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Hillary's not-so-rosy campaign

(Credit: Politirazzi)

By Bragg

Despite being a Republican, I will readily admit that I gained newfound respect for Hillary Clinton during the course of her campaign, particularly the tenacity with which she continued to battle Barack Obama until the very end. I was frequently impressed by her command of facts and the ease with which she could articulate her positions. She debated well, and showed flashes of humor and charm that I had not previously seen. I had decided a few months ago that if there had to be a Democrat in the White House, I hoped it would be Hillary. I felt she was more qualified than Obama, and from the standpoint of national security and foreign policy, I felt that she’d be less likely to “go wobbly” on us, to quote the great Margaret Thatcher.

With that said, in reading Joshua Green’s much-discussed article this month in The Atlantic, I feel as though a Hillary Clinton presidency might have been far worse than I had begun to think. Green’s article is a must-read for political junkies (particularly the juicy memos and e-mails that Green obtained and provides), but for Clinton supporters — especially those who contributed to or raised money for her campaign — I recommend a stiff drink prior to, during and probably after reading it.

The article exposes a campaign riddled with paranoid infighting, hurt by damaging leaks, weakened by inept financial management, crippled by an absence of contingency planning and, most of all, fundamentally flawed by shockingly poor leadership from the top — from Hillary, herself.

(continued) Green paints a picture of a candidate who, despite starting her campaign with a seemingly insurmountable set of advantages, still managed to make mistakes often enough and significant enough to squander everything. A Hillary Clinton is revealed in the article far different from the one we saw on the campaign trail, often exuding confidence and strength. Instead, the reader meets a Hillary who is unwilling and/or unable to make the tough decisions, incapable of maintaining cohesion among her senior staff, and alarmingly unskilled at quickly adapting her strategy, message and resources on the fly — an imperative in a national campaign.

For those who supported Hillary, I suspect reading this will be unsettling and almost incomprehensible. After all, presumably so much of what attracted them to her in the first place seems to be completely lacking. For those who contributed to the Clinton campaign, the mismanagement of campaign resources chronicled in the article is staggering, and sure to prompt stomach-turning regret about where that check could have been spent instead. For me, someone who had started to reconcile himself to the real possibility of a President Hillary Clinton, there is great relief. If a President Hillary had exhibited the indecisiveness and ineptitude of candidate Hillary, the country would have paid the price. Speaking of paying the price, if a Hillary Clinton administration had mismanaged taxpayer money as woefully as they did campaign funds, the consequences would have been tremendous.

In many presidential campaigns, an important test of the candidates is often overlooked, particularly for those candidates who lack “executive experience,” such as Clinton, Obama and McCain this year. In actuality, running a campaign — now nearly a billion dollar enterprise with thousands of employees, incredibly high stakes and stratospheric stress levels — is perhaps one of the best indicators of a candidate’s executive ability and skills. There are few governors (even few CEOs) who have had to deal with an operation as complex as a presidential campaign. If Green’s article is accurate, Hillary failed this test spectacularly. On the other hand, to Barack Obama’s credit — and as much as I might worry about his lack of experience — his campaign has been run to near perfection thus far.

Should he go on to win in November, I’ll be able to take some comfort in that knowledge.

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