Bad Campaign = Bad Leader?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 10, 2008 9:06 AM


Barack Obama's
campaign seems to be attempting to advance the notion that Hillary Clinton's poorly-run campaign might say something about her competency as a leader.

This idea has been seized-upon by the chattering classes.  Just yesterday, Politico's Jim Vandehei and David Paul Kuhn noted that,

In twin columns in Tuesday’s Washington Post, left-of-center columnists Peter Beinart and E.J. Dionne Jr. condemned Clinton’s overall management of the campaign and inability to build a durable message and infrastructure. It’s a common theme in Democratic circles these days.
... Although I happen to agree that a well-run campaign says something about how a leader may govern -- and that a poorly-run campaign might also be a harbinger of things to come -- it is interesting to note that many of these same liberals (who praise Obama's campaign today) used to deride Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush for running very good campaigns. 

As you may recall, many in the MSM used to imply that the "superficial" qualities that make for a good campaigner were perhaps the exact opposite qualities you would look for in a leader.

I do find it hypocritical that Obama is now being praised for running a good campaign, while Reagan and Bush were portrayed as being merely masters of "hype" and "showmanship."  There campaigns were often portrayed as merely a method to manipulate the public.  Clearly, there is a double-standard.

As I've written before, if we truly want to elect our next president based on the campaign they've run, John McCain should easily win.  Here's why:

Hillary would disqualified because her campaign has largely consisted of a series of missteps (though I do give her credit for never giving up).  Obama's campaign has been well-run, but for this same reason, he hasn't demonstrated an ability to make come-back. 

John McCain is the only candidate who has demonstrated the ability to correct mistakes, and turn-around bad situations that once seemed hopeless.  This seems like good training for the presidency.  In the real world, where things will always go wrong, the ability to identify a problem, and then fix it, is one of the most valuable attributes a leader could possess.