Recent reporting by The Atlantic magazine’s Joshua Green resurrected the long, narrow defeat of the Hillary Clinton campaign in the Democratic primary by publishing a series of internal e-mails by her staffers. The squabbling, spelling errors and massive egos on display in the memos have inspired me. I’m going to become a highly paid presidential campaign consultant.
The e-mails in Green’s piece reveal a campaign that sorely mismanaged its finances and misjudged the importance of having a good organization on the ground in caucus states to make sure voters attended the events. There were a few of Clinton’s advisers, namely Harold Ickes, whose e-mails appear prescient, smart and accurate – that is, with the 20/20 hindsight we’re all enjoying now. But, apparently, his most important e-mails went ignored.
But what inspires me to become a campaign consultant are the e-mails from pollster and chief strategist Mark Penn. This Machiavellian genius devised a wildly risky strategy for a presidential candidate, but one he believed would pay off. He recommended Clinton project an image of “leadership” and “strength.” He also advised her to emphasize that she has “American values” and a “sense of patriotism, Americana.”
“Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out,” Penn wrote in one e-mail. “Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.”
In April, Penn stepped down from his position with Clinton after his consulting work for a foreign government raised questions as to whether he had a conflict of interest working for her campaign. According to billing statements, he was paid about $13 million by the Clinton campaign.
Think about that. $13 million to tell a presidential candidate that they need to project “leadership,” “strength” and throw up a couple of American flags as a backdrop at campaign events. Hell, I can do that!
So here’s my offer: To all you presidential candidates out there with your eye on a 2012 run, you can hire me as a campaign consultant. I’ll take a careful look at who you are and then tailor a custom campaign strategy based on your biography and philosophy. At this early stage, I have a feeling the best thing for you to do would be to convince voters you possess the unique qualities of leadership, strength and that you are an American. And I’ll send you a receipt from the flag store for the background flags you can use at campaign events. That way, no one will question your patriotism.
And the best part is, I will provide these services for a mere $500,000! You read that right – a tiny fraction of what most big name, beltway campaign consultants demand. So drop me a line here at the Beacon, and by January of 2013, you can be sitting in the oval office with me at your right hand.
If you act now, for an additional $200 and a gym membership, I’ll throw in some advice on international monetary policy.
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