Mark Penn is out as Clinton’s top campaign strategist. Not for frittering away her lead, not for running on the “experience” message in a “change” election, not for engendering the hatred of peers, and not for his foul mouth. (His most memorable exchange with Harold Ickes? “F*** You!” “F*** You!” “F*** You!”). No, he was ousted because he was caught representing the government of Colombia in the trade deal Clinton opposes.
Despite his numerous errors, it was not until he became actively disloyal that Clinton could muster the nerve to fire him. Loyalty, James Carville reminds us, is a “cardinal virtue” so it therefore follows that Penn finally committed the only cardinal sin known to the Clintons, disloyalty.
Will this help Clinton? Impossible to say for sure. If she still loses, the gurus will say Penn’s damage was irreparable. If she somehow emerges victorious, there will be dozens of other reasons (including failures on the other side). Needless to say, Penn’s continued presence has been evidence that Clinton’s “experience” does not extend to things managerial and that her “competence” is as fictitious as the Bosnian gunfire. His belated departure only proves that loyalty trumps all, in Hillaryland.