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Best Of Tnr 2008: Voices In Her Head

Michelle Cottle travels to Hillaryland and finds a full on "psychodrama." From Patti Solis Doyle's forcible departure, to Mark Penn's ruthless consolidation of power, to the never-ending struggle to manage Bill, Cottle gets every juicy detail from the campaign's Ballston headquarters:

A campaign's "layering" on of reinforcements, as Team Hillary calls its staff adjustments, has both obvious advantages and significant drawbacks--starting with the fact that some of these folks distrust, disdain, or even flat-out despise each other. Howard Paster is said to be resented by some of Bill's people, not to mention some of the staffers he has been "layered over." (Bizarrely, after originally tapping him as incoming COO in charge of, among other things, budgets and consultant contracts, the campaign is now downplaying Paster's arrival and insisting that he will only be generically helping out.) Some of the more devout Hillarylanders regard Bill's people with contempt, and vice versa. [Maggie] Williams is viewed with unease by many remaining [Patti] Solis Doyle loyalists. Some younger campaign hands simply don't know what to make of old- guard Hillarylanders, like Melanne Verveer and Evelyn Lieberman, who drift through now and again. And, of course, everyone hates [Mark] Penn. In recent weeks, with Williams busy folding fresh recruits into the team and re-prioritizing operations, with Penn orchestrating his power grab and then enduring his own mini-scandal, and with Bill making public waves as well as welcoming more of his people into the heart of the battle, it's a wonder Hillary could keep a grip on her message at all. Echoing multiple colleagues, one campaign adviser ruefully acknowledges that the candidate's successes have come "despite Ballston, not because of it."

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