Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Clark's first leadership test

Josh comments on the matter of Fowler's resignation from the Clark campaign.

First of all, it sounds like it was a resignation after an unwanted demotion, which is about as close to a firing as you can get without actually getting a pink slip. Second, it might be simplistic to pin this on a simple "internet-savvy-outsiders" vs. "Washington-based-control-freaks" fight. I tend to agree. What we on the outside see is only a glimmer of what is going on on the inside. And it is important to remember that what we hear is based on the words of people who may have a desire to spin the problems in order to make themselves look better (Fowler could just be a f*ckup and deserved to be demoted).

But, there is a deeper problem here. Regardless of what the dispute is about, it is clear that there are problems in the Clark campaign and that those problems will eventually impact negatively on the candidate. If team members can't work with each other to get their guy elected then they will sabotage his chances from within.

Josh expresses surprise that Clark is doing as well as he is despite these problems. I'm not surprised at all because most of this stuff is inside politics crap which only political junkies pay attention to. The general public just sees a dynamic General running as a Democrat and that gets their attention. These kind of inside fights won't really impact Clark's candidacy until it comes time to address more visible issues. For example, the previous item about Clark's paid speeches: how will the campaign address the allegations of impropriety? A divided campaign operation could spend to much time fighting amongst themselves about how to deal with the problem. The result will be a mixed message that will only exacerbate the problem.

I agree with Josh's prescription: Clark has to assert himself over his whole campaign. He has to stop this kind of wrangling before it grows out of control.

Call it his first test of leadership.


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