Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catch of the Day

Paul Waldman has a lot of fun at the expense of Nick Ayers, Tim Pawlenty's new campaign manager.

In case you're wondering about all the hype surrounding the Ayers announcement yesterday (I'm not going to track down links, but it sure was all over twitter)...the short version is that it certainly is important for presidential candidates to be plugged into their party's network, but when you take a candidate such as Pawlenty who is clearly a serious candidate, the fact that he hired Ayers doesn't really add anything to what we know. As far as the importance of individual operatives, we really don't know much at all about how important they are in the nomination process (it's clear that they aren't very important in the general election campaign, because campaign effects are very limited to begin with, so the difference between operative A and operative B isn't likely to matter much at all).

What I can say is that during the invisible primary period (that is, in the three years leading up to the Iowa caucuses), outside observers are apt to overstate the importance of any particular tangible indicator because it's tangible, and because so much of the process during this phase isn't -- that's why it got the name "invisible"! But of course, just because something is overhyped doesn't mean that it's not important at all.

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