THE BLOG
04/07/2008 08:05 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Which Democrat Has the Administrative Experience to Be An Effective President? Compare How Well They've Managed Their Campaigns

None of the presidential candidates has experience managing a large executive branch agency or serving as governor. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain have all served as legislators, but never in executive office.

The largest organization any of them have led is their respective campaigns. So if you want to learn something about how well they will manage the people in their administrations, you can learn a lot by seeing how well they have managed the people in their campaign organizations.

In this department, the race is not even close. Barack Obama has proved himself a much more capable executive and leader than Hillary Clinton -- despite her claim of superior "experience."

The weekend saw yet another eruption of organizational dysfunction in the House of Hillary. Mark Penn's demotion from the post of chief strategist capped months of organizational in-fighting that has apparently turned the Clinton campaign into a latter-day Beirut-on-the-Potomac.

Of course you have to question Hillary Clinton's judgment for entrusting Penn with the position of her chief strategist while she allowed him to continue as chairman of one of the world's largest special interest PR and lobbying firms (Burston-Marsteller). And the arrogance of Penn's attempt to manage the effort to enact the Colombia Free Trade Agreement at the same time he oversaw the campaign of a presidential candidate that opposed the agreement is breathtaking.

But Penn's demotion is apparently just a symptom of a broader organizational disease. The Clinton campaign has been marked by discord and disorganization. Campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and deputy campaign manager Mike Henry have been forced out. The campaign had no "Plan B" when it failed to score a knock-out punch on Super Tuesday. The poor planning has led to money shortages, big payments to consultants and the failure to effectively compete in many of the smaller states where Obama has run up his insurmountable lead in pledged delegates.

Penn's mismanagement and brusque management style have infuriated other key campaign staffers and led to sinking morale.

But in the end, the buck stopped with the campaign's leader, Hillary Clinton, who showed that she either had no desire or lacked the ability to put together a well-managed, effective campaign organization.

Contrast the Clinton campaign's organizational debacle to the focused, mission-driven, high-morale Obama operation.

Campaign manager David Plouffe, chief strategist David Axelrod, and deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand have been effective managers, and cool under fire. They've assembled a team of dedicated professionals like Iowa state director Paul Tewes who executed at every level with precision, and who didn't leave even a pebble unturned in pursuing victory. The Iowa operation, for example, was the best field operation in modern presidential politics.

They understood how to combine Barack's inspiration with flawless, no-nonsense execution. They planned for the long game, learned from their mistakes and maintained a team spirit that had no room for internal recriminations or backstabbing. Obama's campaign is loaded with innovative talent of the sort that created the most effective grassroots-based, internet fundraising system in American political history.

Even in its darkest moments the Obama organization has never resorted to the kind of desperate "kitchen sink" negativism that has now backfired on the Clinton campaign.

Now I ask you: which candidate has shown the ability and experience to lead and manage a large organization like a presidential administration?

Barack Obama has won the most states, the popular vote and the most pledged delegates. He's also won the contest of who is the better leader and manager.

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on amazon.com.