Commentary Magazine


Topic: Harold Ickes

Preview

If you want to know what Hillary’s strategist, Harold Ickes, might whisper in the ears of superdelegates if she decides to stay in and fight, here is a good taste. Nothing quite beats Paul Begala lecturing Donna Brazile that Democrats can’t win with a coalition of “eggheads and African Americans.” After that exchange, you can probably add one more superdelegate (Brazile) to the Obama column. Gotta love that Clinton light touch.

But before Republicans get excited about the possibilty of vicious infighting that will torment Democrats, those Republicans should keep in mind two things. First, eventually there will be a nominee (whether May or June or August) and a final night of the convention where everyone will raise hands together and declare undying loyalty. Most of those Clinton supporters, especially ones committed enough to vote in a primary, will vote Democratic in November. And there are a lot more registered Democrats than there used to be.

Second, Obama is a fast learner. His speech last night included a heavy dose of heartfelt appreciation for America, reverence for the land of opportunity and lots of empathy for working class voters. Like a vacuum cleaner, he is sucking up the Clintonian message to blue collar voters and absorbing the rhetoric which has successfully lured a coalition of working class whites, seniors and women. Don’t expect any more Snobgate slip-ups.

In short, the fun for conservatives is at an end.

If you want to know what Hillary’s strategist, Harold Ickes, might whisper in the ears of superdelegates if she decides to stay in and fight, here is a good taste. Nothing quite beats Paul Begala lecturing Donna Brazile that Democrats can’t win with a coalition of “eggheads and African Americans.” After that exchange, you can probably add one more superdelegate (Brazile) to the Obama column. Gotta love that Clinton light touch.

But before Republicans get excited about the possibilty of vicious infighting that will torment Democrats, those Republicans should keep in mind two things. First, eventually there will be a nominee (whether May or June or August) and a final night of the convention where everyone will raise hands together and declare undying loyalty. Most of those Clinton supporters, especially ones committed enough to vote in a primary, will vote Democratic in November. And there are a lot more registered Democrats than there used to be.

Second, Obama is a fast learner. His speech last night included a heavy dose of heartfelt appreciation for America, reverence for the land of opportunity and lots of empathy for working class voters. Like a vacuum cleaner, he is sucking up the Clintonian message to blue collar voters and absorbing the rhetoric which has successfully lured a coalition of working class whites, seniors and women. Don’t expect any more Snobgate slip-ups.

In short, the fun for conservatives is at an end.

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Obama’s Bad Numbers

New NBC/Wall Street Journal and NY Times/CBS polls have plenty of data to worry Obamaphiles. In the head-to-head national RealClearPolitics.com averages Barack Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton is shrinking fast. (And many of these polls surveyed voters in significant part before the latest Wright eruption.)

A few tidbits from the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama has dropped 5 points in the “has background/set of values I identify with” and 48% find Obama’s associations with Wright and Bill Ayers a major or moderate concern.

From the NY Times/CBS poll: Obama now is tied with John McCain while Clinton beats him in the head-to-head match ups. And things are heading in the wrong direction on other counts as the Times explains:

Fifty-one percent of Democratic voters say they expect Mr. Obama to win their party’s nomination, down from 69 percent a month ago. Forty-eight percent of Democrats say Mr. Obama is the candidate with the best chance of beating Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, down from 56 percent a month ago.

Obama still leads Clinton in both of these polls. But what will the polls say after the public has digested the latest epsiode in the Wright-Obama debacle?

The real news is now Clinton has more than Harold Ickes’ hunches to discuss with the superdelegates. The Times lets on that “some party leaders and superdelegates said the Wright controversy has given them pause, raising questions about Mr. Obama’s electability in the general election next fall.” Imagine that. Superdelegates are precisely the type of people (elected official, professional poll watchers, scared of their constituents) who are the most likely to “pause” ( which may be Times-speak for “break out in a cold sweat”) when they see a political firestorm and don’t know if all the shoes have dropped.

