Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Hillary Clinton- the fall of a dead cert

It still seems incredible that Hillary Clinton lost the race for the Democratic nomination when she was a dead cert. Memos leaked to The Atlantic magazine show why. It shows a campaign bedevilled by infighting, strategically confused and inept, bleeding cash like a sub-prime mortgage lender, and, quite incredibly, lacking any sort of ground game to put even this spectacularly weak campaign into play.

On every level, the Clinton campaign was a monumental failure. Interestingly, the candidate herself comes out of it slightly (very slightly) better than her campaign team. Mark Penn improves his performance but his first moves are so flawed- targeting her 'base' only, running HRC as an inevitable candidate- that it is impossible to exonerate him.

The most incredible document in the batch is Geoff Garin's rebuke to a senior staffer for failing to follow the basic line of command. This was not an early shot across the bows. It was a reassertion of the campaign organisation that was necessary as late as April of this year. At every level in the campaign's Centcom were personalities who were incapable of uniting for a higher cause. Despite the candidate sounding like the voice of reason from time to time, this was her team and her leadership at stake. Ultimately, she bore the consequences but she also has to shoulder responsibility for the shambles.

How on earth did Obama beat the Clinton machine? Well, it wasn't so much of a machine after all. It was a legacy with no engine.

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