Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
The New Hampshire results weren't terrible for Clark, but certainly weren't good. I thought from the beginning that it would be a success if he managed to finish 3rd, beating all the candidates who weren't essentially favorite sons. And he managed, just barely, to do that.

But not so long ago, we were poised to do much better. Tracking polls make it possible to see where things went wrong, and it's clear: Clark's slippage started on the 15th, the very day of the Drudge/Gillespie smear. The inability to answer that smear effectively, although it was easily shown to be false, is one more sign that the campaign simply isn't running well enough.

It isn't the first. The first key strategic decision the campaign made, skipping Iowa, was clearly the single worst mistake. The exit polls from NH show that the biography is the only part of Clark's message that's gotten through; voters who were looking for solutions to domestic problems went for Kerry by huge margins. Clark has an excellent set of domestic proposals, but it's clear that we Clark activists are the only ones who have noticed. The failure to adequately prepare Clark for questions on an issue as obvious as abortion, which the bloggers linked below both mention, is another sign that simple due diligence isn't being exercised.

Nick Confessore thinks that heads need to roll:

I find it interesting that while Dean has the gumption to do something decisive (if stupid) like firing Trippi, Wesley Clark seems to lack the wherewithal to something decisive (and probably smart) like firing some of the guys on his own campaign. Certain other Gore retreads working on Clark '04 are widely thought to have torpedoed John Weaver's bid to become Clark's campaign manager, which preserved their own power on the campaign but deprived it of the effective leadership it so desparately and obviously needs. (Any campaign team that sent Clark onto the Democratic primary trail without at least a well-considered view on abortion deserves summary dismissal.) It's probably too late for Clark to get weaver on board. But if he's smart, he'll hire Joe Trippi.

Confessore drops hints; Amy Sullivan names names and says that Lehane and Fabiani should be fired. I'm a little hesitant to join in. Lehane and Fabiani tend to be an obsession in certain corners of the web; they've been blamed for almost everything except 9/11. I have no inside information to say what role they've actually played in the campaign, whether one or both scuttled the plan (which would have been great) to bring Weaver aboard, or whether they are the ones at fault for the campaign's missteps. But whoever is responsible for the weak message and the weak campaign has really got to go.



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