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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Clinton's Attack Dogs

By Christopher Wilde

"That's not to say the strategy doesn't work for Hillary it does.  Given human nature it's most likely that Obama has come this far in the press largely due to a backlash against Hillary's jackbooted style of leadership." -Christopher Wilde


Joe Andrew a former leader of the democratic party has switched from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.  Previously he'd been an ardent supporter of Hillary's but since switching allegiance fears the Clinton "Attack Dogs."   We saw those attack dogs when Bill Richardson endorsed Obama, and we saw them the entire time Bill Clinton ran for and obtained the office of President.


Joe Andrew, an influential Indiana politician and superdelegate appointed as chair of the Democratic National Committee by Bill Clinton in 1999, has switched his support from Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to Barack Obama, D-Ill. (Getty Images/AP Photo)

In my mind the most visible and dog like of these is James Carville, but you can add Bill Clinton, and Dee Dee Myers to the mix.  They are all out front, playing the political game on T.V. and easier to discount.  However we need to look at the packs of dogs that Hillary surrounds herself with on a day to day basis.

When I hear reporters interviewed who cover Hillary's camp what I hear is that her people all share an attack dog quality.  That they are punitive to reporters who don't write favorable stories about Hillary.  I've read this, and heard it from reporters interviewed on radio.

"Reporters who have covered the hyper-vigilant campaign say that no detail or editorial spin is too minor to draw a rebuke. Even seasoned political journalists describe reporting on Hillary as a torturous experience."

"Reporters' jabs and errors are long remembered, and no hour is too odd for an angry phone call. Clinton aides are especially swift to bypass reporters and complain to top editors. "They're frightening!" says one reporter who has covered Clinton. "They don't see [reporting] as a healthy part of the process. They view this as a ruthless kill-or-be-killed game."

-The New Republic, Bunker Hillary by Michael Crowley Clinton's strategy for crushing the media. Post Date Monday, November 12, 2007

That's not to say the strategy doesn't work for Hillary it does.  Given human nature it's most likely that Obama has come this far in the press largely due to a backlash against Hillary's jackbooted style of leadership.

Her style is not surprising it's exactly what we got through out Bill Clinton's administration.  Pushing around reporters, attacking your opponents support are exactly the kind of things Obama's campaign has continued to stand against.  It's one of the reasons so many of us want to see him succeed.

All working class American's know what it is to work in a hostile environment.  An environment where the stated goals and missions of the company are constantly subverted for the gains of executives, middle level managers, and colleagues who are never able to put the interest of the company (and the good of all those who endure there) over their own need for self-promotion and personal gain.  We have all, at some time or another, endured the corporate culture of an Enron.  Even in companies of a few hundred people you can find Enron like environments.

One of the best ways to evaluate the quality of a leader is to examine the culture of those they choose to place immediately under them.  The quality that Hillary promotes, supports, and encourages in her people is the attack dog 'brown shirt' mentality.  It's all fine and dandy to say, "that's just politics, that's how it's done."  But that doesn't really stand up when just across the way Obama shows us again and again that is not how it has to be done. 

The fundamental problem of attack dog strategy is not that you can't win with it, handfuls of individuals win with it all the time.  The problem is that it's never just confined to the campaign.  It's never confined to one tiny part of a process.  The dogs don't go away and they need to be fed.

I know whenever I've had to work in that kind of an environment sooner or later I become so disgusted I have to break with the company and go another way.  This is likely why people who have previously supported the Clintons are breaking with them and running the other way, they choke on the Clinton leash and decided to take a stand for principle.

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