James Carville President Clinton legendary campaign manager and advisory to Sen. Hillary Clinton did a disservice to his candidate. He –in my mind- unintentionally explained to the people of this country what they knew by heart but couldn’t put in words. The majority of Americans according to polls believe that Washington DC is dysfunctional and needs a complete overhaul. The primaries displayed vividly that the voters are unimpressed by experience as a qualification for high office. Thanks to James, now we understand why.
In a recent article published in the Post and titled “Disloyalty That Merits an Insult” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/28/AR2008032802826_2.html
Mr. Carville argues that Governor Richardson’s endorsement of Barak Obama is an act of betrayal “I compared Richardson to Judas Iscariot.” In a different part of the same article, he expressed his high regard of loyalty and disapproval of Washington ways “I believe that loyalty is a cardinal virtue. Nowhere in the world is loyalty so little revered and tittle-tattle so greatly venerated as in Washington.”
Although his point about the high regard of political loyalty in the rest of the world is debatable at best, it is here in America where we need to focus. Mr. Carville goes on to say, “For 15 years, Richardson served with no small measure of distinction as the representative of New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District. But he gained national stature -- and his career took off -- when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and later made him energy secretary.” He later added, “I believed that Richardson's appointments in Bill Clinton's administration and his longtime personal relationship with both Clintons combined with his numerous assurances to the Clintons and their supporters that he would never endorse any of Sen. Hillary Clinton's opponents, merited a strong response.”
In this Op-Ed piece, Mr. Carville simply demands that Governor Richardson pays the expected price for the high-ranking appointments he received in President Clinton’s administration as an act of loyalty; otherwise, he would be a Judas.
This vulgar expectation is undeniably a stark display of flawed political class that functions through cronyism and demand payback for favors. It is an insult to President Clinton to think that awarding such appointments come with expectations other than superior performance on the job by the appointees in the service of their country. On the part of Governor Richardson, I hope it is a pure lie that he made assurances to support Sen. Clinton regardless of her opponent’s qualifications and the nation’s interests.
Finally, for all of us the voters and taxpayers of this country I’m appalled to imagine that such deals behind close doors has the potential to shortcut our democracy and void our votes.Democrats and independents decried eight years of an administration that put loyalty above qualifications. Loyalty handed Michael Brown (FEMA) during Katrina to drown the Gulf States with his incompetence. It put Secretary Alberto Gonzalez in charge of the Justice department in the heat of the war on terror. The same loyalty threw a nation in chaos by appointing Ambassador Paul Bremer as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority after Baghdad fell and as a new chapter seemed achievable. In all cases, America paid a high price having the wrong man on the job.
I’m convinced that Mr. Carville has the experience and intelligence to comprehend that calling a seven term congressman, a United Nation ambassador, and a secretary of energy Judas would generate excellent sound bites.
I’m confident that his strategic mind and political track record allowed him to foresee what is coming “I was fully aware of what kind of response calling someone a Judas would evoke.”
It is also obvious that he planned to make the case all along, but regrettably, the article missed the mark by a wide margin. Instead of helping his candidate, he made a good argument for why the voters in this election cycle are demanding real change and rejecting candidate’s experience in Washington as an asset.
It would be naive to think that all political appointments based only on qualifications, and it is conceivable that some political deals behind closed doors should never see the daylight. However, the culture of reciprocal favors promoted in this article under the loyalty brand name is the one that merits an insult.