The temptation to write a post-mortem on the HRC candidacy grows with every day. But apart from the arguments about dynasty, the Bill problem and Mark Penn, there is a basic truth about all candidacies: the reflect the temperament of the candidate. Hillary's problem may be that she is just lazy.
I am looking at Hillary Clinton the manager. I think you can find her style showing through the problems her campaign is now experiencing.
- The 50% +1 strategy. This is a strategy of minimal effort. Just do what is essential and not a jot more. Why spend time, money, speeches on Red States? The mere suggestion that there are states forever off the map to Democrats isn't leadership, its a lack of will to try something that looks hard.
- The Big City strategy. Even within the states HRC feels are solidly for the Democrats in the Fall, she seems only interested in working the urban areas. She worked NYC to the exclusion of much of upstate NY in her Senate bid, she has been upended by Obama in the rural states and rural parts of more urbanized states. Are there votes there not worth asking for, or is it just easier to focus on the cities.
- Fund-raising. It is much easier to work a room of well heeled habitual donors than it is to break away from the comfort of their embrace. Rejecting the netroots, until just now, reveals in inability to embrace new ideas, to take a risk.
- The Iraq Vote. Much has been written about HRC's Iraq vote as a means of positioning her for her Presidential run. Fareed Zakariah of Newsweek has posited that Hillary has played it safe for so long as a legislator that she may not have the boldness to actually stand for something unpopular as President (see #5) She went along, because to do so would be unpopular in a time of heightened war rhetoric. She took the easy path.
- The addiction to Polls. The tendency to do just what the polls indicate is the popular will (of the moment) is not strenuous leadership, its followership. It means you never have to take a unique position, your positions are all focus group tested. If your policies are drawn from polling then it suggest a lazy approach to policy making.
- Finding my Voice. Forget the oddity of a 60 year old woman with 35 years experience just last month "finding her voice". The fact is she hasn't. Mrs. Clinton has adopted policies, rhetoric and slogans of her competitors like an avid collector. Her voice? "Solutions for America" Sounds more like a slogan from Dow Chemical.
- Healthcare 1993. When the going got tough, Hillary could not deliver the promise of healthcare. And it never came back as an issue for the rest of the Clinton presidency. It was bruising, but instead of reaching out, communicating, using the bully pulpit. It was too hard. It required talking to people, persuading, instead of simply insisting it be done and expecting results.
- The Coronation. The management of her campaign has focused on a plan of assuming victory was in the bag, having local politicians carry the water locally. Lots of money on consultants ($33 million) who are viewed, no doubt, like a human ATM machine: put in money out come results.
Others may see hubris in this pattern, or presumption, or entitlement. I see it differently. I see a personality that seeks the course of least resistance and has only occasionally ventured into the controversial VOLUNTARILY. It is one reason why I believe HRC is more concerned about what Republicans think about her and the party.
Obama is winning vs. the better known Sen Clinton because you can seen the stark difference between leadership and followership. Obama is willing to take on the hard fights because he believes results can happen. Hillary is more daunted by the task of dealing with people and so she seeks the solution that avoids the need to get buy-in to her plans.
I invite your slings and arrows.