If you’re familiar with the phrase, “Hoist with his own petard”, you might be interested to learn that it originated courtesy of one William Shakespeare:
There’s letters seal’d, and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang’d—
They bear the mandate, they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard, an’t shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon.
Hamlet Act 3, scene 4, 202–209
Why would I share this with you? Because it’s the phrase that came to my mind after reading Whitney Pitcher’s insightful article, “Was Steve Schmidt Qualified to be McCain’s Campaign Manager?” today over at Breitbart.
She asks what should be an obvious question; but if you’re like me, I sometimes get caught up in the hullabaloo surrounding an attack on the Governor that I miss what turns out to be a very good point: Given how crucially important it is to pick the right running mate, if Governor Palin was as unprepared and incapable as Steve Schmidt and his cronies and enablers now suggest, what does that say about Steve’s Schmidt’s ability to manage McCain’s campaign?
In his comments about the VP selection process, Schmidt indicates a pretty simple concept– “capability and preparedness” are characteristics that a presidential nominee would seek in his or her running mate.
However, Schmidt’s comments indicate that the selection process and the entire campaign he was involved in during 2008 did not consider such factors, which leads one to ask, “did Steve Schmidt have the ‘capability and preparedness’ necessary to perform his role as campaign strategist?”
Oh dear, Steve. I guess you really didn’t think that one through very well, now did you? Not that this is any surprise given your résumé:
The 42 year-old New Jersey native’s campaign experience started with work for four failed state and national races during his mid to late twenties—ranging from the Kentucky Attorney General’s race in 1995 to working as Communication Director for Lamar Alexander’s 2000 presidential bid. He also managed failed Lt. Governor and Senatorial bids in California in 1998.
Looks like failed campaigns seem to be a recurring thread throughout his career, huh?
But then, after getting in with the Bush/Rove clan, he was fully “in” and thus in the ways of the political establishment I guess it was his turn to use his… uh… vast communications experience and success as Communications Director for Lamar Alexander 2000 (something I personally wouldn’t want as a highlight of my résumé!) to control the message of the McCain campaign:
In short, Schmidt was in control of the political and messaging operations of the campaign. Two messaging strategies proved to be costly for the McCain campaign—the handling of both McCain and Palin in general and the error of suspending the campaign in the midst of the financial crisis. The campaign was criticized for waiting nearly two weeks between Governor Palin’s introduction as the VP pick and her first interview with Charlie Gibson.
Steve Schmidt’s failures throughout the McCain campaign from how to respond to Obama to how best to utilize Governor Palin and highlight the key factors from her career that would have been invaluable in a political season mired in doubts about the economy are meticulously outlined in this piece so be sure to read the whole thing.
What else can be said about Schmidt? Even in deflecting blame he’s a failure… only succeeding in putting the spotlight on his own incompetence.
Hoist by your own petard indeed.