McCain Fails Campaign 101

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Jul 10, 2007 1:53 PM

As everyone knows by now, John McCain's campaign manager is out.

Based on what I'm reading, this appears to be a huge example of what happens when there is not a clearly defined chain of command. Of course, it is preferable for the campaign manager to actually have the authority to manage the campaign, but that doesn't always happen.

The worst case scenario for any political campaign is for there to be confusion about who is in charge ...

Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time on political campaigns, ranging from U.S. Senate to dog catcher. But no matter the level, it always turns out the same way. It is vital that there be a clear understanding of the chain of command.

This usually happens when a candidate promises the manager that he or she will run the show, only to then renege on the promise (and instead, listen to his old fishing buddy, his spouse, or something). In my past life, I've had candidates swear to me on a stack of Bibles that they were going to raise money and meet voters, and let me run the campaign, only to see them back off of the promise within the first hours of operation. Also ironic is that often, candidates who have been the most successful in business, military, etc., are the worst at understanding the importance of delegating authority.

Who is in charge is less important than the fact that someone is in charge.

Ironically, campaigns are not Democracies, they are dictatorships. Let this serve as a lesson that leadership by committee doesn't work in the political battlefield.