Today when I read the New York Times articles about the riff between Clinton and Obama, all I could think was that Terry Mcauliffe’s involvenment in any campaign is a good enough reason not to be committed to that campaign.
Whether or not I work for a candidate, I want to have the opportunity to hear what all the candidates have to say. I want debate on issues and discussion about things that affect my life. I don’t want all the Primaries to be in January and February thereby allowing whoever raises the most money upfront, to be the candidate or maybe the President. That’s what happened in 2004 and we all understand what the consequences can be.
I love Hillary, but I detest the way she appears to be strong-arming and intimidating potential supporters. Even if she’s not doing it personally, perception is reality. I detest Terry Mcauliffe’s smug, threatening tactics and I love that it is beginning to backfire for the campaign. You will note that he claims what he said was done in good humor—he’s lying, as David Geffen suggested, too easily. Here’s, how the Times reports what happened and what they quote him as saying:
At a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in Hollywood two weeks ago, as Mr. McAuliffe told the story in an interview on Thursday, he joked in a crowded room that big contributors would be honored with limo rides with the new president while those who wrote checks to, say, Mr. Obama could give up their dreams of access.
“Clarence Avant’s daughter was there, he’s a friend of mine, and I looked at her and in front of 500 people I said, If you don’t contribute, you’re not going to get that ambassadorship to France,” he said, referring to the former chairman of Motown Records. “It’s a joke! I said it in front of 500 people.”
The Los Angeles Times quoted Mr. McAuliffe as saying at that event, “You are either with us or you’re against us,” a remark Mr. McAullife and other attendees said was jocular. Are they kidding? I, who have one of the great developed sense of humors, know this is not a joke. Everyone in Washington knows that if you are are big contributor you might just get to be an Ambassador. That’s how it works. There’s no humor in recounting for donors how it works. There might be humor in what is left unsaid but no one leaves anything unsaid.
When the Obama people were struggling for how to respond to the Clinton attack, all I could think of was a phone call I had with Pamela Harriman after Chris Ogden’s book about her life was published. She called for my counsel about how to respond. I thought about it for about 10 minutes and my immediate reaction was for her to say, “who cares about me and all the old, now dead guys I slept with”. I then reconsidered and decided that, amusing as it was, it would be controversial and the Ambassador to France couldn’t be controversial. So instead I said, “just have your people say, no comment.”. Don’t say anything and it will go away. And it did. And I felt a little guilty since Chris was my friend but taking care of Mrs. Harriman and so many other politically appointed Ambassadors was my job. The Obama people simply should have said, we have no comment; we will not participate in the politics of destruction. Any comment or response beyond “no comment”/ It is inappropriate and unnecessary to comment on something someone else said or thinks.
Why is it that political people think it is absolutely necessary to say anything. It isn’t. And as I said in a previous blob, the thing that concerns me about Obama is not his lack of experience in Government but his lack of experience in campaigns. The Obama people could have made the Clinton people seem ridiculous if they just hadn’t responded. But he is still too green to understand that political people get paid for what they say and not what they don’t say. And the candidate is too inexperienced to tell his staff to say nothing—because that’s what will win an election-- not the supercilious, self important blurters like Terry Mc Auliffe. We’re just sayin