Questions for Hillary Rodham Clinton

What did she know, and when did she know it, about Sid Blumenthal’s emails? And what does his conduct say about her managerial capacity and competence as a judge of character?

To be asked by some reporter who doesn’t mind making enemies:

1. Were you aware of the contents of the emails Sid Blumenthal, a senior campaign staffer, was sending around trashing the character of Sen. Obama?

2. Did you approve of that content? In particular, do you think it was appropriate for a Democratic campaign to disseminate the idea that Barack Obama had a “communist mentor,” as suggested by one of Richard Mellon Scaife’s tame “journalists”?

3. If you weren’t aware of that content, what does that say about your managerial capacity to handle the Presidency?

4. And now that you are aware of it, do you plan to dismiss Blumenthal? And why weren’t you aware, after more than 15 years of association, that he was capable of such behavior? What does that say about your capacity to judge the character of subordinates?

Hillary Clinton is far more responsible for Sid Blumenthal’s words and actions than Barack Obama is for Jeremiah Wright’s words and actions. But somehow I doubt she’ll ever get asked any of these questions. For political reporters, this scandal is too close to home.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: