Running Campaigns and Running the Country

Back in 2008, Obama partisans pointed to the fact that their candidate presided over a well-run and well-executed campaign, and claimed that this would translate into an ability to run the country as well as the campaign was run. The claim was always bogus–being a competent president of the United States is harder (by many orders of magnitude) than being a candidate in a well-run campaign, and furthermore, candidates don’t run their own campaigns–but if we are to take the claim seriously, Hillary Clinton is already showing that she would make for a poor president of the United States:

Lingering tensions between Hillary Rodham Clinton’s loyalists and the strategists who helped President Obama defeat her in 2008 have erupted into an intense public struggle over who will wield money and clout in her emerging 2016 presidential campaign.

At issue is controlling access to the deep-pocketed donors whose support is critical to sustain the outside organizations that are paving the way for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. It is a competition that has been exacerbated, many Clinton supporters said, by Mrs. Clinton’s reluctance to formally enter the race and establish a campaign organization with clear lines of authority.

The dispute broke into the open on Monday after David Brock, a Clinton ally, accused Priorities USA Action — a pro-Clinton “super PAC” whose co-chairman is Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s 2012 campaign manager — of planting negative stories about the fund-raising practices of Mr. Brock’s organizations. Mr. Brock resigned from the super PAC’s board in protest.

Mr. Messina is one of the half-dozen top veterans of Mr. Obama’s campaigns that Mrs. Clinton’s tightknit circle of advisers has hired or courted, vexing some longtime Clintonites seeking more prominent roles for themselves. Other former Obama aides are working with pro-Clinton groups to organize grass-roots volunteers or to fend off attacks on her record, efforts that some Democrats view as the first step toward a place in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign when it finally gets off the ground.

All recognize that Mrs. Clinton’s political operation could dominate the Democratic Party for the next decade, controlling the flow of commissions, consulting work and political appointments. But the marriage between the two camps — based to a large degree on mutual interest, if not love — now appears more uneasy than at any time since Mr. Obama asked Mrs. Clinton to serve in his administration after the 2008 election.

All of this drama, and the campaign has barely even begun.

I am waiting for Obama partisans–many of whom have signed on to the Clinton campaign, or have pledged to support it–to recall their stances in 2008 and to conclude that this early dysfunction shows that Hillary Clinton should never be elected president. They won’t do that, of course, but that is more an indication of their hypocrisy than anything else.

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