The Strange Fragging of Stu Stevens

The big DC water-cooler item today is the classic Politico insider account of the “disarray” in the Romney campaign, penned by Allen and VandeHei. It’s more or less a demolition of campaign majordomo Stu Stevens, who is blamed for a serial botching of serial drafts of Romney’s acceptance speech in Tampa, along with a general resistance to a bolder and more policy-specific campaign message.

So long as there is Politico this kind of piece will continue to be published. What’s odd about it, however, is the timing: this sort of fragging from within a presidential campaign typically occurs early on, when the pecking order is still taking shape, or at some other obvious transition point like the beginning of the general election phase of the cycle. Actually, this piece is savage enough that you’d guess it would have appeared after election day. So it’s not a good sign for Team Mitt.

Dave Weigel, however, suggests there may be less than meets the eye in this Beltway invisceration of Spencer and Romney; he traces it to just one person, speechwriter Matthew Scully, who is known for this sort of thing.

Even if that is so, you’d figure Romney would have enough juice to make this sort of thing grounds for permanent exclusion from Republican politics. By all accounts Romney is not about to fire Stevens, so dishing all this unhappiness with him to Politico is sheer destruction.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.