Friday, February 08, 2008

Brad DeLong on HRC, Through the Years

by Ken Houghton

Tom's defense of Obama got me thinking about Brad DeLong and Hillary Clinton. The result is not pretty.

June 2003:
My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

June, 2007, quoting without comment or update from a Harvard Crimson article on himself and Andrei Shleifer:
[DeLong] also played a role in the unsuccessful effort at creating universal health care, laying much of the blame for the legislation’s demise at the feet of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, who had led the effort. In one of the most famous posts on his blog, DeLong wrote that, based on his experience working with Clinton, “there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president.” He adds that she “had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts” to lead the effort.

In October of 2007, a new paragraph is miraculously inserted into what was previously this piece:
It is hard to tell how much power Hillary Rodham Clinton had. Certainly she did not effectively manage the process. But I did see Ira Magaziner in action. And it seems to me that the process was impossible to manage as long as Ira Magaziner was involved, and perhaps she did not have the power to fire him.

February, 2008 (edited to be Hillary-specific; nice comments about Barack Obama go without saying):
The arguments against Hilary Rodham Clinton are:

1. Her performance running Clinton-era health care reform in 1993 and 1994 gives no confidence in her ability to run the large organization that is the U.S. government.

The by this point very convincing: [she has] demonstrated an ability to run an excellent political campaign. Running a successful presidential political campaign is not the same thing as governing a country, but [she has] demonstrated substantial administrative competence over the past two years...the Hilary Rodham Clinton who made such an administrative mess of health reform in 1993-1994 could not have run the campaign she has run over the past two years. Thus I am now confident that [she] has a reasonable shot of being in the top 20% of American presidents.

Anyone wonder why that first bullet is still prominent?

The thing is, it's not as if DeLong doesn't speak with the Patricks and Tboggs and others who know that Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a United States Senator from New York for seven years, not just one, and was both elected in 2000 (when she ran an intense campaign, learned the issues that affect people in New York state, and planned accordingly) and then re-elected by a wider margin after serving her constituents's needs from 2001-2006.

Apparently, until this week, though, he forgot that it's not 1994 any more.

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Part of the reason I'd support HRC happily should she be the nominee is that my upstate NY relations are all happy with her (and not all screamingly liberal).

Brad did have an insider's view, and were he still strongly opposed, I'd at least take that into account. Main thing, though, is that your Ancestral Party is so far gone that it couldn't possibly be decisive in the general election.
From your mouth to G-d's ears.
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