(NAM Executive Vice President Jay Timmons is blogging from the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., following up on his reports from the Democratic Convention last week in Denver.)
Had lunch with an old friend, Mark Buse, John McCain’s Chief of Staff in the Senate. As might be expected at the McCain nominating convention, Mark had to balance the bites of food in front of him, with calls from his boss.
Mark is someone who knows John McCain well – he first started working for then-Congressman McCain in 1984. Although he went into business for himself four years ago, the Senator called Mark back into public service earlier this year when he named him Chief. Prior to his stint in the private sector, Mark was the staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee where he worked with the Senator to advance common sense economic policy that promoted competition and growth.
My conversation with Mark reminded me that John McCain has a knack for surrounding himself with competent and knowledgeable folks. In addition to Mark, Rick Davis – the manager of the presidential campaign – has been a long-time loyalist of McCain. And the senior strategist Senator McCain recently brought on board – Steve Schmidt – is well-known as one of the most skilled and savvy campaign professionals in the country.
Most notable, in a town where long-term employment is often defined as anything exceeding 12 months, and relationships are too many times merely transactional, loyalty is a premium. John McCain hires well, and his team is known for their devotion and loyalty to him. That speaks volumes.