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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joe Scarborough: The True Character of Hillary Clinton

There is much ground covered in Game Change and much that readers can take away from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's history of the 2008 election. But as Bob Woodward suggested today on the set of Morning Joe, a reader's guide to the headline-grabbing book may also be in order.

The Washington Post news legend focused on the part of the book that personally caused me the greatest concern. While I understand the news value of Harry Reid's brainless quotes on dialect and skin tone, I was most surprised by the observation of one of Hillary Clinton's top aides that the New York senator lacked the character to be President of the United States.

A few thoughts in defense of Secretary Clinton:

A good deal of the interviews for Game Change were written in the summer of 2008. To put that time frame in perspective, that was at the end of one of the longest, most grueling primary seasons in modern history.

The Clinton campaign endured a long political death march along a blistering trail that led them from the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire to the bars and bowling alleys of Pennsylvania to the emotionally charged and historic Democratic Convention in Denver. By the end of that brutish season, even the most loyal Clinton supporter could have been excused for temporarily losing their judgment due to exhaustion. Perhaps, in a weak moment, a Clinton supporter lashed out at their boss and blamed her for their spending a year away from family and friends in lousy hotel rooms in godforsaken settings. Maybe this staffer was stunned by Hillary's failure to close the deal in Iowa or plan beyond Super Tuesday. Maybe, just maybe, this person said something to the authors that they no longer believe.

I hope that is the case. Because what I saw throughout Hillary's 2008 campaign was a candidate who kept fighting back even after being badly wounded in Iowa, negligently served by her staff, and treated miserably by a biased press corps. (continues here)

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