Thank You, the Management
Politico runs a tough piece today on the management problems that have plagued the Clinton campaign in recent months, and the danger that these episodes might undercut Hillary Clinton’s ability to run on a platform of managerial excellence in government. The piece reminded me of a post I wrote way back in October. At the time, I was reacting to an article in the New York Times, which noted that Senator Clinton’s long-standing reputation as an efficient manager was viewed by political observers as a significant asset to her candidacy.
My post dealt more broadly with the tradeoffs between inspirational leadership and efficient management that one often finds in our presidents. I argued that as presidential character goes, leadership will trump efficiency at the polls every time (case in point, Bill Clinton, who is legendary for both his persuasive personality and managerial laxness). My sense back then was that Hillary Clinton’s ability to make the trains run on time, while certainly helpful, would not be decisive for the nomination or general election. Clinton’s recent problems aside, I think that this is still the case. Nonetheless, if the media and/or the Obama campaign are now able to call into question Clinton’s foundational claim about managerial competence, then her already challenging task will become substantially more difficult.

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