Monday, April 7, 2008

Mark Penn, Jack Abramoff, and Anarchic Hand Syndrome

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Penn the Symbol of Clinton's Problems, says E.J. Dionne, who usually writes for The Washington Post.

He's referring to Mark Penn, The Clintons' chief campaign strategist. Mr. Penn has been helping Hillary Clinton oppose a Columbian trade agreement.

The Columbian ambassador has been paying Penn's public relations company to promote the same Columbian trade agreement.

Therefore Penn had to leave the Clinton campaign, although The Clintons seemed happy with his campaign work against the trade agreement, and the Columbians were happy with his work in favor of the trade agreement.

The way I see it, somebody was going to be taking all that Clinton and Columbian money, and it might as well be someone who could give them what they paid for. If we're going to have a system where our politicians are bought and sold like $20 crack whores, we might as well have them pimped out by people who know what they're doing.

This is a borderline example of what I'm now calling Anarchic Hand Syndrome. And I'll not rest until it's referenced in a Political Science textbook, a Thomas Sowell editorial, or linked on Instapundit. Either one will mean guaranteed immortality.

(Go ahead and hit the link above. It's a short post about the right hand having no control over what the left hand is doing, and it's a legit medical condition. And I believe that as long as decision makers are allowed to take money from both sides of an issue, we'll see examples of the same thing in government. You get to pay for tobacco subsidies and anti-smoking campaigns.)

The Mark Penn AHS episode is slightly flawed, or perhaps he's taken it to the next level and we mortals are too dense to perceive his greatness. It's imperfect because Mark Penn represents the right hand. He approved and controlled the contradictory actions of the left hand. And vice-versa. In a textbook example of political Anarchic Hand Syndrome, Mark Penn would have to be two different people independently working at cross-purposes in the same organization.
Greatness walks among us.

The only other example of this type of self-inflicted solo AHS would be Casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who lobbied against Indian casinos while lobbying for them in his free time, and got paid by Indians on both sides.

But if you accept the legitimacy of lobbying, you don't have much room to criticize guys like Abramoff and Penn for for using their talents to their highest potential....
Brief addition....the good people at are shocked, no, astounded to discover that small campaign donations go into the pockets of expensive consultants.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I'm no metrosexual, but I'll be happy when the 24 hour news channels cease to display that awful still-photo of Penn.

If he's going to be active in spin-rooms and such, someone needs to hand him a comb.