So Mark Penn is out and Howard Wolfson is in. If this had been a plot line on The West Wing we'd have dismissed it as old-school. Losing candidates have fired strategists when the going gets tough for eons. Can anyone say John Sears? Joe Trippi?
But what makes this story so much more is the special role Mark Penn had in the Clintons' lives. This poor family, which had been taken to the altar of blind belief in their consultants by a loudmouth and foot fetishist, were sure they'd gotten it right this time.
As I've previously written, I think Mark Penn is right about a lot of things. I've even been to his house (for a book party, he didn't even know I was there--nice place, though) But as architect of the "experience and strength" strategy, Penn has a lot to answer for. Me, I would have surrounded Hillary with children and talked more about being a woman and a mother. And I would have made damn sure to win Iowa. Penn no doubt thought this tactic wouldn't work with white men, but as we're learning this year, white men aren't always predictable.
It looked at first as if the Penn wasn't going to get in big trouble by meeting with Columbian officials to support trade agreements he's advised candidate Clinton to oppose, but after what I'm sure has been a weekend of back-biting, hot tempers and crisis, Penn was thrown under a train and the man in charge of Clinton's message is the one whose calm demeanor and soft-spoken reserve have been on display in these conference calls.
Watch for a bold, out-of-the-box move from Hillary any day now. Again, to return to the administration of most people's favorite Democrat, Jed Bartlet, in this episode Toby and Josh fight and Josh wins...say, that Wolfson guy does look like Bradley Whitford...but then Leo steps in and works it all out...no such luck here.