Patti Solis Doyle, who managed Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign until she was sacked on February 10th, was hired by the Barack Obama campaign and given the title “chief of staff to the vice presidential candidate.” Due to Solis Doyle’s past relationship with Clinton, it is a clear signal that Obama does not intend to offer her the second spot on the 2008 Presidential ticket. She reportedly has not spoken to Clinton since she was unceremoniously canned by the Former First Lady in the wake of her disappointing showing in the Super Tuesday primaries.
Solis Doyle, who successfully managed Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign and her 2006 re-election campaign, believes that she was fired to serve as the scapegoat for the poor oversight of both Clinton’s campaign proper and its finances. Even without Solis Doyle, the Clinton campaign spent money like a drunken sailor (or the federal government the Junior Senator from New York ached to head), hemorrhaging cash. Hillary Clinton spent over $200 million in her quest for the Democratic Presidential nomination before crapping out.
The Obama campaign wanted Solis Doyle, who is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, as she is prominent in the Hispanic community, a demographic that Barack Obama fared poorly with during the primary season. Solis Doyle also is from Chicago, where her brother is an alderman. Barack Obama and many of his staff are from the City of the Broad Shoulders, including his chief strategist David Axelrod. Solis Doyle is familiar with many of the players on the Obama campaign and has known Axelrod for quite some time, since before she met Hillary Clinton. David Axelrod told the Web site Politico.com back in May that he was in discussions with Solis Doyle to bring her aboard the Obama campaign.
The 43-year-old Solis Doyle also has extensive inside-the-Beltway experience, having served on Hillary Clinton’s staff when she was First Lady. The knowledge she has of Washington and its players will prove invaluable. She is reputed to have created the term “Hillaryland” after going to work as a personal scheduler to the then First Lady of Arkansas in 1991, after she moved to Arkansas from Chicago along with David Wilhelm, who managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign. Wilhelm endorsed Barack Obama this year and has served as an adviser to his campaign.
Patti Solis Doyle also is a Clintonista, one of the clan of those who served in the Bill Clinton Administration, and can help build bridges to that part of the Democratic Party, those who felt it was Bill Clinton’s party and are bitter that his heir apparent, Hillary will not be the party’s 2008 Presidential candidate. Mo Elleithee, a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, sent out an e-mail after the choice was announced:
“Patti will be an asset and good addition to the Obama campaign. After nearly two decades in political life, she brings with her the ability to tap an extensive network that will be a huge asset to Senator Obama. As Senator Clinton has said, we’re all going to do our part to help elect Senator Obama as the next President of the United States.”
It is normal for personnel to shift among campaigns. Richard Goodwin, who had been one of President Lyndon Johnson’s speech-writers, joined Eugene McCarthy’s insurgent 1968 Presidential campaign, jumped to Robert F. Kennedy after he threw his hat in the ring, then moved back to McCarthy after RFK was assassinated.
Political consultant Bob Shrum, whose experience stretches back to George McGovern’s 1972 campaign and beyond, and who served as an adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential bid, said back in May, “I expect a lot of people from the losing campaign to go to the winning campaign, and I think that’s a good idea — it’s part of the process of healing. The way the Obama campaign runs, I think people will be integrated fairly easily.”
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are scheduled for joint campaign appearances in the future.
Even more importantly for Barack Obama, having Solis Doyle on board will enable him to bury the leadership of that wing of the party: The Clintons themselves, and their more fanatical hangers-on. Jason Horowitz in the New York Observer quoted an unidentified fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton labeling the hiring of Solis Doyle to serve as the chief-of-staff of Obama’s future running mate as the “biggest fuck you I have ever seen in politics.”
