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Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh

Posted May 2, 2009 | 06:20 PM (EST)

Hillary Learns a Lesson


by Taylor Marsh

I wonder how many people are depressed that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are not only getting along, but the boss is showing his game while his Secretary of State is doing a little of that on her own. It wasn't supposed to be this way according to the black cloud crowd. I still get emails, and a smattering of sore winner comments, that Secretary Clinton will be the undoing of President Obama. Hoping ain't gettin'. Hasn't happened yet. Though Mark Penn continues to do his utmost in this regard.

As for HRC's job at State, after a disastrously run campaign, much of it compliments of Mark Penn, but also Clinton's unwillingness to face the fact and fire the guy, Hillary seems to have learned from her previous primary disasters and is putting those lessons to use:

As a candidate, Mrs. Clinton was criticized for poor management of her campaign. She appears determined not to repeat her mistakes. Mrs. Clinton said she had sought fresh voices; mindful that previous secretaries of state have been criticized for cloistering themselves on the building's seventh floor, she has made a point of dropping in at its bureaus.

Meanwhile, Mark Penn continues his rehabilitation tour, delivering a preposterous argument just yesterday over Edwards, Iowa and how things, in his overblown imagination, might have been different if John had done what Elizabeth says he should have and not run. No one wants to rehash this, but Penn refuses to relinquish his delusions, so I'll bite. Considering the Clinton-Penn partnership had HRC resorting to loaning herself money after being clobbered in Iowa, two things that sent back-to-back shock waves across the political landscape, it's ridiculous to argue that the presence of Edwards caused such mismanagement. Never mind that they didn't have a single plan for post-Super Tuesday and the primaries to come. Yet Clinton remained loyal to Penn. This is not exactly what others have experienced post-primary, though the savvy aren't surprised. But anyone who's cleared the year-old primary fog and is willing to be honest senses that if Edwards hadn't been in Iowa Obama would have likely won by a larger margin, not less, though I doubt reality will ever penetrate Mark Penn's fantasyland. That's how badly Clinton's campaign was managed. That she's not repeating her mistakes at State comes as a huge relief.

But the author of the Times article excerpt above, Mark Landler, does seem shocked that there might be "jockeying" among Obama's top aides. What, egos around the leader of the free world? Shocking. Insert famous Casablanca, with small rewrite, here.

Besides, what's in it for Clinton if she's not anything but stellar at State?

Oh, and she's going to have fun while she's at it.

On a recent afternoon, at Mrs. Clinton's suggestion, the two moved their meeting outside to a picnic table on the South Lawn, next to a new swing set installed for Mr. Obama's daughters. "We just had the best time," she said.

Hillary Clinton is someone you certainly wouldn't want as an enemy. But as far as loyalty to President Obama, this is the best gig of her life and she's smart enough to know it and has no intention of hurting herself by blowing it. She's an adept judge of her surroundings, but most especially her own situation. So if anyone can sense Obama's high flying performance as president, as well as the reaction from Americans but also the entire world, it's Hillary Clinton. Obama's stature is something she has to respect, because he's proven that in this time and place there's no one else who can match it. It's Barack Obama's time and if anyone knows this it's Hillary.

There is also reality. Presidents hire, but they can also fire, which applies to everyone in his cabinet, including Secretary Clinton.

Follow Taylor's D.C. live tweet reporting on Twitter, which is also cross-posted on her blog. (Here's a sample.)