The nearly insufferable Arianna Huffington brutally scourges the so-called Clintonistas who took over the last two months of John Kerry's presidential campaign.

But shouldn’t it have been obvious that Iraq and the war on terror were the real story of this campaign? Only these Washington insiders, stuck in an anachronistic 1990s mind-set and re-fighting the ’92 election, could think that the economy would be the driving factor in a post-9/11 world with Iraq in flames. That the campaign’s leadership failed to recognize that it was no longer “the economy, stupid,” was the tragic flaw of the race.

In conversations with Kerry insiders over the last nine months, I’ve heard a recurring theme: that it was Shrum and the Clintonistas (including Greenberg, Carville and senior advisor Joe Lockhart) who dominated the campaign in the last two months and who were convinced that this election was going to be won on domestic issues, like jobs and healthcare, and not on national security.

As Tom Vallely, the Vietnam War veteran whom Kerry tapped to lead the response to the Swift boat attacks, told me: “I kept telling Shrum that before you walk through the economy door, you’re going to have to walk through the terrorism/Iraq door. But, unfortunately, the Clinton team, though technically skillful, could not see reality — they could only see their version of reality. And that was always about pivoting to domestic issues. As for Shrum, he would grab on to anyone’s strategy; he had none of his own.”

I'm glad she's not my governor, but she makes good points (except that she thinks Kerry should have played up national security by going hardcore anti-Iraq). It's almost as if the Clintonistas wanted Kerry to lose, but by as small a margin as possible.



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