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Trouble On The Good Ship Clinton

by @ 9:32 am on March 10, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Hillary Clinton, Politics

All those reports about disarray in the Clinton campaign are raising doubts about Hillary’s management abilities:

Divisions in her campaign over strategy and communications — and the dislike many of her advisers had for one another — poured out into public as Mrs. Clinton struggled in February to hold off Mr. Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But even as Mrs. Clinton revived her fortunes last week with victories in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas, the questions lingered about how she managed her campaign, with the internal sniping and second-guessing undermining her well-cultivated image as a steady-at-the-wheel chief executive surrounded by a phalanx of loyal and efficient aides.

“She hasn’t managed anything as complex as this before; that’s the problem with senators,” said James A. Thurber, a professor of government at American University who is an expert on presidential management. “She wasn’t as decisive as she should have been. And it’s a legitimate question to ask: Under great pressure from two different factions, can she make some hard decisions and move ahead? It seems to just fester. She doesn’t seem to know how to stop it or want to stop it.”

Since Clinton has never actually run anything, or served in an executive capacity, how she performs in the operation and management of her own Presidential campaign is, I think, a legitimate yardstick by which to measure how she might perform in the White House.

So far, at least, it doesn’t look good:

[I]nterviews with campaign aides, associates and friends suggest that Mrs. Clinton, at least until February, was a detached manager. Juggling the demands of being a candidate, she paid little attention to detail, delegated decisions large and small and deferred to advisers on critical questions. Mrs. Clinton accepted or seemed unaware of the intense factionalism and feuding that often paralyzed her campaign and that prevented her aides from reaching consensus on basic questions like what states to fight in and how to go after Mr. Obama, of Illinois.

Mrs. Clinton showed a tendency toward an insular management style, relying on a coterie of aides who have worked for her for years, her aides and associates said. Her choice of lieutenants, and her insistence on staying with them even when friends urged her to shake things up, was blamed by some associates for the campaign’s woes. Again and again, the senator was portrayed as a manager who valued loyalty and familiarity over experience and expertise.

Not exactly the kind of management style you want to see in the White House.

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