The Streak Continues

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From TIME’s Amy Sullivan:

One more semi-related note on Rahm: Obama’s victory on Tuesday night means
the streak of outsider campaigns beating insider campaigns
continues. Going back to 1976, every new president has
brought with him a team of outsiders—think Carter and Pat Caddell; Reagan
and his California advisers; Clinton and Carville; Bush and the Texas
Triumvirate of Rove, Hughes, and Allbaugh. (You could argue whether Bush 41’s Lee
Atwater qualified as more of an outsider than Dukakis’ John Sasso, but the point
generally holds.)

Outsider advisers are great at winning campaigns. They are better able
to read the electorate, speak in language that connects with voters, and
aren’t hampered by conventional understandings of how campaigns “ought” to be
run. (Joel Benenson talked to me earlier this week about how an outsider
mindset helped shaped the Obama campaign’s strategy.) But as
Jay pointed out in his Time.com story this morning, they’re not especially
good at governing.

Which is why Obama’s decision to make Rahm his chief of staff makes a
lot of sense if he wants to avoid mistakes made by some of his predecessors.
Rahm is connected to a lot of the Chicago personnel who will populate an
Obama White House and administration. But it’s not as if he’ll be rolling
into Washington for the first time this January. Heck, Rahm already knows
the White House so well, he’ll probably have to show his new colleagues
where to find the extra binder clips and pens.

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