July 3, 2008


Hillaryland at War: Hillary Clinton’s campaign had it all: near-death moments, hard-won triumphs, dysfunctional relationships—and a staff consumed with infighting over how to sell their candidate. It was a battle that revealed why she came so close to victory, as well as why she didn’t make it. (Gail Sheehy, August 2008, Vanity Fair)

Nobody knew how to run a woman as leader of the free world.

Perversely, in my view, Hillary’s chief strategist proved to be an old-fashioned sexist. Penn did not appreciate the strength of her character as a woman. He and Bill Clinton insisted that she not run as a woman. They ran her as tougher than any man. They also put her out in front as her own attack dog, never an appealing role for a candidate, and one that Senator Obama’s surrogates played for him. In the losing rounds of the five-month primary season, Hillary loyalists repeatedly challenged Obama’s manhood, openly proclaiming to reporters that she was “the only candidate with the testicular fortitude to be president.”

But four of the Big Five—Doyle, Ickes, Wolfson, and Grunwald—argued that Hillary’s warmer, kinder, compassionate side needed to be displayed as well as her fight face. Ickes and Wolfson had both seen a turnaround in her first Senate campaign in New York, where her charm and humor and genuine empathy came through.

“Everybody already knows Hillary is plenty tough,” Ickes argued. “If they know she’s a tough operator, who could kick aside anyone who gets in her way, and they still don’t like her, she needs to show the very human side of herself.”

But the others got nowhere with Bill and Penn, who later protested to me, “They were consistently opposed to her taking on Barack Obama, but they never had another strategy for winning.”

After all, what does Bill Clinton know about politics? The Democrats' terror of running for Bill's third term has already cost them two elections and her the nomination.

Posted by at July 3, 2008 11:08 AM

"Everybody already knows Hillary is plenty tough"

There's no definition of "everybody" that makes this sentence true.

She had no chance to beat John McCain this year. Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? Wasn't ever going to happen, even if she weren't such an unlikeable figure. Amazingly enough, because Obama is such a flawed candidate she may actually have a chance at becoming president someday...

Posted by: b at July 3, 2008 12:47 PM

WRT Hillary's political future: I'll boldly predict that between 11/4 and 12/31, Hillary will announce her resignation from the Senate so that she can take a lucrative Wall Street/K Street job. That campaign debt has to be paid, you know.

Posted by: Brad S at July 3, 2008 1:00 PM

No, it doesn't. There are 1980 campaigns that still have debt.

Posted by: oj at July 3, 2008 2:29 PM
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