In the Arena


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It takes a certain amount of–well, the proper word escapes me, but it exists in a realm somewhere beyond chutzpah…for Mark Penn to write that the real problem with the Clinton campaign was that it didn’t raise enough money. Of course, the three words missing from the sentence are “to pay me.” It doesn’t occur to Penn that the reason why Clinton didn’t raise enough money was because she was running an anachronistic, Penn-driven, poll-driven campaign.

Penn’s “analysis” appears on a page of post mortems in the New York Times. Of these, the best is by Bob Kerrey, who makes the really complicated and convoluted argument that Hillary Clinton lost because Barack Obama was the better candidate.

Which reminds me of an anecdote: A few months ago, Kerrey told me that Clinton had called him asking for advice about how to proceed in the campaign. “Write your concession speech,” he told her, then added,
“But before you hang up let me explain: My concession speech [in 1992] was the best speech I gave in that campaign. Al Gore’s concession speech was the best he gave. It’s always the case because you’re feel free to say what you really think when you’re dropping out. So, write the speech–and then cut out the part about dropping out–and then deliver it.”

Great advice for any candidate–and I thought about it yesterday, watching Clinton’s lovely finale.