Monday, September 16, 2013

Q Day 6: Predicting Good Presidenting Skills?

Yet another anonymous commenter asks:
Does Hillary Clinton display any skills at 'Presidenting' that set her apart from Biden, Cuomo, Warren, and company? How much of this can we determine from past achievements? 
If I had an answer for that question...

Here's, I guess, what I would say:

1. Experience is better than lack of experience. Broader experience is better than narrow: Clinton's particular strength is that she's been involved in state government, she's been, if not quite White House staff, pretty close to it; she's been in Congress (don't forget that she's been House committee staff as well as of course being a Senator); and she has executive branch experience, and pretty much top-of-the-line at that as Secretary of State.

2. Workhorse is better than showhorse; evidence that the candidate can master her brief is a plus, as is evidence of a good grasp of multiple issue areas, and evidence of coalition-building and working well with others within the political system.

3. Pragmatism is better than ideological crusading. Also, look for evidence in governing record, not rhetoric; Reagan was a more pragmatic governor, and president, than his rhetoric would have suggested.

4.  You do want someone with healthy political ambition; you don't want someone too prone to hubris. No, I don't really know how to judge that.

5. And, yeah, you probably want to avoid a Nixon-style hater. If you can figure it out, and separate it from health ambition and from partisanship. Good luck with that.

Anything else?


  1. How about the quality of people you hire? I'm concerned about some of the people that she or she and Bill together relied upon: Dick Morris and Mark Penn, and the management chaos in her '08 campaign.

    The 1% truth in the whole BENGHAZI!!1! thing was mismanagement of security in the leadup to the tragedy. Not Hillary's fault, but maybe of the people she appointed.

    Any way to tell if she does better or worse than average high level pol in terms of who she surrounds herself with?

    1. The quality of people you hire is exactly the point I was going to make, but the examples that trouble me are her political team in 2008, her disastrous choices of Penn and McAuliffe etc. and her sticking with them. I'm not saying this as a pro or anti Hillary partisan for 2016--that's too far in the future for me--though I was an Obama partisan in 2008.

    2. Yeah, I guess it is important enough to deserve a point of its own. Good people judgement is a pretty big deal (and it was perhaps B. Clinton's biggest weakness in the WH).


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