The Corner

Dog Wars Speak to Competence

Jonah’s excellent G-File (not online — just subscribe already) talks about the Romney–Obama dog wars and makes the solid point that, if Obama “supporters want to use this sort of thing against Romney then I have no problem with Romney turning the tables.” Jonah is right, of course, but there is a larger point here as well, one that speaks to competence. Attacking Romney for cruelty to dogs without recognizing Obama’s own self-admitted and enormous vulnerabilty on the issue is a shocking instance of a research and self-assessment failure on the part of the Obama campaign. The Seamus attacks were not a one-time hit, but appear to have been part of a concerted effort by the Obama team to make Seamus an issue. To do so without considering that the pro-Romney forces had an easy comeback fails Campaign Hit 101.

One of Obama’s strongest arguments in 2008 was his hyper-efficient campaign operation, especially compared to the McCain campaign. The Obama team has already shown that they could not translate campaign competence to the world of government operations, and they continue to demonstrate this failure with the recent GSA and Secret Service scandals. As I have observed before, the Obama team campaigned like Robocop, but have governed like the Keystone Cops. The dog wars show that the vaunted Obama campaign competence appears to be a thing of the past as well.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.

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