Thursday, May 08, 2008

Penn's Idiocy

Mark Penn has gotten lots of heat for his mistakes in this campaign, but this has to be the worst:

Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified — and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories. Even now, it can seem as if they don't get it. Both Bill and Hillary have noted plaintively that if Democrats had the same winner-take-all rules as Republicans, she'd be the nominee.

Ouch. The last time Democrats used winner-take-all allocations was 1972. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Penn argue that Obama can't win the nomination because he still doesn't have the needed two-thirds of the delegates.

1 comment:

Tom Round said...

Or advising Hillary, "Look, just accept the Vice-Presidential nomination for now, because if we can just persuade a handful of the Democratic Electors to plump for you and give their other vote to Jimmy Carter, you'll have 53% of the Electoral College to Obama's 52%, so you'll get President and he'll be relegated to Vice-President..."