It's hard to dislike political consultant Bob Shrum. Because of the Shrum Curse, he is exactly 0 for 8 in getting the presidential candidates he worked for elected starting with George McGovern in 1972 and most recently John Kerry in 2004. And because all of the candidates he worked for have been Democrats, that is why he is so well liked by Republicans because of his reputation as the Eddie Mush of presidential campaigns.
In case you are unfamiliar with Eddie Mush, he was the character in the movie "A Bronx Tale" who was a total jinx. He had a perfect track record of losing every bet he ever placed as well as jinxing everyone around him. That pretty much describes Bob Shrum so it must have been painful for Shrum to answer this reader's question in the UK Independent: "Would you give up your other victories to have gotten one Democratic president elected?" You can tell that Shrum was a bit irked in his reply:
It's hubris to think that consultants get presidents elected. They can play an important part. In terms of tradeoffs, let me offer one example. I certainly would not have given up Ted Kennedy's come-from-behind Senate re-election against Mitt Romney in 1994. Kennedy, perhaps the greatest of US Senators, has brought more progressive change than many presidents have done.
Of course, Shrum is still claiming that his 2000 Al Gore election loss wasn't really a loss. Here is his reply to another reader's question: "Do you respect Karl Rove?"
The 2000 race was stolen, and the next time George Bush had the worst showing of a re-elected incumbent president in American history. But he was inaugurated, if not elected, and then in 2004, Rove executed the strategy of appealing to fear and consolidating the base that just got Bush by. That strategy fell apart in the 2006 elections – and it will be recycled by McCain and repudiated by the voters this year.
That's right, Bob, and Kryptonite really did win that race at the Aqueduct Racetrack. You can watch it on the video replay.
The big question now is whether Joe Biden will be affected by the Shrum Curse. Here is the reply of Eddie Mush, I mean Bob Shrum, to another reader's question: "What do you make of Obama's choice for Vice-President? Who would you have picked?"
Biden is a great choice. He has deep foreign policy experience and a genuine capacity to connect with blue-collar voters. He's originally from the coal region of Scranton, Pennsylvania. And he is a terrific debater, likely to beat his Republican counterpart in the vice-presidential debate. Joe Lieberman was routed in 2000; John Edwards barely held his own in 2004 – and that hurt. Biden will also vigorously prosecute the case against the Republican nominee, another area where Lieberman and Edwards failed.
This could very well doom Biden from the get-go. And for you Doubting Thomases out there who think there can't really be Eddie Mush type people like Bob Shrum who carry a jinx with them, it turns out that the actor (Eddie Montanaro) who portrayed Eddie Mush in the film was in fact a real life Eddie Mush. Chazz Palminteri, the writer and star of "A Bronx Tale," explains in an interview while talking about Robert De Niro:
Well, he loved the character of Eddie Mush. We were having trouble casting the role, we could not find the character, it's such a strange character. Here's a guy who's been a born loser all his life. He's a jinx, and we had trouble casting this part. And it was Bob's idea, he said to me, 'Where is the real Eddie Mush?' I said, well, he's probably in the neighborhood still losing bets. So he said 'Let's find him.' And we go down and there he was, with The Racing Form. This guy has done this all his life. He's been running from loan sharks, borrowing money, paying the other guy, so then when we finally cast him in the movie I turn to Bob and said, I'm really nervous now because he might jinx the movie. Bob said, 'Holy sh*t! I didn't realize that,' and we got really nervous!
We did put him in the movie, obviously, and the first day on the set it rained. It did! We had to go to a cover set. I looked at him and said 'I want to kill you!' But he was so terrific, how could you not put him in the movie?
And if they ever make a sequel to "A Bronx Tale," I think I know who they can get to portray Eddie Mush again. A certain someone working in the Obama campaign who desperately hopes to make his track record 1 for 9.