FIRE THE CONSULTANTS….Why have Democrats had such a hard time winning elections lately? Maybe part of the answer is lousy campaign consultants. Bob Shrum, who keeps getting hired despite his enviable record of 0-7 in presidential contests, gets most of the attention for this phenomenon, but in the latest issue of the Monthly Amy Sullivan suggests that Joe Hansen might actually be a better poster boy:

After losing seven of nine close races in 2002, Hansen was again a man in demand during the last election cycle. His firm handled five of the most competitive Senate races in 2004, including the two?Tony Knowles in Alaska and Erskine Bowles in North Carolina?that prognosticators thought were most winnable. Only one of Hansen’s candidates, Ken Salazar in Colorado, pulled out a victory.

Republicans appear to be rather smarter about this:

While Democrats have permitted a Washington consultancy class to become comfortably entrenched, Republicans have effectively begun to pension off their own establishment. ?The D.C. consultants for the GOP have their list of clients, but they’re definitely on the outside looking in,? Chuck Todd told me. ?The Bush people have been very careful to give them work?but they’re not in the inner circle.? In 2004, seasoned Washington media strategist Alex Castellanos paid the bills with a handful of safe congressional races and a few unsuccessful primary challengers. Meanwhile, nearly every tight Senate race (North Carolina, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Florida) was handled by a Tampa-based firm, The Victory Group.

Read the whole thing. Especially if you’re one of those people who’s running for DNC chairman.