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Monday, April 7, 2008

Poison Penn

Washington Post: Clinton's Chief Strategist Steps Down

When he signed up with Hillary Clinton as chief strategist, some Democrats were concerned about his relatively hawkish views on foreign policy -- he is staunchly pro-Israel and centrist -- and his tendency to keep an eye toward the general election rather than on the primaries.

Penn, a sometimes rumpled and often argumentative figure, struggled from the start with the awkward management structure of the Clinton campaign. Tensions escalated with each of her defeats: Some complained that he was too data-driven and obstinate, and he was blamed for the failure to "humanize" the candidate in the early days of the race.

"Moneyball" only works if you study the right metrics and the game remains static.

For a Moneyball campaigner like Penn, humanity is only a metric and his combative style blew out the good work Candidate Clinton did to humanize herself in debates with Obama.

The Post comment that he kept running toward the general election proves what I've believed; that Clinton has been running to the right instead of running to win the Democratic base. Penn is THE reason the party is split.

I worked in a ratings driven business for years and I learned a lot about reading surveys - the polling data of the commercial market. I also remember being pounded by consultants with numbers that "proved" things I knew were at best unprovable and at worst, dead wrong. In general terms, these statistics are impossible to argue with. So the executives smile and nod and you got automated radio stations programmed by people a thousand miles from your home.

Oh, the Humanity? I don't see any relevant numbers on that.

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