So Mark Penn has ended up getting it from both sides after meeting with the Colombian ambassador to the U.S. to help Columbia promote the free-trade agreement that Clinton opposes.
Penn, of course, was Hillary’s senior campaign strategist, a position that requires, at a minimum, sound political judgment. If we are so rude as to judge him by his actions (and not his words) it doesn’t look like Penn would recognize sound political judgment if it came up and kissed him on both cheeks, and tried to give him a fat lobbying contract.
Whoever Hillary’s listening to now presumably belongs to the slow and steady school of things, given that the Columbian government fired Penn well before Clinton got around to doing so.
Of course, we are hearing a lot this morning about how Penn kept his job so long, despite personality conflicts with other senior campaign advisers, and growing doubts among Clinton supporters about the efficacy of Penn’s campaign strategies, “almost solely because of the candidate’s loyalty to him”.
Loyalty interfering with the decision to replace an aide whose job performance had fallen well below par … haven’t have we heard that before, and recently? Time, I guess, for another chorus of “there is entirely too much George Bush in Hillary Clinton for my liking”.
Maybe the slow-and-steady person now advising Hilary will eventually get around to advising her that the best thing she can do — not for the party, but for herself — is to immediately change the entire tone of her campaign. Unless she intends to suborn wholesale defection by pledged candidates who are currently in the Obama column — and what kind of mixture of bribery and blackmail would that entail? — her chance of winning the nomination is vanishingly small, to put it in mathematical terms. The most graceful thing she can do, therefore, is to get out of the race soonishly. But if she insists on staying in, no one can really grudge her the right to hang around — much like Huckabee did with McCain — in the slim hope that the Obama campaign somehow self-destructs. But the only sensible way to do that is to spend the next few months attacking McCain, not Obama.
Because, if Hillary insists on continuing to run the kind of campaign she has been running lately — attacking Obama and praising McCain’s readiness to be president — she is going to end up achieving only one thing: putting paid to any realistic hope of running for president again down the road.