Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Revolving Door: Political Staffer Edition

Bill Glahn wrote a piece at his site a few days ago called The Revolving Door: Outgoing Democrat Politician Edition which talks about what happens to DFL/Democrat politicians when they leave office.

The bottom line- DFL politicians rarely have trouble landing on their feet when they leave office. The Left does a good job of taking care of their own through their near-monopoly on institutions, plus their vast network of phony “non-profit” organizations.

On the flip-side, the Right is not so good at taking care of ours.

(You really should go read his piece. Actually, you should read everything he writes.)

I wanted to expand on Bill’s piece a bit to include another group that we on the right fail to take care of- political staffers.

Among people who talk about these types of things, it’s widely acknowledged that we suffer from a lack of talent on our side. There simply are not enough people with the knowledge, talent, and perhaps most importantly, the track record of winning to staff all of the campaigns that need staffing.

Not that we totally lack talent. It’s just that our talent doesn’t tend to stick around. I can count a number of acquaintances who have political talent and experience, but have left the political arena altogether.

Some will explain this away by dismissively suggesting that we live in a blue state, so we obviously have fewer talented people to choose from. But I reject this.

We have plenty of talented people, they just move on and get “real” jobs after campaign season. And who could blame them? People need to pay their bills, and campaigns only run for a short time every few years.

The effect of this is that we end up training in a new crop of staffers every election cycle. (And by training, I mostly mean that we take a group of people with no experience and make them learn on the fly.) A few will stick around for an extra cycle or two, but many if not most will move on.

(The other side of the coin is those who should move on but keep hanging on. That’s a whole different post for another time.)

The Left, on the other hand does a much better job of talent management. When campaign season is over their staffers find homes at all of the same institutions and “non-profits” that the elected officials land at. But when campaign season comes around again you’ll see the same old faces, back from non-profit-land, running campaigns.

Running political campaigns is a unique skill, and like any other skill, it must be honed and developed. If we want to get serious about winning elections we need to start building a lasting infrastructure to win.