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You Come at Klobuchar, and That's All You Got?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 7, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 7, 2019 |


I am Team Kamala at this moment, a little less than a year ahead of the Iowa Caucus. That is to say, if the vote were held today, I’d vote for Kamala Harris, but I’m open to other possibilities, depending on how things shake out. One candidate I’m particularly intrigued by, because of what I know of her record, how she performed during the Kavanaugh hearings, and because of her electability, is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. And the thing about Klobuchar — or what I’d most be afraid of if I were Harris, Gillibrand, Biden, Sanders or Booker — is that Klobuchar has no stink on her. There are no apparent red flags when it comes to her record; no scandals; no whispers rattling around Twitter; and while that also often means “boring candidate,” Klobuchar, at least based on those Kavanaugh hearings, is nothing of the sort. She seems incredibly formidable.

And then this happened:

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I’m not sure exactly what the most appropriate GIF reaction should be, but maybe this?


That’s all you got? She’s a “mean boss”? From HuffPo:

Some former Klobuchar staffers, all of whom spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity, describe Klobuchar as habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty that make it difficult to work in her office for long.

It is common for staff to wake up to multiple emails from Klobuchar characterizing one’s work as “the worst” briefing or press release she’d seen in her decades of public service, according to two former aides and emails seen by HuffPost.

Although some staffers grew inured to her constant put-downs (“It’s always ‘the worst,’” one said sarcastically, “‘It was ‘the worst’ one two weeks ago”), others found it grinding and demoralizing. Adding to the humiliation, Klobuchar often cc’d large groups of staffers who weren’t working on the topic at hand, giving the emails the effect of a public flogging.

Most of the accounts in the story are wishy-washy, at best, and largely contradicted by other accounts, although the article does note that “Klobuchar’s office consistently has one of the highest rates of staff turnover in the Senate. From 2001 to 2016, she ranked No. 1 in the Senate for staff turnover as measured by LegiStorm.”

I know what you’re all thinking, which is: They’d never write this article about a man. And you’re right! And you know who else has staggeringly high rates of turnover, berates his staff constantly — and often publicly — and shit-talks his former employees after they have been fired? The President of the United States. And you know who had opposite of that problem, who was often criticized for being too chill, too nice? The former President of the United States.

It can suck working for a tough boss, but that doesn’t make them any less effective — not everyone can be a Leslie Knope, but Murphy Brown and Diane Lockhart got shit done, too. Fear can be a powerful motivator. In fact, just three days ago, the Times ran a piece about how a President can rule with fear or with love, and the reason why Trump is failing as a President, in part, is because he tries to rule with fear, but no one fears him anymore (least of all, Nancy Pelosi).

Look: Personally, I’m not a mean boss kind of person, and when I’ve had asshole bosses in the past, my feelings vacillated wildly between, “Shit. I gotta do better or I’m gonna get yelled at” to “F*ck you. I’ not taking this sh*t anymore. I quit.” But I also never actually quit one of those jobs because of the boss, so …

But I’m getting off track: This is not about Klobuchar’s management style. It’s about the fact that criticizing her management style is the best they can bring, and that the same management style from a man would not be questioned or criticized in the media. This is also not really a candidate problem, nor the problem for the country should Klobuchar get elected. It’s a problem for her staff.

Besides, every Democrat is going to be defined by something. Harris is a cop; Gillibrand is defined by the Franken bullshit; Warren by her DNA; Booker by his showboating (and the whispers); Bernie by his bros; and Biden by his gaffes. If a candidate has to be defined by something, “mean boss” sure seems to fall under the category of weak. In other words, it’s not something that gives SNL a lot with which to work.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: NBC