What went wrong in Hillary’s campaign

In an enlightening article by Michelle Cottle at the New Republic, anonymous Hillary campaign insiders give the low-down on what went wrong. The main items are: the bizarre decision to run as an incumbent; the failure to do anything against Obama in the earlier months (the Clintons’ famed opposition research was out to lunch); having Mark Penn as both strategist and pollster, leading to a lack of checks and balances; keeping people of proven incompetence such as Penn in their jobs; the lack of any overall strategy to win the nomination; the total focus on winning Iowa; the lack of any plans for the weeks after February 5, which was when Obama won ten contests in a row and ran up the 100 point advantage that he still has; and William Clinton’s implosion.

Given that the campaign made so many and such serious and fundamental mistakes, what does that say about Hillary’s judgment and leadership abilities?

Here is a sample of the comments following the article. Many of the commenters make the same point I made above:

Posted by Rita

The eye popping campaign cash figure that closes in on a half a billion dollars, is..well..eye popping. Hillary was ill served by her campaign, but she is also shockingly let off the hook, in this story, for being obviously devoid of management, administrative and leadership skills. This leaves her with an appearance of simply jetting around looking oddly attractive, pampered and quite presumptuous of her coronation. Where was her highly touted political acumen, her political EXPERIENCE, her intellect for quick analysis and her vaunted JUDGEMENT??? These were the supposed assumptions and underpinnings of her entire campaign. Hillary is no Diane Feinstein, who keeps her head down and actually performs. Instead, Hillary turns out to be just one over-rated, highly financed activist, who has skated to titles and positions on her husband’s achievements and who would much rather “fight” over everything than actually accomplish something. Cut her loose.

Posted by Sylvia Arkes

Well-researched article crystallizes everything we’ve observed about Hillary’s failed campaign. Sounds like her staff is still blind to the obvious conclusion that her defective campaign management style would have followed her to the White House, and the voters would have been saddled with a defective governance style. After 8 years of incompetent leadership, this is not the “solution” the American people want.

Posted by Jacob Ezekial New York,NY

If I were an Obama supporter—deep inside—I would feel a little uncomfortable with the Press writing off Hillary right now! In Politics, like in Life, when you count people out before they’ve made their exit—it comes back to haunt you….I’m not saying its gonna happen or not happen… I’m just saying that with all the pundits already having Hillary buried when she’s still campaigning is a little unnerving.. What if she becomes the nominee and then the President? There are still some out there that will say in November—“Well, she was the front-runner anyway, whats the big deal?’ Big deal is that the media should not be trusted, period!

Posted by Democratis

A great article; thank you TNR and thank you TNR readers for your prospective but what it all really comes down to is a basic mistake in the way Camp Clinton saw the dynamics of the race for the nomination. Every public statement I have seen, from every Clinton staffer, seemed to be based on a given that the Democratic Nomination was an entitlement, due to the Senator as a reward for services rendered to the Party. The reality, shown in both Parties, throughout history, is that no candidate ever “deserves” nomination rather, nomination is the result of a contest that has to be won in the here and now, rather than on the basis of who did what years ago. Senator Clinton could have won, should have won, would have won if she had gone to the voters as a contestant rather than the pre-ordained winner. Instead, Clinton insiders spent 2007 talking about how they would punish anyone who dared oppose the Senator from New York instead of building on-the-ground political organizations across the nation as the Obama campaign did so effectively.

Posted by Ella in NM

“There was financial mismanagement bordering on fraud. A candidate who raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the years had to pump in millions more of her own money to stave off bankruptcy.” No, I don’t think fraud charges are imminent. However, the money issue is the total canary in the mine for anyone who wants to see it. It tracks back to every other issue in the campaign that was also why she lost—over hiring of expensive consultants, no ability to compete with Barack later in the primary season, etc. But for me, it really hammered home that this is how she runs large organizations and projects—and would be how she would run her Administration. I saw someone who not only allowed a bunch of “drama” and chaos in her campaign, but someone who had no respect for money. I don’t want her running my country.

- end of initial entry -

Adela G. writes:

You write: “Given that the campaign made so many and such serious and fundamental mistakes, what does that say about Hillary’s judgment and leadership ability?”

Change one noun and one pronoun in that sentence and ask it again. Given that Obama’s campaign made so many and such serious and fundamental mistakes, what does that say about his judgment and leadership ability?

Answer: About the same as it says about Hillary. The difference being Obama had the race card to play—and knew how to play it.

As I hope I’ve made clear, I’m no fan of Hillary. But the persistent anti-white and anti-American attitude seeping through from Obama, his wife and his pastor—that alone should have sunk his campaign. It didn’t. If anything, it strengthened it. I’m not sure how, even with a crackerjack team behind her, Hillary could successfully have opposed that. I’m not sure how the white majority in America will be able to oppose it, either, if Obama becomes POTUS.

LA replies:

But as I wrote recently, Obama’s failure to “handle” his history with Wright was not the incredible, candidacy-killing mistake it had initially seemed, since, as Obama’s survival of the Wright revelations now bore out, Obama’s deep racist connections would be accepted by the American public.

Adela replies:

True. But turn that around. Hillary’s mentioning that she did better with white working-class voters than Obama did should not have been a mistake, one that Obama’s camp was able to spin as a racist remark. First, it was borne out by the numbers and second, both blacks and whites have publicly mentioned that most black Dems have voted for Obama without anyone pointing out that it is racist to say so. But her mention of white support was a mistake, not because it was false or racist but because she was the wrong color to be allowed to admit that her own race overwhelmingly supported her.

Hillary and Obama have consistently been held to different standards based solely on race.

I’m not saying that her team did not mismanage her campaign. My impression was that it was bloated, inefficient, and presumptous in its strategy. I’m saying that perhaps her biggest mistake was being a white candidate running against a black one.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 18, 2008 03:55 PM | Send

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