Democratic dischord - Clinton-style - is resurgent.
Further confirmation of disarray comes with the stories of top-level infighting and backstabbing among senior aides. Chief target: pollster Mark Penn. Newsday reports:
"There are two people who have come up with this strategy -- one Hillary Clinton and one Mark Penn," said a top Clinton ally, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Mark wanted to run her, basically, for re-election, and we are seeing what happened."
Said another Clinton camper: "The heat's on Mark. ... He's got a lot of enemies."
It's never a good sign when a campaign starts springing anonymous leaks. The revelation of a Bill vs. Hillary staff schism within the campaign is perhaps the most ominous threat to a Clinton restoration. This is one of the obstacles/struggles Al Gore encountered during the 2000 campaign. More from the Newsday article:
For months, tension has been building between the "Hillary" and "Bill" parts of the team, say several people familiar with the situation. Bill Clinton -- along with former White House hands -- have counseled her to adopt a far more aggressive approach with Obama.
Penn, sources say, has counseled moderation, believing an attack would elevate her already-high negatives and drive her too far to the left to win a general election.
If it really is Bill behind the recent aggressive attacks, I find myself in rare agreement with Penn. I think the "win at all costs" approach hurts Hillary's campaign more than Obama's. While I disliked the "coronation march" we were witnessing throughout most of 2007, I think it was the one which made the most sense, politically.
Now, with less than three weeks before the Iowa voting, the campaign is off-message and attacking recklessly, aides are playing the blame game (although anonymously thus far) and Bill is taking center stage.
None of this is good news for Hillary's nomination chances.