The Penn Factor

Anne Kornblut offers up a profile of Mark Penn for The Washington Post that everyone ought to read. To make a long story short, though, if you think the problem with the Democratic Party is that it's insufficiently inclined to support wars, you'll like Mark Penn. If you think the Party is insufficiently friendly to the interests of major corporations and wealthy individuals, you'll like Mark Penn. If you think Menachim Begin was a great man and that the world needs more Dick Morris acolytes, you'll like Mark Penn. And if you like Mark Penn, you'll love Hillary Clinton since he "controls the main elements of her campaign . . . has consolidated his power, according to advisers close to the campaign, taking increasing control of the operation . . . has become involved in virtually every move Clinton makes, with the result that the campaign reflects the chief strategist as much as the candidate."

The one thing I'd really have to quibble with is the notion that Penn has "undisputed brilliance." I would dispute the idea that he's brilliant and I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. He's a clever businessman who's made a good deal of money for himself, but so have lots of other consultants. The view that the correct general election strategy on every issue is for the Democratic candidate to move to the right doesn't seem like really innovative thinking to me.