The Austin American Statesman and Houston Chronicle are reporting today that a major factor leading to the failure of Rick Perry's presidential campaign was friction between its two very different teams: the "loyalists" like Rob Johnson and Dave Carney, who had worked with Perry throughout much of his 12 years in Texas politics, and the "nationally known veterans," one of whom was former G.W. campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.
Known as "the human sledgehammer," Allbaugh was brought on in October to "deal with the growing pains" of the campaign. And the problems seem to have begun almost immediately, kind of like when the Seaver family let Leonardo DiCaprio move in during the final season.
Carney and Allbaugh butted heads. Aides loyal to Carney say Allbaugh was intimidated by Carney and wanted to play a strategy role for which he was not suited. Allbaugh sympathizers say Carney was unwilling to share power. On the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, according to three Perry campaign sources, Allbaugh told Carney not to return to Austin.
"The message was, 'We'll call you if we need you,'" one source said.
Allbaugh's gruff style was not received well around the office. Staffers frequently had to talk each other out of quitting the campaign.
The comparison stands.
Staff discord took its toll internally, often becoming a distraction for those who worked for Perry. And the governor wasn't in much of a position to stop it.
This upper-level bickering coupled with Perry's disastrous debate appearances was enough for many staffers to "count [Perry's campaign] among the worst experiences of their careers." And who can forget the ad featuring Rick in his favorite Ennis Del Mar jacket? The notoriously homophobic spot "deeply divided the team," and one staffer called it "the worst decision made in the entire campaign."
Rick, I swear.