A Chief of Staff for an Unchosen VP
By Al Giordano
The Internets are abuzz with one of the new staff hires announced by the Obama campaign today: Patti Solis Doyle, the former Clinton campaign manager forced out and scapegoated for the failings of Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson, Mandy Grunwald, Terry McAuliffe & company is now with the title of "Chief of Staff to the Vice Presidential Nominee."
Gee, if my archives * were only quickly available online and not treated like some gusano kidnappers treated young Elian Gonzales during his visit to Miami back in the year 2000, I could show you my original take on the scapegoating of Solis Doyle. (Shhhhhhh: That soft rustle you hear in the bushes is the fully-operational S.W.A.T. team going in after everything that is owed, and with interest. We'll wait until the children are sleeping...)
Frankly - and it may surprise some to hear me say this - I think Solis Doyle is one of the few former top staffers for Senator Clinton that I would hire. She was put in an impossible position by that campaign, given the title of "campaign manager" yet none of the authority that comes with it. She (and Harold Ickes) begged Senator Clinton to fire top strategist Mark Penn, to no avail.
But more interesting is that the Obama camp has appointed a chief of staff for a VP nominee that hasn't been chosen. It sends a message to all the aspiring vice presidents out there that, to get the nod, he or she has to check all hubris at the door: the top cat will pick your staff, too.
It's a particularly interesting message to Senator Clinton, who pushed Solis Doyle out when the going got tough, and allowed the hyenas left in place to soil Solis Doyle's reputation via the press.
If the Obama camp believes in rehabilitation, though, she's a good candidate for it, because she's learned the hard way what not to do in a campaign (and no more accepting post-election invitations to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with top campaign bundlers, okay, M'am?)
Some are debating whether this is a good or bad omen for those that want an Obama-Clinton ticket. I tend to agree with Sam Stein's take over on Huffington Post:
One thing the move does suggest, insiders believe, is that Hillary Clinton's chances of being tapped for the vice presidency are now slim to nil. "This alone means that Hillary won't be the V.P. choice," wrote one. According to two close Clinton confidantes, the Senator and Solis Doyle have not spoken since her firing months ago. And there is a sense that bad blood lingers between the two. Some officials in Clinton's orbit were disappointed, if not angered, by the fact that Solis Doyle had been in touch with the Obama campaign about possibly coming on board. Solis Doyle, meanwhile, is rumored to have felt particularly scapegoated by her firing.
Said one individual with knowledge of the Clinton campaign's political leanings: "It would be pretty awkward if Hillary Clinton were picked as vice president and Patti was there to be her chief of staff."
Not that Senator Clinton couldn't make up with her staffer-done-wrong, but to do so she'd have to dump Penn and company and keep them far from the organization. I like the way this is going.
More likely than the theory that Solis Doyle would be there to open the way for a Clinton vice presidential nomination is that running the VP office now grooms her to run another national campaign in 2016, for Obama's successor.
And, oh my, wouldn't Solis Doyle and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius make for an interesting team?
Update on that asterix: * We do have all the archives of the Ex-Field on file. Getting them up and online (and fixing all the cross-links so they link to each other) is one of the jobs that has to wait in line behind others right now. Thanks to everybody who emailed with offers to cache them on Google, but that won't be necessary.