Josh Green. Atlantic. Clinton Memos. Just Read It.


It’s the article everyone’s talking about today: Josh Green of the Atlantic gets reams of internal Clinton campaign memos, emails, and other documents from former staffers and runs down the most important parts. Take a gander.

I’ll highlight just two things. First, Clinton emerges as a terrible executive. She is unable to hire people who work well together or people who, though at odds, create a useful tension. She is unable to settle disputes after they arise or provide direction that keeps them from arising in the first place. A pattern emerges from Green’s documents: Clinton first lets a problem fester, then explodes at her staff for not addressing it, then provides little guidance on how to solve it going forward, and ultimately gets bitten by the problem down the road.

This of course flies in the face of some of her campaign’s most fundamental claims: readiness, managerial experience, and so on. It is almost as if Clinton needed the bruising political warfare she was accustomed to facing from Republicans in order to focus her campaign.

Second, the Clinton campaign (or some key members of it, anyway) knew very early on that it would be ultimately unsuccessful. On March 4, on the day of the Ohio and Texas primaries, senior strategist Doug Hattaway (a truly nice dude who I once had the pleasure of working with), circulated a memo warning that without Florida and Michigan, “we cannot secure enough delegates to win; we cannot overtake [Obama]; the math simply doesn’t work … it is imperative that we provide … a clear and tenable answer to the single most important question we face.”

They didn’t come up with an answer that the press bought — the idea that Michigan, a primary that didn’t have Barack Obama’s name on the ballot, and Florida, a primary that saw no campaigning from either candidate, should count at full force was just too obviously ridiculous. The fact that Clinton agreed the two states wouldn’t count until it became politically expedient for her to change her mind didn’t help the case.

But the campaign, knowing that they were unlikely to win the nomination in early March, kept fighting. In fact, they launched some of the nastiest attacks of the campaign after they understood that Barack Obama would ultimately become the Democratic nominee.

Just in case you needed a reminder that this business ain’t beanbag and the right doesn’t have a monopoly on the ugly side of politics.

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