Friday, February 15, 2008

Judge a President by her Campaign?

It has become a political cliche' that you can tell the kind of president a candidate will be by how they run their campaign. Like any cliche' there's some truth in it, and some exaggeration.

What I find most telling are the people any candidate chooses to run their campaign.

I've not followed the press reports on Hillaryland because I always assumed such accounts to be gossip filled hit pieces. But now that the wheels are coming off the Hillaryland wagon, I can't seem to get enough of them. And what I'm learning is that none of the Clintons' current problems are coming as a surprise to those who have followed the drama since last summer.

If you are so inclined, Josh Green's current piece in The Atlantic, Inside the Clinton Shake-Up, is a good place to start.

Here is the money quote,
Rather than punish Solis Doyle [for nearly bankrupting her Senate re-election campaign in 2006] or raise questions about her fitness to lead, Clinton chose her to manage the presidential campaign for reasons that should now be obvious: above all, Clinton prizes loyalty and discipline, and Solis Doyle demonstrated both traits, if little else. This suggests to me that for all the emphasis Clinton has placed on executive leadership in this campaign, her own approach is a lot closer to the current president’s than her supporters might like to admit.
Indeed. The more you read about all the trouble in Hillaryland, the more concern you become with the striking resemblance of her leadership style to that of our current President.

But in fairness, the press and the blogger world don't seem to fully appreciate the need a president, or presidential candidate, has for absolute loyalty from their inner circle. They will never survive the many crises that will buffet them, if their inner circle isn't completely loyal.

Loyalty is not a substitute for competence, but competence is no substitute for loyalty. No matter how big the crisis, a president has to be able to go to bed at night knowing that his captains will be there in the morning serving by her side and not spilling their guts to the papers in hopes of placing blame anywhere but on them. One doesn't find such people easily or let them go lightly.

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