Who Wants a “Hired Gun” Campaign Manager?

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: Everybody hates me!

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Mitch McConnell, to shore up his right flank while campaigning for reelection, hired an aide to intra-party rival Rand Paul to manage his campaign. Now the aide in question, Jesse Benton, has been caught on tape disparaging McConnell in private. Ezra Klein says it’s “hardly news that campaigns are composed of hired guns, many of whom don’t love, and sometimes don’t even like, the people they work for.”

I dunno, it sure seems like news to me. I mean, it’s not news that campaigns are composed of hired guns who sometimes don’t even like the people they work for. But the question of which times are which is news. After all, a campaign that has the option of hiring well-qualified genuine enthusiasts and hiring well-qualified reluctant hired guns is going to prefer the enthusiasts. Incentives are much better-aligned when your campaign is staffed by people who really believe in you. So if a given campaign is actually full of total cynics who dislike the candidate, that’s telling you something noteworthy. Not necessarily something you should take into consideration when deciding who to vote for (in a Senate election, partisan affiliation is about 99.9% of what you need to know) but certainly something that’s journalistically interesting.