Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UPDATE: Latino discontent with Hillary - Will you still love me tomorrow, part 2

It is true as some have noted that not everyone knows that Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary Clinton's former and recently fired campaign manager, is Latina. Obviously the general public doesn't know, but the superdelegates and insiders do. I've written before about Obama's Latino and APIA outreach problem, now let's look at a potentially widening Latino problem for Hillary, in light of Patti Solis Doyle.

Hillary definitely made a point of it during her rallies in states with high Latino populations, and she used Patti Solis Doyle to outreach to the community. So now that she has arguably been scrapegoated as the reason for Hillary's flailing campaign, some Latino party activists are pissed.

Yes, some of them are visible Obama backers, but others are more neutral. They're pissed in the way that well, Patti is a woman and a minority, and while the "white boys" like much-despised Mark Penn have infested Hillaryland, and have had much more control over general strategy, they haven't been publicly axed. Trust me, many insiders who have worked their way up and bypassed glass ceilings are fuming at this - not just because she was fired, but because no one else's heads rolled.

Reasons for someone like Mark Penn to go, per Michelle Cottle at the New republic:
In any given situation, the first member of this inner circle to be targeted for abuse is Penn. The reasons are legion: his high profile; his right-of-center politics; his myopic focus on issues; his dismissal of the need for Hillary to get personal and address her likability problem; his unusual dual role as top strategist and pollster; and, of course, his famously rough manner. It's little wonder that all those insiders who didn't care for Penn when the team was riding high were salivating at the idea of prying the campaign from his cold dead hands as things turned south in Iowa. But, despite political watchers crediting Hillary's comeback to her at last getting personal (a move Penn had fought against in favor of more Iron Lady messaging), New Hampshire bought Penn a reprieve.
Reasons for firing her as cited in the Atlantic:
She was infamous among her colleagues for referring to herself as “the queen bee” and for her habit of watching daytime soap operas in her office. One frequent complaint among donors and outside advisers was that Solis Doyle often did not return calls or demonstrate the attention required in her position. [Emphasis mine - this is a HUGE no no in fundraising - you have to be extra nice and handhold the donors.]

Concerns about Solis Doyle have preoccupied many in the campaign for several years. Clinton insiders say that her campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, launched an unsuccessful bid to remove Solis Doyle while on vacation with the Clintons two years ago. Two top campaign officials told me that Maggie Williams, Hillary’s former chief of staff (and, as of Sunday, her campaign manager), also sought and failed to have Solis Doyle removed two years ago. Last year, some of Bill Clinton’s former advisers, known as the “White Boys,” lobbied to oust her, too.

But because of Solis Doyle’s proximity to Hillary Clinton, because she demonstrated the loyalty and discretion Clinton so prized, and because no one appeared capable of challenging Clinton’s presumed status as the Democratic nominee-in-waiting, nothing was done. “What Patti has that is real power is the unquestioned trust and confidence of the candidate,” Paul Begala, a veteran of Bill Clinton’s campaigns, explained in an on-the-record interview last year. “That makes her bulletproof.”

Moreover, if your nominal campaign manager is lying about fundraising figures, that is not the sign of a well run campaign, which makes Obama's point that he gets a good "return on investment" in his campaign noteworthy, and yes it's the largest thing he's run yet, but he's doing a fine job:
Toward the end of the Senate campaign, Solis Doyle did her best to bolster the impression of the inevitability of Hillary’s nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate, spreading word that Clinton’s Senate reelection fund-raising had gone so exceptionally well that $40 million to $50 million would be left after Election Day to transfer to the incipient presidential campaign. But this turned out to be a wild exaggeration—and Solis Doyle must have known it was. Disclosure filings revealed a paltry $10 million in cash on hand; far from conveying Hillary’s inevitability, this had precisely the opposite effect, encouraging, rather than frightening off, potential challengers.

Rather than punish Solis Doyle or raise questions about her fitness to lead, Clinton chose her to manage the presidential campaign for reasons that should now be obvious: above all, Clinton prizes loyalty and discipline, and Solis Doyle demonstrated both traits, if little else. This suggests to me that for all the emphasis Clinton has placed on executive leadership in this campaign, her own approach is a lot closer to the current president’s than her supporters might like to admit.

Here's some of the fast and furious emails flying around:

The e-mail noted that Clinton, who is looking to Latino voters for a boost in the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4, scored heavily with Hispanics in her California win.

"Apparently, loyalty is not a two-way street," he wrote. "Latino superdelegates like myself . . . will have cause to pause."

Ybarra told The Post yesterday that the loss of Solis Doyle, a child of Mexican immigrants, just weeks before the Texas primary, where 36 percent of the population is Hispanic, was "dumb as a stump."

Contacted for comment, the typically press-shy Solis Doyle told The Post that Ybarra was writing on "false information," and confirmed she's staying on as an adviser.

