August 17, 2015

Clinton Insiders Commence Circular Firing Squad As Campaign Flounders

The blame game has officially begun, as insiders race to diagnose what went wrong with Hillary Clinton’s flailing campaign. A single Washington Post report contained what Chuck Todd referred to on Meet The Press as “blind quote central” from prominent Democrats and Clinton insiders:

Once again, worried supporters see signs of a bunker mentality in response to bad news about her e-mail server and other controversies, and they see a candidate who can seem strangely blinkered to the threat posed by a lesser-known challenger.

“A lot of the people who were hired by the campaign were new to the Clintons,” said a prominent Democrat who counts both Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton as friends. “I kind of assumed it would be different. But it hasn’t changed.”

[I]n the words of one Democrat, no one wants their candidate’s name in the same sentence as “FBI.”

Democrats not directly involved in the Clinton campaign agreed that many of her events lack energy and emotion…Many criticized the roundtable discussions Clinton is fond of holding as stilted and artificial…

Democrats in Washington fret that the e-mail liability is something Clinton brought on herself and has managed from a defensive crouch.

“Getting out there and passionately campaigning and interacting with people in a genuine way is how you combat that,” said a Democratic strategist. “I think the absence of presence out there creates a vacuum in which these kinds of questions metastasize.”

Democrats’ doubts and dissatisfaction with Clinton were in full display on the ground in Iowa over the weekend, where Chuck Todd and CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported on widespread concerns among Iowa Democrats voters, and a Politico report quoted skeptical activists and insiders:

Many liberals are still skeptical that she’s actually one of them. Others say she needs to do more rallies or open up invite-only, small-group events to wider audiences who yearn to know Hillary, the person. And there’s real interest among Democrats about a possible late entry into the race: Vice President Joe Biden.

Case in point: Jackie Crawford, whose brother Jerry is a major Iowan fixer for the Clintons…said there’s no doubt Clinton could do more to win.

“I think it’d be good to get her out more in larger groups … more question-and-answer,” she said, adding that she’ll back Clinton — “unless Joe should run.”

Some Clinton insiders were less subtle about their concerns. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a longtime surrogate and supporter, decried Clinton’s lack of “authenticity” on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today, criticizing her campaign strategy as a losing one.