PEEK

Dem Consultants Are Paid to Lose

They aren't just parasites on the American political process, they're willing to spread their services around the globe.
The New York Times chose to spend Christmas reminding us of the obscene amounts Democratic consultants have been paid for their services in past Presidential campaigns. As in Bob "don't worry, John, that Swiftboat thing -- it'll all blow over" Shrum:
Behind the scenes, they were fighting over the lucrative fees for handling Mr. Kerry's television advertising. The campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, became so fed up over the squabbling that she told the consultants, led by Robert Shrum, one of the most prominent and highly paid figures in the business, to figure out how to split the money themselves.
Divvy it up they did. Though the final tally has never been publicly disclosed, interviews and records show that the five strategists and their firms ultimately took in nearly $9 million, the richest payday for any Democratic media consultants up to then and roughly what the Bush campaign paid its consultants for a more extensive ad campaign.
Mr. Shrum and his two partners, Tad Devine and Mike Donilon, walked away with $5 million of the total. And that was after Ms. Cahill, in the closing stages of the race that fall, diverted $1 million that would otherwise have gone to the consultants to buying more advertising time in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to defeat Mr. Bush. blockquote>
Ah Tad Devine. Who went to Bolivia to help Goni get elected to the Presidency, as chronicled in the documentary "Our Brand is Crisis" (YouTube above). Who could forget the opening scenes of the film, of rioting and blood running in the streets of Bolivia, followed by Tad Devine standing on a corner wearing a sweater vest and talking into a cell phone saying shit like "This is the frame -- we can brand crisis."

No it's not a comedy, at least not intentionally so. (Though I challenge you to watch the scene of Jeremy Rosner sitting behind a two-way mirror typing frantically on his computer as they test messaging on a focus group of Bolivian farmers and not howl with laughter. It's like something from a Christopher Guest movie.)

In the YouTube above, Rosner talks briefly about why he is in Bolivia, and his deeply felt conviction that Goni has the best program for raising Bolivia out of poverty. They managed to get him elected all right, by the slimmest of pluralities, but Goni tried to implement "Shock Doctrine" policies and was forced to resign shortly thereafter:
Jane Hamsher is the founder of FireDogLake. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect.
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