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October 06, 2011

Political Consultants and the NFL [Domenech]

Someone asked me yesterday: “How do consultants like John Weaver keep getting jobs?”

Well, think of it this way: there are only so many people who can play quarterback in the NFL at any one time, there are only so many political consultants who have the ability and resume and interest in killing themselves for less money than they'd make in the corporate game at any given time capable of running a presidential.

The difference is that unlike the NFL, staying the BMOC longer in college is more attractive, and so many of the real talented folks stay there. This is how it used to be in the days before the pros could offer any real money or fame. Back then, college football fed into community leadership roles and running for mayor, not the pros. Politics is still stuck in the days before the League.

Let me explain: Roughly half these guys on the national level are below average at their jobs and generally suck. The real talent - the once in a generation talent - is at the state level, where a lot of the best people do great work, but do it for governors or other statewides. Because unlike the national players, they can actually go home to their families at night and they don't spend 24 hours a day chained to their blackberries.

So if you're in that half that sucks, the best way to stay in business and pay the bills is to latch on to one of two categories: crazy people who think they need to be president to save the country, and rich people who think they might be presidential.

For the former category, let's just say I have a friend who's in a senior campaign position on a longshot effort, who cannot stand the views of the guy he's working for. But the candidate pays the bills on time, decently well, and it's a better job than anything else he could conceivably get. Join the Fight! It pays the mortgage.

For the latter, see John Weaver and Jon Huntsman, wealthy beyond his dreams because daddy invented the styrofoam thing your Big Mac used to come in, globetrotter, bored as a governor, plucks his eyebrows dutifully, thinks being president sounds cool and stuff. Sure! Let's try it. Here's ten million dollars. Make people love me!

(The ideal job, of course, is doing this for a guy who keeps on running for another four years.)

The latter type gets you a much nicer house, but the former is fine middle class work. Your work product is crap, but who cares given the weakness of the market.

So imagine an NFL where Peyton never left Tennessee... where Rodgers is still hanging around Cal growing increasingly impressive mustaches... where Drew Brees is the biggest car dealer in Indiana... where Staubach stayed in the Navy. Imagine what the league would look like in a situation where you were stuck deciding between Luke McCown and Chad Henne and Rex Grossman.

Can you win with these guys? Sure. But often, you win in spite of them.

And that's why Bob Shrum gets paid.


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posted by Guest Blogger at 09:06 PM

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