But perhaps by Tuesday all will be forgotten and Obama will cruise to wins in Indiana and North Carolinaes with an impressive coalition of whites/women/African Americans/union voters/seniors. Why, just like he did last time he won a primary in a populous state — Wisconsin. That was on February 19.

New NBC/Wall Street Journal and NY Times/CBS polls have plenty of data to worry Obamaphiles. In the head-to-head national RealClearPolitics.com averages Barack Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton is shrinking fast. (And many of these polls surveyed voters in significant part before the latest Wright eruption.)

A few tidbits from the NBC/WSJ poll: Obama has dropped 5 points in the “has background/set of values I identify with” and 48% find Obama’s associations with Wright and Bill Ayers a major or moderate concern.

From the NY Times/CBS poll: Obama now is tied with John McCain while Clinton beats him in the head-to-head match ups. And things are heading in the wrong direction on other counts as the Times explains:

Fifty-one percent of Democratic voters say they expect Mr. Obama to win their party’s nomination, down from 69 percent a month ago. Forty-eight percent of Democrats say Mr. Obama is the candidate with the best chance of beating Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, down from 56 percent a month ago.

Obama still leads Clinton in both of these polls. But what will the polls say after the public has digested the latest epsiode in the Wright-Obama debacle?

The real news is now Clinton has more than Harold Ickes’ hunches to discuss with the superdelegates. The Times lets on that “some party leaders and superdelegates said the Wright controversy has given them pause, raising questions about Mr. Obama’s electability in the general election next fall.” Imagine that. Superdelegates are precisely the type of people (elected official, professional poll watchers, scared of their constituents) who are the most likely to “pause” ( which may be Times-speak for “break out in a cold sweat”) when they see a political firestorm and don’t know if all the shoes have dropped.

But perhaps by Tuesday all will be forgotten and Obama will cruise to wins in Indiana and North Carolinaes with an impressive coalition of whites/women/African Americans/union voters/seniors. Why, just like he did last time he won a primary in a populous state — Wisconsin. That was on February 19.

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Ouch

Sometimes a candidate has an off debate night. Sometimes he leaves his best lines out on the stump. But a performance as bad as Barack Obama’s, this late in the campaign before a critical primary is unusual. And don’t take our word for it: Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch and ouch. The most devoted Obamaphile sums it up:

It was a lifeless, exhausted, drained and dreary Obama we saw tonight. I’ve seen it before when he is tired, but this was his worst performance yet on national television. He seemed crushed and unable to react. This is big-time politics and he’s up against the Clinton wood-chipper. But there is no disguising the fact that he wilted, painfully. . . .Obama has to survive and even thrive under this assault if he is to win. He failed tonight in a big way. And so this was indeed a huge night for the Republicans, and the first real indicator to me that Clinton is gaining in her fundamental goal at this point: the election of John McCain against Barack Obama. How else will she rescue the Democrats from hope?

And the post-debate fact-checking on guns and Bill Ayers is not helping matters. In short, the media may now be off Snobgate, but they will spend the next few days on “What The Heck Went Wrong?” analysis.

With all the geshrying over how hard the questions were, one wonders what the Obama supporters and media fan club think a general election would look like. Did they really believe that Bill Ayers would not come up? Did they think no 527 ads would mention the flag pin? Was the media not going to ever mention Reverend Wright again?

This only seems to confirm Hillary Clinton’s argument that Obama is unprepared to take the scrutiny which will come with the nomination. The more they holler “Foul!” the more Clinton will say “Told ‘ya so.”

Her audience, don’t forget, is not just Pennsylvania voters but lots of superdelegates who watch the debate and read the coverage. Harold Ickes, Clinton’s superdelegate persuader-in-chief, now will have something new to talk to them about.

