Penn's Tentacles

The senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly, Joshua Green, thinks some commentators may be too quick in claiming that a political consulting career is over for Mark Penn, the CEO of Burson Marsteller and former "chief strategist" for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Penn has been widely criticized after an internal memo he wrote for the Clinton campaign was recently made public. In it, Penn suggested that Clinton criticize Barack Obama's "lack of American roots." Penn wrote, "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values." Obama is reportedly considering Indiana Senator Evan Bayh as a possible vice-presidential running mate. However, Green notes that "for years, Penn and his wife, Nancy Jacobson, have been close advisers" to Bayh. If Obama picks Bayh, Green writes, "Penn is right back in the presidential race -- if not in an official capacity, then certainly in a functional one."