Penn Knew

11Aug08

Why management skills matter.

Mark Penn, the top campaign strategist for Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s campaign, advised her to portray Barack Obama as having a “limited” connection “to basic American values and culture,” according to a forthcoming article in The Atlantic.

I often wondered why, despite the obvious need to proceed with caution, Hillary didn’t go after Barack harder then she did.

The magazine reports Penn suggested getting much rougher with Obama in a memo on March 30, after her crucial wins in Texas and Ohio: “Does anyone believe that it is possible to win the nomination without, over these next two months, raising all these issues on him? … Won’t a single tape of [the Reverend Jeremiah] Wright going off on America with Obama sitting there be a game ender?”

She had the gameplan she needed, but she didn’t pull the trigger.

Atlantic Senior Editor Joshua Green writes that major decisions during her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination would be put off for weeks until suddenly Clinton “would erupt, driving her staff to panic and misfire.”

It’s like John Kerry all over again.

Penn, the presidential campaign’s chief strategist, wrote in a memo to Clinton excerpted in the article: “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.”

Which Barack is not. And the video is there to prove it.

A key take-away from the article is that Clinton received a lot of accurate advice, including from Penn. He wrote a remarkably prescient memo in March 2007 about the importance of appealing to what he called “the Invisible Americans,” specifically “WOMEN, LOWER AND MIDDLE CLASS VOTERS” — exactly the groups that helped Clinton beat Obama in key states nearly a year later.

Which is why Barack cannot be elected.

“What is clear from the internal documents is that Clinton’s loss derived not from any specific decision she made but rather from the preponderance of the many she did not make.”

While Hillary didn’t know how to get the job done, McCain has already proven that he won’t behave with progressive incompetence.

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