Wanted: The Next Boy Genius

Posted: Dec 17, 2007 8:48 AM

Aside from Ed Rollins, who recently joined the Mike Huckabee campaign, one thing is missing this election cycle: Celebrity consultants.

Every election cycle, it seems, the media discovers some eccentric adviser to turn into a star.  It makes a great story, of course.  But so far this cycle, our celebrity consultant is AWOL.

Sure, there are some big-name advisors on just about every top-tier campaign (most notably, Hillary Clinton has Mark Penn and Barack Obama has David Axelrod) -- but none of these names are in the same league as an Lee Atwater, James Carville, Dick Morris, Karl Rove, Bob Shrum, or Joe Trippi, just to name a few of the recent consultants who often garnered more press than the candidates they represented.

The media, of course, helped make these advisors celebrities.  Sure, each of these advisers were smart and talented -- but there are hundreds of talented consultants living in relative obscurity (often, on purpose), who know just as much about politics as, say, Jim Carville. 

The press has not ordained 2008's "Boy Genius" ... yet.  One reason for this is that the early frontrunner, John McCain, had signed many of the biggest rising-star advisers, before his campaign imploded, so some of top-talent is sitting out this cycle.

Still, for all the talk of "horse race" campaign coverage this year, relatively few hagiographic exposes have been written about campaign advisers or consultants.  This, of course, begs the question: Are the campaign staffs more disciplined these days, do their advisers lack panache, or is their a lack of big-name talent? 

Someone's going to win Iowa, and my guess is we're just a few weeks away from some major profiles of the next "Architect" ....