So Donnie Fowler is out as sorta kinda campaign manager of the Clark campaign.
I’d been getting hints and allegations of this for several days from various fronts. The first round of coverage last night had it that this was a dispute between the Internet-savvy draft Clark types and the professionals from the Clinton-Gore scene. This morning there’s more of a focus on Fowler getting demoted to a “lesser role but still an important role” and deciding instead to quit.
Really, I’m not sure quite what to make of these various interpretations of what happened. It’s not like Fowler is some sort of grass-roots activist. His CV, even his ancestry, is very much from Clinton/Gore-land. On the other hand, he saw first hand in Gore 2000 what can happen to a top-heavy, insidery operation.
My sense is that there are just no clear lines of authority in that operation. That leads not only to chaotic management but also to everyone having a different sense of what ‘the problem’ is.
Based on things I hear from various folks who are in the mix, I think that it’s much less clear-cut than this Internet types versus the insiders line we’re hearing.
What surprises me and, to an extent, impresses me is that Clark has managed to do as well as he has, even with this sort of chaotic management at the home office.
The thing about campaigns is that they end up telling us something about the candidate. Getting a campaign up to speed in a few weeks is no simple task. If Clark is someone who will make a good president, he’ll get this situation in hand.
The big picture here is that there’s a vacuum of authority in the campaign operation. Because of that, all the various currents in the Dem party — out-of-power Clinton-Gore types, new-fangled Internet types, etc. — are trying to fill that vacuum. Bottom line: Clark has to assert himself over his campaign back office.