In his 'Political Intelligence' blog on Boston.com this morning, Glen Johnson takes a gentle poke at Elizabeth Warren's top campaign strategist, former Deval Patrick CoS-turned-lobbyist Doug Rubin. Noting that Rubin was a part-time Herald political columnist for a brief period between paid political gigs, Johnson quotes then-impartial third party observer Rubin from a column he wrote back in June, criticizing the national Democratic establishment's open dissatisfaction with the Democratic field as it existed at the time:
[Rubin] tapped that network and expertise in June to issue a pointed warning: Democratic officials in Washington should cease carping about the lack of a high-profile candidate to challenge US Senator Scott Brown as the Republican seeks reelection next year.Having now signed on to steer the Warren campaign, Rubin is understandably at pains to 'clarify' away his earlier criticism of the Draft Elizabeth effort.
“This might make for nice D.C. cocktail party chatter, but it’s not helpful on the ground in Massachusetts,” Rubin wrote.
He added: “The speculation from D.C. hurts the existing (Democratic) field, which is already filled with strong, talented candidates. It keeps donors who are loyal to the party on the sidelines, and forces some very important grass-roots organizers to hold off from making a commitment to a candidate. It also creates media stories about the supposed weakness of the field, which is a disservice to those candidates who have chosen to run.”
“What I was railing against was the guys in D.C. coming in and anointing a candidate, and I think Elizabeth Warren has done the opposite,” Rubin said. “She has taken her campaign to the living rooms of Massachusetts, which is exactly what I was advocating for.”So even though last summer Rubin slammed the D.C. D establishment for very openly and overtly pushing a specific individual to get into the race, and that individual just happens to be the very same person for whom Rubin is now working, the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. When he said, "[t]he speculation from D.C. hurts the existing field" Rubin intended to add "unless D.C.'s hand-picked candidate goes on a quick listening tour, in which case it's all good." Got it?
To be fair, every single political consultant out there, on both sides of the aisle, has found himself in a situation where he is forced to explain why his candidate's prior statements didn't actually mean what they very clearly meant. He said up but he meant down. No meant yes. 'I'm going to close Guantanamo' obviously meant 'eventually Guantanamo will close.' This situation is a little bit worse because the statements Rubin is playing Mad-Libs with are his own, but his still isn't an unprecedented predicament. A fun, vicariously embarrassing bit of insider baseball to start a Tuesday morning, and a little message hiccup for the D.C.-fueled Warren team as it steamrolls toward the nomination, but hardly a game-changer.
Anyhow, as I read Rubin's rhetorical contortions this morning a voice from Saturday Night Live past kept creeping into my head. 'I was railing against the D.C. guys, see? But Elizabeth has been in the living rooms, right? So it's completely different. Yeah... that's the ticket.'
And then I looked at the Rubin head-shot that accompanies the Boston.com piece, and it hit me:
|"That's the ticket."|
UPDATE: Looks like Rubin already has a new statement to explain away - though this one comes from his candidate.