Hillary Clinton Should Stop Paying Money To Mark Penn

05/11/2010 06:12 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Last week, we laughed and laughed at Mark Penn's latest idiotic editorial, in which he imagined how "Cleggmania" would soon be sweeping across America, assuming the American political system could change into an entirely different thing by the time his column went to press.

Then, we laughed and laughed some more as "Cleggmania" failed to even sweep across England as Clegg's Liberal Democrats lost seats in the U.K. election. But you know who's not laughing at this? Hillary Clinton, because she still owes Penn thousands of dollars from the 2008 campaign. Clinton should just tell Penn he's not getting his money, owing to the fact he is awful.

Alex Pareene, who I gather received a Clinton campaign bleg in his email today, notes the sad, salient facts:

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has been deeply in debt since its untimely end in 2008. A year ago, the Clinton campaign owed $2.3 million. As of the end of March, it still owed $771,000.

Last year, when the debt was $2.3 million? Every penny of that was owed to Mark Penn's firm. (And that was down from the $5.4 million she owed Penn at the end of 2008.) FEC filings confirm that her entire remaining debt is still owed to Penn, Schoen & Berland for "Consulting Polling/Mail Expenses."

DO NOT PAY MARK PENN THIS MONEY! Criminy! As Pareene points out, Penn was a useless, limp appendage to the campaign, constantly making terrible strategic decisions and roiling the tempers of the other members of the Clinton team. During the primary season, his duties at Burson-Marsteller required him to lobby on behalf of the Colombian-American Free Trade Agreement, putting him at cross-purposes with Clinton because she didn't support the agreement.

For God's sake, this is the guy who famously did not know what a "Democratic primary" was, and his entire job was to shepherd the Clinton campaign through the Democratic primary. (Once the nomination was secured, Penn planned to defeat McCain using "Cleggmania.")

Possibly the most Mark Penn-like company in the world is Comcast, and when they fail to do the one thing I ask them to do -- put cable television in my home -- you know what I tell them? "I AM NOT PAYING YOU ANY MONEY." And I don't! And then they fix it.

Hillary Clinton subprime-mortgaged her electoral career to a complete charlatan. It's time for her to consider a strategic default. It's the only way Mark Penn will ever learn!

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