Sometimes a candidate has an off debate night. Sometimes he leaves his best lines out on the stump. But a performance as bad as Barack Obama’s, this late in the campaign before a critical primary is unusual. And don’t take our word for it: Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch and ouch. The most devoted Obamaphile sums it up:

It was a lifeless, exhausted, drained and dreary Obama we saw tonight. I’ve seen it before when he is tired, but this was his worst performance yet on national television. He seemed crushed and unable to react. This is big-time politics and he’s up against the Clinton wood-chipper. But there is no disguising the fact that he wilted, painfully. . . .Obama has to survive and even thrive under this assault if he is to win. He failed tonight in a big way. And so this was indeed a huge night for the Republicans, and the first real indicator to me that Clinton is gaining in her fundamental goal at this point: the election of John McCain against Barack Obama. How else will she rescue the Democrats from hope?

And the post-debate fact-checking on guns and Bill Ayers is not helping matters. In short, the media may now be off Snobgate, but they will spend the next few days on “What The Heck Went Wrong?” analysis.

With all the geshrying over how hard the questions were, one wonders what the Obama supporters and media fan club think a general election would look like. Did they really believe that Bill Ayers would not come up? Did they think no 527 ads would mention the flag pin? Was the media not going to ever mention Reverend Wright again?

This only seems to confirm Hillary Clinton’s argument that Obama is unprepared to take the scrutiny which will come with the nomination. The more they holler “Foul!” the more Clinton will say “Told ‘ya so.”

Her audience, don’t forget, is not just Pennsylvania voters but lots of superdelegates who watch the debate and read the coverage. Harold Ickes, Clinton’s superdelegate persuader-in-chief, now will have something new to talk to them about.

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You Knew This Was Coming

This was the ad you knew was coming. Hillary Clinton finds some annoyed Pennsylvania voters to tell off Barack Obama. Right now this is the media story and she is not letting up. Given free media coverage like this, why should she?

With Snob-gate dominating the news cycle, Clinton now runs a risk. Should she fail to win by a comfortable margin after taking her best shot in the best possible news environment, Obama will claim to have survived the final desperate attack of a dying campaign. So she really better make sure the voters buy her argument. She won’t get another opportunity like this.

And if this is what Clinton is saying on TV, imagine what superdelegate wrangler Harold Ickes is saying to Democratic insiders in private. Even if the impact of Snob-gate fades, won’t this, at the very least, increase fears among the Democratic establishment that Obama is untested and could blow himself up with another mega-blunder in the general election. After all, it’s one thing to think rural voters are hicks. It’s another to say it in public. And another still to be “stunned” by the firestorm.

This was the ad you knew was coming. Hillary Clinton finds some annoyed Pennsylvania voters to tell off Barack Obama. Right now this is the media story and she is not letting up. Given free media coverage like this, why should she?

With Snob-gate dominating the news cycle, Clinton now runs a risk. Should she fail to win by a comfortable margin after taking her best shot in the best possible news environment, Obama will claim to have survived the final desperate attack of a dying campaign. So she really better make sure the voters buy her argument. She won’t get another opportunity like this.

And if this is what Clinton is saying on TV, imagine what superdelegate wrangler Harold Ickes is saying to Democratic insiders in private. Even if the impact of Snob-gate fades, won’t this, at the very least, increase fears among the Democratic establishment that Obama is untested and could blow himself up with another mega-blunder in the general election. After all, it’s one thing to think rural voters are hicks. It’s another to say it in public. And another still to be “stunned” by the firestorm.

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Penn Left An Indelible Mark

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.

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.

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No Kidding

Hillary Clinton adviser and superdelegate wrangler Harold Ickes revealed to TPM Election Central (h/t The Page) that he’s talking to superdelegates about Reverend Wright. Shocked? To liberal pundits who think the Wright episode is a nothingburger it may be a surprise. But Democratic insiders–who by and large have real constiutents–do care, at least according to Ickes. The report tells us:

“Super delegates have to take into account the strengths and weakness of both candidates and decide who would make the strongest candidate against what will undoubtedly be ferocious Republican attacks,” Ickes continued. “I’ve had super delegates tell me that the Wright issue is a real issue for them.” In a reference to Wright’s controversial views, Ickes continued: “Nobody thinks that Barack Obama harbors those thoughts. But that’s not the issue. The issue is what Republicans [will do with them]…I think they’re going to give him a very tough time.” Asked whether he was specifically bringing up Wright to super-delegates, Ickes said: “I’ve said what I’ve said . . . I tell people that they need to look at what they think Republicans may use against him. Wright comes up in the conversations.”

