Monday, March 26, 2007

Of Rule Makers And Game Players

Traveling the Primary Trail in '07 we are reminded of an expression we learned at a Washington cocktail party in '04.

The expression comes compliments of a Hastert staffer who, exhausted by our constant (and consistent) criticism of "Fat" Hastert, put down his beer and shouted at us, "We're game players! We're not rule makers!"

Which he quickly followed with, "Who the f@C# did you say you were again?"

GreenMountainPolitics1 sometimes has that effect on people.

But point taken - We must learn to deal with the world as it is and not as we wish the world would be.

Which is, we are sure, a point that Hastert's people appreciate now more than ever.

But hold that thought for a moment.

Senator McCain was back in New Hampshire this weekend for the second time in 10 days.

Holly Ramer of the AP has the story here. has the story here and video here.

Marc Ambinder of Hotline has the story here.

Noted: Marc, good to meet you this weekend. We would like to point out that GreenMountainPolitics1 did scoop Hotline on the Rudy's Manager Tracks McCain story you wrote Saturday. We wrote about it last weekend. We're just saying.

Joining McCain on the campaign trail were senior campaign staffers John Weaver, Mark McKinnon and Mike Dennehy.

These three are "Game Players" - they deal, effectively, with the political world as it really is.

That's not Snark. That's not sucking-up. It's the truth.

Noted: In the interest of full disclosure we were tickled pink (and gushing about it unprofessionally) to spend 2 hours with McKinnon in a car on Saturday talking off-the-record about the '08 landscape and we were just as happy to listen to Weaver/Dennehy, on background and over beers Saturday night, talk about the way that they see the race.

Absolutely fascinating.

New Hampshire is a unique place. Dare we say that GreenMountainPolitics1 is a unique Blog?

What we (continue to) find so interesting is that as professional as McCain's presidential campaign is (run as it is by the best Game Players in the GOP), the candidate still remains the Maverick Rule Maker he was in 2000.

Which leads us to ask, "Can you be a Game Player AND a Rule Maker at the same time?"

We think McCain is doing just that. And we think it is one hell of a strategy.

Now, we know that some of you out there will scream "Bullsh@t!" and accuse us of drinking Kool-Aid spoon fed to us by McCain staff.

That's fine.

And, we will admit that lots has changed between McCain '00 and McCain '08, at least on paper. The Senator is older (who isn't?), better funded and yes, he is the establishment candidate this time around.

But, at the end of the day, the majority of his time is still built around taking unscripted questions from Town Hall audiences and taking unscripted questions from the press corps.

That's (mostly) all he does. Check his schedule.

He's the only Big Six candidate running for President to have such a high level of candidate access and in doing so he's turning conventional campaign wisdom on its head.


McCain '08 is still a Maverick Rule Maker who's running a presidential campaign as if the world was as we all wished it to be.

And he's got some real Game Players working for him.

Rule Makers AND Game Players? We think it's going to be a kick-ass combination.

We're just saying.