Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hillary Campaign Sacks Penn

It appears that the Clinton team has finally sacked former Dick Morris protege Mark Penn (kinda).
It appears that while Penn is no longer the chief strategist, he will continue to poll for the campaign.
Penn leaving his role as Clintons chief campaign advisor was instigated by meeting he had with the Columbian government. Ezra Klein summarizes
Looks like Mark Penn -- Hillary Clinton's chief strategist -- met with Colombia's ambassador to the US this week to advise him on how best to pass a bilateral free trade pact.. So, on the one hand, Clinton voices opposition to this Free Trade Pact while running for president amidst electorates that are against further free trade deals. On the other hand, she pays Mark Penn hundreds of thousands of dollars to act as her chief adviser, and he's meeting with official representatives of the Colombian government in order to help them craft a strategy that will lead to the passage of such an act.

Penn will say that he's doing this as CEO of Burson-Marsteller, his political PR firm (which has a nice large unionbusting division, as some of you will remember). But Mark Penn has not been exposed to Gamma Rays which split his person into two unrelated beings, one of whom works for Clinton, the other for BM. Rather, governments and clients paying Penn's firm millions of dollars aren't unaware that the CEO and guy they're meeting with has Hillary Clinton's ear. And Hillary Clinton isn't unaware that Mark Penn has a responsibility to advocate for the interests of these clients.

In 2000, George W. Bush dealt with these problems by insisting Karl Rove step down from his other companies in order to work on the campaign. Clinton has done nothing of the kind, leading to all sorts of huge conflicts of interest. It's time for Clinton to make Penn step down. Either from her campaign, or from his other jobs.

It would appear this is what happened.
I am not a fan of Penn, or the "triangulations" which he shaped. In doing his polling he always points to some supposedly significant affluent swing demographic ("soccer moms" "office park dads"), and then comes up with some corporate centrist policy designed ostensibly to appeal to that group. Between that and the his union-busting, it is amazes me that Clinton has become the candidate of the downscale, blue-collar voter.
(posted by Ewan)

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