There is good reason for Democrats to be concerned, despite the assurances they are getting from the Obama-enablers. This poll shows Clinton leading by 9 points in Indiana, and by 21 points among white voters. Even more telling, this report (worth reading in its entirety for the priceless quotes from actual voters) suggests that, despite what some voters are telling national pollsters, Indiana Democrats are bothered about Wright:

Interviews with dozens of Democrats in this overwhelmingly white region — where voters will go to the polls in the May 6 primary — suggest residual concerns over the controversy involving Obama’s former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. . . Still, there are stirrings of unease among white voters, including those who fear the issue will hurt Obama in a general election. Pew also found that 39 percent of all white voters who had heard of the controversy, including Republicans and independents, said it made them less favorable toward Obama.

Well, there’s the rub. What some national polls and liberal media tell us conflicts with private conversations among Democratic insiders and voter reaction in a battleground state. Which do you think is more reliable?

The Democrats better be very sure this is a non-issue not only with primary voters, but with non-primary voting Democrats and independent voters (whose preferences only really are known on Election Day in November). Lots of material for Ickes and those superdelegates to talk about, it would seem.

Hillary Clinton adviser and superdelegate wrangler Harold Ickes revealed to TPM Election Central (h/t The Page) that he’s talking to superdelegates about Reverend Wright. Shocked? To liberal pundits who think the Wright episode is a nothingburger it may be a surprise. But Democratic insiders–who by and large have real constiutents–do care, at least according to Ickes. The report tells us:

“Super delegates have to take into account the strengths and weakness of both candidates and decide who would make the strongest candidate against what will undoubtedly be ferocious Republican attacks,” Ickes continued. “I’ve had super delegates tell me that the Wright issue is a real issue for them.” In a reference to Wright’s controversial views, Ickes continued: “Nobody thinks that Barack Obama harbors those thoughts. But that’s not the issue. The issue is what Republicans [will do with them]…I think they’re going to give him a very tough time.” Asked whether he was specifically bringing up Wright to super-delegates, Ickes said: “I’ve said what I’ve said . . . I tell people that they need to look at what they think Republicans may use against him. Wright comes up in the conversations.”

There is good reason for Democrats to be concerned, despite the assurances they are getting from the Obama-enablers. This poll shows Clinton leading by 9 points in Indiana, and by 21 points among white voters. Even more telling, this report (worth reading in its entirety for the priceless quotes from actual voters) suggests that, despite what some voters are telling national pollsters, Indiana Democrats are bothered about Wright:

Interviews with dozens of Democrats in this overwhelmingly white region — where voters will go to the polls in the May 6 primary — suggest residual concerns over the controversy involving Obama’s former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. . . Still, there are stirrings of unease among white voters, including those who fear the issue will hurt Obama in a general election. Pew also found that 39 percent of all white voters who had heard of the controversy, including Republicans and independents, said it made them less favorable toward Obama.

Well, there’s the rub. What some national polls and liberal media tell us conflicts with private conversations among Democratic insiders and voter reaction in a battleground state. Which do you think is more reliable?

The Democrats better be very sure this is a non-issue not only with primary voters, but with non-primary voting Democrats and independent voters (whose preferences only really are known on Election Day in November). Lots of material for Ickes and those superdelegates to talk about, it would seem.

