Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillaryland: the audacity of arrogance

There is a revealing new article in The Atlantic about the behind the scenes jockeying for power within the court of Queen Hillary. While the writer of the article is clearly sympathetic to Hillary Clinton, the article contains many sections that are unintentionally revealing. What emerges is a picture of an organization that is amazingly arrogant to those outside the magic circle, but remarkably servile and complacent in the face of troubling signs that all was not well:
Such arrogance led directly to the idea that Clinton could simply project an air of inevitability and be assured her party's nomination. If she wins—as she very well might—it will be in spite of her original approach. As one former Clinton staffer put it to me last spring: "There was an assumption that if you were a major donor and wanted to be an ambassador, go to state dinners with the queen—unless you were an outright fool, you were going to go with Hillary, whether you liked her or not. The attitude was ‘Where else are they going to go?' "
It's a good article and I'd say it's a must-read in light of where we are in the campaign process. Most damning of all are the revelations of fiscal mismanagement in the Clinton campaign. If Hillary Clinton can't supervise a $175 million campaign budget, how can she be trusted with an annual federal budget in the neighborhood of $3 trillion?

To me, the money issue is key. Clinton had more than enough, but Solis Doyle burned through it at a prodigious rate. Clinton is about to be swarmed in Ohio and Texas by a well-funded Obama campaign deploying media, large numbers of paid staffers, and thousands of grass roots volunteers.

The Clinton campaign must now put itself back together on the run. Most pundits think that the March 4th primaries in Texas and Ohio will be the deciding factor. If Hillary blows Obama out in these states, she may have a chance at recovery. But if she wins by a small margin or loses to Obama, the superdelegates may weigh in and hand the nomination to Obama. It may be harder for the Clintons to do this than anyone is willing to admit: while Solis Doyle wasted a huge amount of money, she was Clinton's enforcer of discipline. With Solis Doyle gone, will the rest of Hillary's flying monkeys play nice?

I suspect that Hillary Clinton's campaign will continue to leak senior staffers as discipline breaks down and scores are settled in long-simmering feuds. Mike Henry's departure is just the beginning.

You can read "Inside the Clinton Shake-Up" by Joshua Green in The Atlantic.

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