Aboard Air Force One, 2009 Official photo by Pete Souza.

Aboard Air Force One, 2009
Official photo by Pete Souza.

“I’m doing something completely different… My passion for technology actually predates my passion for politics.” – Mark Penn

THERE is a lengthy piece in the Washington Post about the veteran Hillary campaign people who are unlikely to join her in 2016, if she decides to run. One of my favorite sections is onHoward Wolfson, who will reportedly will not be reprising his role as campaign chief. Other big names include Mark Penn, who if he is anywhere will be well out of sight, as well as Patti Solis Doyle, who should never have had the job she did.

A brief snippet:

Philippe Reines, one of those former Senate loyalists who followed her to the State Department and is now a paid spokesman for the former first lady, dismissed speculation about a 2016 run even as he pronounced that Clinton “would be a great president and I would want to help her do that.” He also contacted veterans of the ’08 campaign and urged them to avoid anonymous sniping that would reflect poorly on Clinton, according to several people who’ve been on the receiving end and who took the request as a warning not to criticize her. (Reines denied that he policed anyone’s conversations and insisted that he only encouraged former staffers to put their names to any comments.)

He and other boosters sought to put the lingering leadership concerns to rest by pointing to Clinton’s relatively smooth tenure as secretary of state. But even he acknowledged that running an existing bureaucracy is not analogous to building a billion-dollar campaign. That leaves Clinton with only one model as a reference point if she runs for president in 2016.

“I can go into the plus sides of the theory of the Team of Rivals and the downsides of the theory of the Team of Rivals, but I don’t want to do that,” Solis Doyle said. She explained that the past was too painful and filled with “so many” traumas.

You can’t know if you’re not involved, but it’s pretty hard for me to imagine Philippe Reines policing anyone’s comments. It’s been a long time, but I’ve had email conversations, as well as drinks once at the height of the McCrystal Rolling Stones scandal, where we had a friendly debate on the subject. I’m certainly not one of the ’08 campaign insiders, but I was very close to the campaign from the outside, and Reines just doesn’t seem that paranoid, though I have no doubt he wanted people to talk on the record and not be an anonymous sniping “source.” If you read “Game Change,” you’ll understand Reines’s aversion to traitors talking on deep background.

As I detail for history in my book The Hillary Effect, the slug fest of 2008 took the life out of a lot of people. It was difficult as hell writing that book, let me tell you. Howard Wolfson and I have not talked about this, but I would imagine that campaign finished him for good, which is what the Post claims.

It should have finished Mark Penn, with the Post writing politics is not in the future for him. Don’t believe it, because Penn clearly states in the Post article that if 2016 manifests it’s “up to them.” Penn turn down the Clintons? If asked, he will serve, but he just might not be asked.

You can bet almost everyone else doesn’t want to see Mark Penn anywhere near Hillary Clinton if she does run again.

The vast majority of the former Clinton aides – many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of upsetting the powerful Clintons – believed that it was impossible for Penn to rejoin an eventual campaign.

“If you are the losing team,” Penn said, “you get blamed. Hillary told me, ‘It comes with the territory.’ ” He said that he and the candidate had a “thorough post-discussion of everything” but wouldn’t divulge specifics. He admitted, though, “You are always a little bit haunted when something is lost.”

He said that he has had civil conversations with former colleagues, including frequent antagonist Mandy Grunwald, a media consultant for the 2008 campaign who has since worked on several Democratic Senate races; Grunwald declined to comment for this story. “We had a particularly nice talk at the funeral of Hillary’s mother,” Penn said.

Huge fan of Mandy Grunwald. As for Mark Penn, he’s the most overrated political strategist in campaign history, the bookend to Dick Morris.