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McCain Agrees with Clinton on This One

Hillary Clinton is turning up the heat on Barack Obama’s efforts to thwart re-votes in Michigan and Florida. This report explains just how tough the rhetoric is getting:

“When it comes to protecting the vote, he likes to say, ‘This is something I know something about,'” Deputy Communications Director Phil Singer said in a conference call. “Well, now he knows something about disenfranchising voters.” “Slapping these people is not the way to engender support and it gives the Republicans a real opening,” senior adviser Harold Ickes continued . “Florida, in particular, is really sensitive about disenfranchisement.” “It is absolutely critical that we start looking at the electoral vote map to start assembling 270 votes,” Ickes said, grouping Florida with other electoral battlegrounds.

There is, of course, a heavy dose of self-serving prognostication here. But it is not hard to imagine that in the general election John McCain would go to Florida and tell independents and Democrats that Obama shoved them out of the way to grab the nomination and now wants them to let bygones be bygones. Voters, self-centered creatures that they are, generally like to think that politicians value them. Obama’s tactics won’t sit well. (And, as we’ve learned, in Florida a very small number of “some voters” may be all it takes to swing the state one way or another.)

McCain used his primary race in January to put a state team in place and introduce himself to Florida voters. The Democrats didn’t and likely won’t do so (if Obama is successful in blocking a re-vote effort) until the nomination is decided. That’s an advantage for McCain, which is reflected in polling showing him leading both candidates.

As for Obama, an old-style strong-armed victory secured by excluding Florida and Michigan seems at odds with the era of new politics he is supposed to usher in. With each passing week and each tactical move Obama’s campaign seems less and less about “change” and more and more like hand-to-hand combat. For any ordinary candidate that might not be a problem. But for the savior of our entire political system it may be.

Hillary Clinton is turning up the heat on Barack Obama’s efforts to thwart re-votes in Michigan and Florida. This report explains just how tough the rhetoric is getting:

“When it comes to protecting the vote, he likes to say, ‘This is something I know something about,'” Deputy Communications Director Phil Singer said in a conference call. “Well, now he knows something about disenfranchising voters.” “Slapping these people is not the way to engender support and it gives the Republicans a real opening,” senior adviser Harold Ickes continued . “Florida, in particular, is really sensitive about disenfranchisement.” “It is absolutely critical that we start looking at the electoral vote map to start assembling 270 votes,” Ickes said, grouping Florida with other electoral battlegrounds.

There is, of course, a heavy dose of self-serving prognostication here. But it is not hard to imagine that in the general election John McCain would go to Florida and tell independents and Democrats that Obama shoved them out of the way to grab the nomination and now wants them to let bygones be bygones. Voters, self-centered creatures that they are, generally like to think that politicians value them. Obama’s tactics won’t sit well. (And, as we’ve learned, in Florida a very small number of “some voters” may be all it takes to swing the state one way or another.)

McCain used his primary race in January to put a state team in place and introduce himself to Florida voters. The Democrats didn’t and likely won’t do so (if Obama is successful in blocking a re-vote effort) until the nomination is decided. That’s an advantage for McCain, which is reflected in polling showing him leading both candidates.

As for Obama, an old-style strong-armed victory secured by excluding Florida and Michigan seems at odds with the era of new politics he is supposed to usher in. With each passing week and each tactical move Obama’s campaign seems less and less about “change” and more and more like hand-to-hand combat. For any ordinary candidate that might not be a problem. But for the savior of our entire political system it may be.

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Time To Crow

The Hillary Clinton team together with Senators Evan Bayh and Chuck Schumer held a press call to tout the results from last night. Both senators echoed the same theme: as voters get “serious” (that word was used multiple times), they will come around to Clinton. Schumer bluntly added, “You never count her out.”

In answers to questions, campaign head Mark Penn, advisor Harold Ickes, and spokesman Phil Singer wanted to get out several messages:

1) Barack Obama has yet to be vetted and, as Penn noted, “just a couple of days” of hard questions led to a dramatic decrease in his poll numbers. (There was much encouragement to look at the Obama team’s “puzzling” answers to NAFTA-gate and get “just some basic information” about Tony Rezko.)

2) They repeatedly rebuffed any questions about a VP spot for Clinton, saying she was focused on winning.

