Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Please. Stop. This.

Josh Green offers up some pretty thin gruel when discussing the recent departure of Patti Solis Doyle from the Clinton campaign team:

Rather than punish Solis Doyle 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.
This analysis is backwards in at least a couple of ways. First of all, when choosing people to work on campaigns, loyalty and discipline are extremely important attributes!!! You don't want your people off message ever (discipline!), doubting your qualifications (loyalty!) or looking at potential rival campaigns for career opportunities (loyalty!). Show me a candidate that does not value loyalty and discipline in their campaign personnel and I'll show you an also-ran.

Second, Bill Clinton did not fetishize loyalty and discipline. His administration spawned a fair share of deserters, leakers and naysayers (Morris and Stephanopolous immediately spring to mind, though even Gore drifted away at the end - to his detriment). Beyond that, though, Clinton actually sought out dissenting opinions in policy debates - preferring the marketplace of ideas to ideological conformity, discipline and loyalty. He incorporated Republicans like Wiliam Cohen into his cabinent, and left non-political entities like the DOJ alone - as he should (though it cost him in a way that it wouldn't have if he had gone all Abu Gonzales on the Attorney General's office).

Comparing the Clintons to Bush in this regard is facile and unsupported by the evidence. Using the Solis incident to do so is, dare I say, symptomatic of derangement.

(via Matt)

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