Here's another from Moses Mercado's emails to Ben Smith:
"I feel strongly that there was no need to publicly humiliate her," he emailed. "Everyone that has ever worked on campaign knows they could have layered her and reassigned her without the public humiliation. I , as a Hispanic was very proud that one of us had finally made it to running a National Presidential Campaign. (also Luis Navarro with Biden) so personally, I do support Obama, but also personally as a Hispanic I feel strongly about this. Are they saying, the losing Iowa was not the responsibility of the state Director, getting out raised in Jan. was also her fault?"
Let's not forget what it was - it was a public guillotine, a sacrifice to appease the angry donors and superdelegates who wanted to see some penitence for Clinton's poorly run campaign. For her arrogant assumption of the incumbent role and title and her willingness to run roughshod over opponents. Hillary might have been the standard bearer in the early stages, but let's not forget the simmering resentment that some insiders have felt during the Clinton years where let's be real - they had power but not much, and while they had the number to call people in power, they didn't always get a return call.

If this were happening within the APIA community, to one of our own, our leaders would feel it the same way - as a personal slight, especially if they were friends with the staffer. And I wouldn't be surprised if the leaders of the different Latino organizations weren't right now asking themselves this question:
If Hillary is willing to throw over a longtime friend and loyal staffer, to crush her personal relationship for political gain, how can we trust her to stand up for our community on difficult issues? How can we trust her to pass meaningful and progressive immigration reform?
And the sad answer is probably that you can't. I want to see a President Obama or a President Clinton (anyone but a President McCain,) but this is something we should be aware of. Believe me, it's a question I've been getting from people as apolitical as the Niles River is long, to immigration activists and political organizers. The overarching theme is that of trust, and Hillary doesn't have it.

To wit, even internal polls show the same thing (from the fine Atlantic article):

As Michael Tomasky revealed in his fine memoir about the campaign, Hillary’s Turn, Jewson conducted a series of focus groups to see why Hillary wasn’t selling and learned that women saw her as “savvy, pushy, cold … back-stabbing … self-centered.” One woman compared Hillary to her mother-in-law.

This is where, how, why, and when Obama should be hitting on Hillary. Hardly anybody likes their mother-in-law - and god forbid you're a political candidate who gets THAT comparison. Mother is good. Mother in law is bad. It's like being called a harpy, but possibly worse, depending on personal experience and mileage.

Given that Hillary keeps wooing and then discounting different states and groups of voters, befriending and then backstabbing people, it's hard to see how these are qualities we would want in a president. And most people already think that she is a fickle Tracy Flick type. Somehow this doesn't help much when she says whole groups of people whose votes she'd previously pandered for now don't count (from americablog):

Hillary Clinton on Monday explained away Barack Obama's clean sweep of the weekend's caucuses and primaries as a product of a caucus system that favors "activists" and, in the case of the Louisiana primary, an energized African-American community.

She told reporters who had gathered to watch her tour a General Motors plant here that "everybody knew, you all knew, what the likely outcome of these recent contests were."...

Noting that "my husband never did well in caucus states either," Clinton argued that caucuses are "primarily dominated by activists" and that "they don't represent the electorate, we know that."

I try, try, try so hard to not be biased against her or her campaign, but they make it really easy to dislike her sometimes. And if Hillary is the general election nominee (a scenario that becomes increasingly distant as primary after primary rolls around), these will be charges that stick, and progressively harder to refute. Moreover, I don;t see how she's not concerned with getting labeled as a flip flopper, if not on immigration, then on this. Or as an opportunist. *sigh*

Read Part 1 of Will you still love me tomorrow: Are the Clintons trustworthy?

UPDATED: Here's some home state outrage - not good when constituent politicians are hopping on the bandwagon - from the NY Daily News:

Sen. Ruben Diaz, of the Bronx, and Assemblyman Jose Peralta, of Queens, just released an "open letter" to Hillary Clinton, expressing dismay over the resignation of her Latina campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, and suggesting that if Doyle was pushed out there will be consequences - namely that Clinton could lose support in her key base of Hispanic voters.

"Although we are inclined to believe that Patti Solis Doyle did resign, we would like you to realize that it will be very troubling to many if somehow we later find that she left her post under pressure because of the recent primary losses your campaign suffered," Peralta and Diaz wrote.

If so, we will have many questions about why a Hispanic woman who has helped to build Latino support for you throughout the nation would have been the one to take the blame and resign from her post instead of others involved with your campaign, including former President Clinton, who have caused serious problems and embarrassing situations for your campaign.

For now, we remain distressed that Patti Solis Doyle, a great Hispanic American woman is no longer serving in her leadership post in your 2008 presidential campaign."

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  • At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow excellent post. Thank you.


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