3) They again seemed to minimize states like “Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas,” which Obama has won, but which the Democratic nominee is unlikely to win in November. They termed upcoming Wyoming and Mississippi “challenging.”

4) Ickes is pushing undeclared superdelegates to come their way, or, at the very least, to “stand back” and see what else comes to light about Obama.

5) Clearly, they see this as a key moment in the race. Ickes declared they “turned a corner” after a “dry spell.”

Just one more observation: These folks seem to think the world of Republicans, how tough they are, how effective they are in dishing dirt and how hard they will be in a general election. Who knew?

The Hillary Clinton team together with Senators Evan Bayh and Chuck Schumer held a press call to tout the results from last night. Both senators echoed the same theme: as voters get “serious” (that word was used multiple times), they will come around to Clinton. Schumer bluntly added, “You never count her out.”

In answers to questions, campaign head Mark Penn, advisor Harold Ickes, and spokesman Phil Singer wanted to get out several messages:

1) Barack Obama has yet to be vetted and, as Penn noted, “just a couple of days” of hard questions led to a dramatic decrease in his poll numbers. (There was much encouragement to look at the Obama team’s “puzzling” answers to NAFTA-gate and get “just some basic information” about Tony Rezko.)

2) They repeatedly rebuffed any questions about a VP spot for Clinton, saying she was focused on winning.

3) They again seemed to minimize states like “Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas,” which Obama has won, but which the Democratic nominee is unlikely to win in November. They termed upcoming Wyoming and Mississippi “challenging.”

4) Ickes is pushing undeclared superdelegates to come their way, or, at the very least, to “stand back” and see what else comes to light about Obama.

5) Clearly, they see this as a key moment in the race. Ickes declared they “turned a corner” after a “dry spell.”

Just one more observation: These folks seem to think the world of Republicans, how tough they are, how effective they are in dishing dirt and how hard they will be in a general election. Who knew?

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Lots Of Blame To Go Around

This, in the latest of the “what went wrong?” stories, is a helpful guide to the many errors and faults of Clinton campaign guru Mark Penn, famed for perfecting the art of micro-trending (i.e. slicing and dicing the electorate to cobble together a winning coalition of support). Was it that we all “misunderstood” her (i.e., she really did care about big ideas) or that the media was too harsh? That’s Penn’s take. More realistically, the Clinton team utterly missed the biggest “trend” of all: this was a “change” election. And with a candidate who never connected with voters (“Being human is overrated,” Penn joked) they went from inevitable to desperate in less than a year.

But there is a bigger point here than just confirmation of Penn’s ineptitude. (And, yes, the incompetence of Harold Ickes and others who failed to organize and compete in caucus and Red states is equally to blame.) Hillary Clinton has never overseen a large operation successfully. For all of her talk that she would be “ready on day one,” the only instances of her managerial efforts–the health care task force and her own campaign–indicate she is neither a good judge of talent or a savvy strategist. In that regard, her claim to greater “experience” seems weak indeed.

This, in the latest of the “what went wrong?” stories, is a helpful guide to the many errors and faults of Clinton campaign guru Mark Penn, famed for perfecting the art of micro-trending (i.e. slicing and dicing the electorate to cobble together a winning coalition of support). Was it that we all “misunderstood” her (i.e., she really did care about big ideas) or that the media was too harsh? That’s Penn’s take. More realistically, the Clinton team utterly missed the biggest “trend” of all: this was a “change” election. And with a candidate who never connected with voters (“Being human is overrated,” Penn joked) they went from inevitable to desperate in less than a year.

But there is a bigger point here than just confirmation of Penn’s ineptitude. (And, yes, the incompetence of Harold Ickes and others who failed to organize and compete in caucus and Red states is equally to blame.) Hillary Clinton has never overseen a large operation successfully. For all of her talk that she would be “ready on day one,” the only instances of her managerial efforts–the health care task force and her own campaign–indicate she is neither a good judge of talent or a savvy strategist. In that regard, her claim to greater “experience” seems weak indeed.

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