San Francisco Bay Area, California money-bags Susie Tompkins Buell, who along with her husband Mark were described by The New York Times Magazine as “well-connected contributors and close friends of the Clintons” in a March 12, 2006 piece about Presidential fund-raising, also interprets the Obama’s campaign’s hiring of Solis Doyle as a “slap in the face” to Hillary Clinton. Tompkins Buell helped create the WomenCount political action committee in early May 2008, which spent $140,000 on ads as part of a public relations blitz to justify Clinton’s soldering on against impossible odds. (The WomenCount site features a poster of Hillary Clinton with the slogan “you’re still not listening” and all but accused Obama and the Democratic Party of “gender bias in the campaign.” It also demands “reform of the nominating process,” an issue that has nothing to do with gender, but one of many that Clinton hoped to use to force a showdown on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August, which likely represented her bid to wrest the Vice Presidency from Barack Obama. Her naked ambition was checked when, at the end of the primary season, her top supporters such as U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York told her to concede, lest she destroy the party and hurt Barack Obama’s chances in November.)
“Why would they put somebody that was so clearly ineffective in such a position? It’s a message. We get it,” Tompkins Buell, toeing the Clinton party line, told the Washington Post.
The Post also quoted Tompkins Buell as saying that the Patti Solis Doyle hiring was a “calculated decision” to “send a message that she [Clinton] is not being considered for the ticket.”
A Witch is Burned
The hard-core hangers-on and the unreconstructed believe that Patti Solis Doyle was one of the main sources for the controversial — and embarrassing — July 2008 Vanity Fair piece on Bill Clinton, “The Comeback Id,” that finally drove a stake garlanded with garlic through the heart of Hillary Clinton’s increasingly vampiric Presidential bid. If so, it may be a payback for the February 2008 Atlantic Monthly Unbound piece, “Inside the Clinton Shake-Up,” that dissed Clinton’s former campaign manager.
In that piece, Solis Doyle was said to not have really been the campaign manager, that she didn’t serve as a chief strategist and mover & shaker, but was merely continuing in her role as Hillary Clinton’s personal scheduler. If that is true, then Barack Obama had every reason to hire her, as the post-Solis Doyle performance of Hillary’s campaign was far more disastrous than was her performance in Iowa, New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday. Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, as overseen by Patti Solis Doyle, didn’t truck in the brute force of unvarnished racism as did the post-Solis Doyle candidate. The dyspeptic behavior rooted in Hillary Clinton’s naked lust for the Presidency not only was shameful, it was destructive.
Like the married Bill Clinton as Duke of the White House domain smacking his lips while looking over the latest intake of female interns, The Atlantic Monthly Unbound piece wanted it both ways: Relying on sources within the Clinton campaign, it claims that Solis Doyle was merely a personal scheduler, then scores her for the air of “inevitability” that enveloped the campaign. That feeling of inevitability tripped up the campaign as it didn’t do the grassroots organizing that the insurgent Barack Obama campaign did, which paid off so handsomely in the caucus states.
As we can see after the February 10th exit of Solis Doyle, that feeling of inevitability continued and was the engine that kept Hillary Clinton on the hustings long beyond her campaign’s expiration date, fatally wounding her chances to be Barack Obama’s running mate. Hillary Clinton seemingly felt entitled to the Presidency, as a matter of right and privilege. With hindsight, the February witch-burning of Solis Doyle seems a misguided instance of shooting the messenger.
With the hiring of Patti Solis Doyle and her being named chief-of-staff of Obama’s future running mate, it can be said with finality that Hillary Clinton will not be the 2008 nominee for Vice President. The Democratic Party now belongs to Barack Obama, and will for the next four to eight years, if he can pull it off and win the Big Brass Ring of the Presidency in November.
Huffington Post, “Obama Hires Solis Doyle: A Bad Omen For VP Hillary”
Politico, “Top Hillarylander mulls Obama job”
New York Observer, “Clinton Bundler on Obama’s Doyle Pick: The Biggest ‘Fuck You’ Ever”; “Patti Solis Doyle Named Chief of Staff to the Vice Presidential Nominee”
San Francisco Chronicle, “After This “(Expletive) You” to Hillary, Forget Clinton as VP”; “Camp Obama Professes Surprise at Reaction to Solis Doyle Hire”; “Clinton gets deep-pockets boost from loyalists”
Washington Post, “Clinton Insiders Take Umbrage at Solis Doyle Move”