Is There Such Thing As A Creative Car Crash Theory Of Management?

If you feel that maintaining a disciplined operation is an important characteristic for a president or a presidential administration to have, then Senator Clinton may worry you:

The divisions in her campaign over strategy and communications — and the dislike many of her advisers had for one another — poured out into public as Mrs. Clinton struggled in February to hold off Mr. Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But even as Mrs. Clinton revived her fortunes last week with victories in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas, the questions lingered about how she managed her campaign, with the internal sniping and second-guessing undermining her well-cultivated image as a steady-at-the-wheel chief executive surrounded by a phalanx of loyal and efficient aides.

“She hasn’t managed anything as complex as this before; that’s the problem with senators,” said James A. Thurber, a professor of government at American University who is an expert on presidential management. “She wasn’t as decisive as she should have been. And it’s a legitimate question to ask: Under great pressure from two different factions, can she make some hard decisions and move ahead? It seems to just fester. She doesn’t seem to know how to stop it or want to stop it.”

You could spin it as a Doris Kearns Goodwin “Team of Rivals” style of creative friction, but brainstorming seems better suited to branding firms and the first grade:

Mrs. Clinton’s top advisers said that while her management style might be untidy, it showed her to be comfortable with conflicting ideas among her aides. They said she had pronounced herself “ready to learn” from her mistakes and was resistant to placing too much power in the hands of a single political adviser in the mold of Karl Rove in President Bush’s two campaigns for the White House.

“She thinks the way to manage effectively is to get a lot of smart people around who don’t agree and let them work out their differences creatively,” said Howard Wolfson, her communications director. “Let them hash through things, and as a result, you come up with the best process.”

P.S. McCain may also have this problem . . .