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New Article by Curt Anderson: Jeff Sessions went out with his head held high

New Article by Curt Anderson: Jeff Sessions went out with his head held high

From the Washington Examiner 

Political consultants generally rank just below used-car salesmen in terms of popularity. Take it from me, a political consultant. The reputation is well deserved. Political consultants are notorious for taking credit when the candidate wins and dodging the blame when the candidate loses. I shall attempt no such thing.

I’ve been at this for more than 30 years and have never worked for a person with more character and personal integrity than my client, Sen. Jeff Sessions. When you lose a campaign, you spend time reflecting on every decision, every mistake, every fork in the road.

Some consultants end up blaming the candidate, which is always the easiest route. Some blame the voters, which is fun, but kind of inconvenient in a democracy. Some blame the environment or other external forces. Occasionally, some, as a last resort, look in the mirror. Just to be on the safe side, I’ve removed all the mirrors from my house. But if you are one of those for whom it is important to find someone to blame, I’m your guy.

Much, too much, has been written and said about Sessions’s tumultuous relationship with the president. It all boils down to this: Sessions is old school, and I mean that in the most complimentary way imaginable. He believes that if you take the king’s ransom, you do the king’s bidding. Or perhaps, more accurately stated: If you sign up to be a Cabinet official, it should be assumed that you will never turn on the president who appointed you in the first place.

The notion of writing a book or publicly sniping at the president you supported and worked for would, in Sessions’s view, be dishonorable. The fact that this approach is foreign to so many is evidence of some level of cultural decay.

Some who have left the president’s orbit have remained loyal to his agenda primarily because they want to make money as lobbyists, while others have cashed in and written tell-all books.

But Sessions was pushing the Trump agenda long before Trump ran for office, and I suspect he will be doing so long after Trump leaves office. For Sessions, it’s not about the personal popularity of any politician. It’s about the ideals he holds dear and what he believes is best for his state and his country.

Washington never quite knew what to make of Sessions. He is a tremendously polite and generous person who refused to play the game in almost every regard. When Republican leaders decided after losing the 2012 presidential election that it was time to capitulate to the Democrats on immigration, Sessions stopped them almost single-handedly. When the smart guys in Washington decided to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Sessions again stopped Republicans from shooting themselves in the foot.

In his concession speech last Tuesday night, Sessions said that he has always endeavored to do the right thing and that he leaves political office with his head held high and his integrity intact. Who among us can say that? We need more like him.

Curt Anderson is a partner at OMI, a Republican political consulting firm, and a former RNC political director.