A political question after last night is, how much stock do you put in a shadow?
Most amateur political scientists would recognize Romney advisers Beth Myers and Ed Gillespie. They’ve been around for years and have worked on several campaigns. So has the man in the middle, former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman and uber-Neocon Dan Senor. Senor’s role in the Romney campaign included a close advisory position to Ryan as well as Romney. His first star faded with the unpopular Bush Administration; his latest star faded last night as he, his fellow Neocons, and the Neocon foreign policy philosophy ultimately failed to undermine either the President or the State Department.
While the American memory might be short, it’s not amnesiac. As the GOP distractedly looks for more useful scapegoats and Obama’s reelection leaves him in command of the foreign policy narrative (and the sorting out of Benghazi), the Neocons and Senor are likely destined for the shadows for some time.
The rest of this picture is more ambiguous.
Sure, Gillespie and Myers had to publicly endure last night’s stinging blow. At the same time, however, Washington is nothing if not a town full of skilled hired guns. And having taken such a weak product – one Gillespie only fully inherited late in the game – and injected fresh life into it, it would be a mistake to see the shadow here as blanketing the operatives equally. Rather, by nearly taking down The Mustache by strategically turning Romney, yet again, into a moderate (and free of the sway of people like Senor), I’d guess Gillespie will get plenty of business from a party in such disarray.