The Washington Post, in its role as the industry paper of a company town where the product is national politics, takes five pages to highlight four people who swear they won’t be working for Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 campaign. And even those of you whose immediate reaction to She Who Must Not Be Named runs along the lines of AGGGHHHildebeastkillkillKILL will probably agree that getting these operatives well away from any future Democratic campaign is an accomplishment to be applauded:
Howard Wolfson, the 2008 communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton, has said he will not return for a 2016 presidential campaign. Neither, for that matter, will Neera Tanden, the campaign’s policy director. Ditto for Mark Penn, the chief strategist, and Patti Solis Doyle, the embattled campaign manager.
As core members of a dysfunctional “Team of Rivals,” these top advisers were seared, scattered and, to different degrees, forged by the 2008 experience. Haunted by the failures in management and messaging, they have worked hard to get over their shattered White House dreams and rejection by a Democratic base enamored with Barack Obama. They express their requisite hope that Clinton will run and win, but also their lack of interest in jumping back in…
Clinton, who declined to be interviewed, moved on more quickly than many of her senior staff by going to work for Obama as secretary of state… Now, as Clinton repositions on issues such as gay marriage, reconnects with donors and crowds out potential rivals, the nearly two dozen veterans interviewed for this article debated who among them could or would come back….
After Clinton’s concession in June 2008, Wolfson joined Fox News as a contributor. Bloomberg, the self-made billionaire who by then had shed party affiliation altogether to become an independent, was seeking a controversial third term as mayor. In potentially luring Wolfson, Bloomberg’s associates saw an opportunity to both sign a talent and prevent a proven foe from working for mayoral rivals….
Now, as Bloomberg’s powerful deputy mayor for government affairs and communications, Wolfson has embraced Bloomberg’s disdain of party politics and pushed the kind of transactional politics that puts results over ideology. Wolfson has taken to saying of Bloomberg that “he is the only major political figure in America operating outside the two-party system, and as a result, he sometimes makes decisions that partisans don’t understand.”
Wolfson also runs Bloomberg’s well-funded Independence USA PAC and is expected to continue to do so after the mayor leaves office. The mayor has said he would use his PAC, and by extension, Wolfson, to reward any politician who bucks his party on issues dear to Bloomberg. That means that the man once responsible for championing Democrats in Congress will be spending Bloomberg’s money to reelect Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who opposes gay rights and has advocated prosecuting abortion providers, but has stuck his neck out to support background checks on guns…
In her office at the Center for American Progress, where she is president, Tanden displays two framed photos behind her desk. One, of Clinton with her arm slung around Tanden, reads: “From the White House to the Senate and beyond . . . Thanks for all you do for me. I couldn’t have done it without you. Hillary.” The other shows Clinton’s former policy director laughing alongside Obama.
“On health care, on economic issues, she was the progressive voice in the presidential campaign,” said Tanden. She added, quietly, “We became the status quo campaign.” Read more