Baseball aficionados may recognize the headline as the title of a book by Jimmy Breslin about the 1962 New York Mets, lovable losers of 120 of their 162 games. I was reminded of the book — the title was a quote from Mets’ manager Casey Stengel — by the astonishingly inept rollout of the Hutchison campaign. The H team doesn’t seem to have a clue about how to run a race. Starting in La Marque, where Hutchison grew up, was not a bright idea. The advance work was terrible. The “crowd,” if that is the word for it, didn’t make it to three dozen. Hutchison’s stronghold is Dallas. It’s her home. It’s where her strongest supporters live. Did it occur to anyone that maybe Dallas was a better place for a kickoff campaign event than La Marque? Or Austin. I hear Austin has a big pink building that would make a nice backdrop for an event. Here’s what should worry Hutchison supporters about the choice of La Marque. The knock on Kay is that her comfort level matters more than anything else, and that the people who work for her quickly learn to adjust to what she wants. She wasn’t comfortable about engaging with Perry in the spring, and so she wasted half a year doing nothing except losing her lead. You have to find the most talented people you can find and trust them to make the right decisions. Rove is involved in this race. Karen Hughes is involved in this race. They have won presidential elections. But if the talent isn’t making the decisions, and if the candidate’s comfort level is the first consideration, this campaign is going to fall apart in a hurry. At the same time, I don’t want to make too much of these early bobbles. There is a long way to go, and it should come as no surprise that Perry’s team, which has been running continuously for ten years, is more in fighting shape than Hutchison’s is. Perry has plenty of vulnerabilities, and in due course he will have to answer for them. But the Hutchison operation has shown no sign of knowing how to exploit Perry’s weaknesses. The very real danger for Hutchison is that, if she continues to underperform, she will not have a successful fundraising cycle, and if that comes to pass, she’s done for.
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