Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu – the failed White House Chief of Staff who arrogantly abused the public trust by flying around to stamp shows on the taxpayer dime – has lashed out at Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan for saying what conservatives from Main Street coffee shops to Wall Street board rooms think: Mitt Romney needs to fire the CEO to right his campaign.
Noonan, and every other serious conservative we know, wants Barack Obama to be defeated – too much is at stake to wish otherwise.
But the Romney organization is peculiarly impervious to advice – a trait it shares with the Bush political organizations of the past from which it has drawn so many people.
Having been active at the national level of the conservative movement for many years and consulted on literally hundreds of campaigns, we can say with authority that Peggy Noonan is right.
Which is all the more reason why, as Noonan put it, “Mitt Romney needs to get his head screwed on right in this area,” put an adult he can trust in charge, and stop trying to oversee strategy, statements, speechwriting and ads to focus “every day [on] standing for things, fighting for a hearing, trying to get the American people to listen, agree and follow.”
The response of the Romney campaign to Noonan’s column was a predicable round of shooting the messenger – led by a glowering John Sununu, saying, “I wouldn't hire Peggy Noonan to run a campaign” and more politely by Mrs. Romney, who speaking not so much of Peggy Noonan, but of criticism of the campaign in general said to Radio Iowa, “It’s nonsense and the chattering class…you hear it and then you just let it go right by.”
The way Mrs. Romney stands by her man is admirable, but with the future of America at stake, we have to respectfully observe that this is bigger than one man.
Millions of Americans are invested in Mitt Romney winning this election. As donors, campaign volunteers and voters, they are not the “chattering class” -- they are the people who by their efforts will make Mitt Romney president – or not. They have a right to have their voices heard and their honest concerns about the campaign’s failures taken into account.
As for John Sununu’s remarks about Peggy Noonan: as a judge of who should and shouldn’t run campaigns, it is worth noting that Governor Sununu managed to run President George H.W. Bush’s brand into the ground when he was White House Chief of Staff.
Perhaps a big part of the reason Mitt’s campaign is floundering is because he is getting – and taking – the same kind of Sununu advice that led Bush 41 to abandon his “no new taxes” pledge and do a host of other things to disabuse conservative voters of the idea that a Bush presidency would be the third term of Ronald Reagan.