The Cossacks Work for the Czar

Sam Stein reports on Paul Begala's view of the Clinton campaign:

Begala, who has served as a CNN analyst during this election cycle, spent much of the event touting Sen. Hillary Clinton as a capable and experienced candidate who shouldn't be sullied by her chief strategist's mistakes. Asked how the New York Democrat could end up in her current predicament -- even Begala said it looked, at this moment, like Sen. Barack Obama would win the nomination -- he put the onus on Penn's ill-conceived game plan.

This doesn't really add up. Knowing who to hire, who to listen to, who to ditch, and when is a very important part of the job of a candidate, a president, or, indeed, any kind of executive of manager. Clinton can no more be unsullied by Mark Penn than George W. Bush can be unsullied by Donald Rumsfeld or Doug Feith. Nobody's going to run a large organization without making some personnel errors, but Clinton's association with Penn is longstanding, broad, and deep. It's hardly the entirety of her political persona, but it's a inescapably large element of it.