Sunday, February 24, 2008
Andrew Sullivan, who does hate Hillary Clinton with the intensity that the pope hates a woman's right to choose*, makes a good point about her management style:
[W]e've learned something important these past couple of weeks.
Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.
It's staggering to me that she blew through so much money for close to nothing (apart from the donuts). Without that media meltdown in New Hampshire, she would have been forced to bow out much earlier. She didn't plan for contests after Super Tuesday. She barely planned for any before that. She was out-organized in Iowa and South Carolina, and engaged in the pettiest form of politics in Florida and Michigan. Her fundraising operation was very pre-Internet. She has no message that isn't about her and the Republicans.
It is fashionable to complain about our endless and bottomlessly expensive presidential campaigns, but we often do learn something important from them that we would not have in a more truncated process.
*Line swiped from the great comedian Todd Barry (buy his CDs here).
This observation is right on the money. I wish someone would ask her about this in a debate. And now we keep hearing about the small town vendors in Iowa and N.H. who are having to sue her campaign to get paid for the deli platters and muffins Hillary was trowing around town. She spent like a drunken sailor and horribly mismanaged a built-in advantage over the rest of the field. This also is a reflection on the ability of Obama. He has out-organized HRC and whipped her soundly in both message and campaign strategy. For being such a perceived lightweight he sure has successfully stuck it to the establishment's candidate and maintained terrific momentum. Maybe HRC should have been "ready on day one" of the primaries, Obama sure looks like he was.