry Nelson to the campaign.

I think the problem with the McCain campaign was 100% McCain. I can't understand how you could possibly lay at the feet of his campaign staff any of McCain's political policy blunders. Even if those ideas came from his staff, the fact that McCain supported them, is 100% his own fault.

Between Mary Matalin and the homosexual communications director that drove Santorum's campaign into the ground, I think that the McCain rejects might bring a breath of common sense into the Fred Thompson campaign. At least they already know what doesn't work in a presidential campaign.

is if he does it en masse and it appears he's just picking up the leftovers.

But I agree, there are lots of highly qualified folks out there yet as "free agents." I know dozens of top-flight staff types in Michigan alone who just never took the leap into one of the established camps.

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