There's an amusing vignette in Bob Shrum's recent book, which demonstrates how challenging it was to try to win the White House with a self-important stiff for a candidate. Read it over here (subscription required):
THE SCRAPBOOK has taken a few swipes over the years at Robert "0-for-8" Shrum, the singularly unsuccessful Democratic campaign strategist, who worked for such legendary losers as McGovern '72, Kennedy '80, and Kerry '04. To be fair, it's hard to see anyone winning with some of the candidates he's been saddled with. Consider this anecdote from Shrum's dishy new book, No Excuses:It's stunning that some saw Kerry as the more mature and cerebral candidate. While George Bush was lampooned as only one step removed from the frat, it seems that Kerry never left.At an evening house party [in Iowa, January 2004], [Peter Yarrow] was performing "Puff the Magic Dragon" when Kerry, standing in the back of the room, mimed puffing on a joint. Most of the people there didn't see it--and neither did I; I'd retreated back to the bus to make some calls. When [press aide David] Wade stepped onto the bus and sat down next to me, he was beside himself as he recounted what had just happened. As we drove away, Kerry denied it. Wade said it was on tape. Kerry responded that, well, it was just a joke. Wade went to the back of the bus. We were lucky, he reported when he returned. It was late Saturday night, the camera crews didn't all have it, and most of the network imbeds didn't think it was a big deal. We were told later that a CBS crew got the tape to Washington in time for Face the Nation, but that Bob Schieffer's reaction was, Not on my program.Of special note here is Kerry's adolescent denial until the aide says his pantomime was caught on tape. Plus we like CBS's news judgment; probably helps explain why Face the Nation blows away its rivals in the ratings each Sunday.
And with regard to Shrum, you get a sense as to just how badly he must want to win a campaign. In 2004 the ticket was headed up by a candidate with... significant shortcomings, and the veep candidate (by his characterization) was a lightweight who callously exploited the tragic death of his child.
You've got to be pretty hard up to stick with that team.
Update: Welcome HotAir readers. While you're here, check out the video of Cindy Sheehan's announcement that she's running for Congress.