The Washington Post reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton are both big fans of Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, 'Team of Rivals,' which outlines how Lincoln appointed people who hated and disagreed with each other in order to foster a competition for the best ideas and advice. James MacGregor Burns' masterful book on FDR, 'The Lion and the Fox,' also details how Roosevelt used a similar tactic in his Administration. While this may work in Government it is fatal in a Presidential campaign. A Presidential campaign must be a team-lead homogeneous effort in which there is a clear chain of command. While internal disagreement is allowed, participants must have the discipline not to leak to the press. Once decisions are made all must pull in the same direction. Note that the campaign of Barack Obama does not leak. Leaking stopped in the McCain campaign once McCain Advisor John Weaver was forced out. The campaigns of George W. Bush never leaked.
Penn Ickes
One need look any further than the Clinton campaign to see the damage internal bickering played out in the media can do. The New York Times reports screaming fights between Clinton Chief Strategist Mark Penn, and Clinton media maven, Mandy Grunwald. The New York Times reports Penn and old Clinton hand Harold Ickes were F-bombing each other at the top of their lungs. How Penn has survived after a series of total miscalculations is a mystery. Running a candidate with scant experience as the experienced candidate was his first mistake. Barack Obama's service in the State Senate constitutes more experience than Hillary has in government. Not humanizing Hillary, letting her continue to be the wonkish ice Queen was his second mistake. Even the unlikable Richard Nixon used self-deprecating humor to warm up his image in 1968. Hillary's good natured turn opening SNL last weekend showed she is game. Why were voters never shown another side of her-if one exists? Not contesting the small and medium caucus states given the Democratic Party system of proportional representation for delegates, was a costly blunder-something your "Chief Strategist" should know. Even if Hillary lost, she would have picked up delegates she now sorely needs. Laying no plans and budgeting no money for the contests after February 5th reflects arrogance in the Clinton camp that expected an early coronation. Post- February 5th plans should have been made and dollars set aside after Obama posted astounding numbers in the first financial filing. Penn didn't have clue. Penn reamed a junior Clinton staffer for referring to him as a 'pollster" in a memo, demanding to be called Chief Strategist for the campaign, but pre-Ohio he was caught trying to convince the LA Times he was an "outside consultant with little involvement" in the campaign. Talk about rats leaving a sinking ship! The New York Times also called Bill Clinton "the greatest political strategist of his generation"-curious given his inability to get 50% of the vote-even in his re-election. Note: Like Clinton, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan both won their first terms with a plurality. Unlike Clinton, both won re-election in a landslide. Had Ross Perot not run in 1992 or 1996 Bill Clinton would be back in Arkansas selling mobile homes. Bill Clinton made the mistake of believing that African Americans loved him more than they would love the idea of the first duly-elected Black President. Many forget that "our first Black President" executed a retarded Black man as Governor of Arkansas just weeks before the 1992 New Hampshire Primary to show he was "tough on crime." The Penn-lead campaign's inability to score an early knock-out of Obama has lead to a fight that will rip the Democratic Party apart. An attempt to change the rules now to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates will be attacked by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson as a naked attempt to steal the nomination from an African American. Julian Bond and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones will argue that African-Americans are being disenfranchised in Michigan and Florida if the delegations are not seated. A blood bath could ensue. A re-run of either Michigan or Florida will be a high stakes playoff that is certain to leave half the Democrats angry. Not since the Viet Nam war has the Democratic Party been so divided. This is what Penn hath wrought.