Politico has a long story this morning based on anonymous sources which basically puts the blame for the Romney campaign’s poor performance on top strategist Stuart Stevens. The whole article is worth a read. Here is just tiny part to get a sense of the tone:
As mishaps have piled up, Stevens has taken the brunt of the blame for an unwieldy campaign structure that, as the joke goes among frustrated Republicans, badly needs a consultant from Bain & Co. to straighten it out.
Stevens enjoys little of the internal affection that surrounded the brain trusts of the Bush and Obama campaigns. “I always have the impression Stuart must save his best stuff for meetings I’m not important enough to attend,” said one Romney campaign insider. “The campaign is filled with people who spend a lot of their time either avoiding him or resisting him.”
More interesting than any revelation in the story is the fact that the article exists at all. There are a large number of professions directly or indirectly involved in a campaign. If a campaign looks like it is heading for defeat there are many personal, professional and financial reasons why those people would want to avoid blame. Working for a campaign that loses is one thing; being seen as the reason a campaign lost is another. The latter could be devastating for a professional operative.
It would appear Stevens — fairly or unfairly — has emerged as the scapegoat of choice, but people only need to find a scapegoat if they think something bad is going to happen. We are still 50 days out from the election but the Romney campaign is starting to develop the first characteristics of a sinking ship.
Articles like this don’t project confidence and can be very discouraging to donors.