After spending more than 30 years consulting for Democratic candidates, campaign operative Robert Shrum is using his pen to advance his own, liberal views.
“The book is about what I have seen the direction of progressive politics take, what happens to it and where I think it ought to go,” Shrum told CNN in an interview.
The veteran political operative was coy about what else he would say in his book, and Washington insiders were aflutter Wednesday about whether it would include sharp critiques of his clients and colleagues from past campaigns — particularly the failed presidential bids of Sen. John Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore.
Shrum did tell CNN he would not disparage Kerry or Gore but left open the door regarding criticizing his own party.
In January, Shrum credited Bush aide Karl Rove with doing “a very good job of coming up with a plan to mobilize Republican voters,” but he played down the importance of campaign advisers.
“I think it’s always a mistake to believe that the people who do what I do are the drivers of this, rather than the candidates,” he said. “In the end, it’s the candidates.”
One former Kerry campaign staffer said Shrum wrongly consolidated power by simultaneously acting as media strategist and political strategist.
“He was a disruptive force on the campaign,” said the staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Not nearly enough of that story has been told.”
Other Democrats, though, said Shrum might be able to provide some insight on how to revive the party’s prospects.
He has been a force in Democratic politics for three decades and has worked on eight presidential campaigns as well as countless congressional, gubernatorial and international races.
While Shrum achieved success in congressional races, he never won a presidential contest for his clients.
So either Shrum couldn’t pick the right horse to ride or the candidates failed to look at his won/loss record. Either way, as far as advice books go, I think we can shelve this one right next to Brent Baker’s How To Pick Up Hot Chicks and Get Laid Everytime!.