Monday, April 07, 2008

Clinton's people

A very useful -and didactic- comment about Hillary's campaign, from the Daily Koss site (Bolds are mine).

The post-mortems of the Clinton campaign, if they are to be useful, will have to explain why Hillary Clinton allowed Mark Penn to become her Svengali (or Rasputin?). Furthermore, a full explanation of Bill and Hillary will need to explain why on her two signature executive endeavors—the Clinton health care effort and her Presidential campaign—they allowed people totally unsuited to the task to become Hillary's Svengalis.

As some will remember, the Clinton health care plan was headed up by business consulting guru Ira Magaziner. Brad DeLong had this to say about Magaziner's contribution to the Clinton health care debacle:

His second flaw was that he thought like a management consultant. A management consultant's principal goal is to win a debate in front of his employer, the senior decision maker, the "Principal." You win a debate by making intellectual arguments, controlling the flow of information to the senior decision maker, walling-off potential adversaries from the process, and winning the confidence of the Principal by telling him things that he likes to hear: that he is smart, that his goals can be achieved, that the nay-sayers just don't grasp the issues. But that's not how you develop a policy.

It's also not how you win an election. As a candidate or an office holder, you need people around you who can and will tell you what you don't want to hear, and to whom you'll listen when you don't like what you're hearing. She has tremendous talents, but based on her two biggest leadership challenges, it looks like Hillary Clinton is too susceptible to the charms of people who tell her what she wants to hear rather than what she needs to hear.

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