'Pollster Grifter' Bilks Innocent Secretary Out of $2.3 Million

To answer Time's headline: NO. Mark Penn should not get paid. He should be put in a box with insects. But apparently that is not an option!

Are you still getting emails begging for money for Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign? Yes? You sucker. Well don't give her one gaddamn dime because the one outstanding debt is to Penn, Schoen, & Berland Associates LLC. This is the Mark Penn market research and polling firm that helped make Hillary Clinton our nation's not-44th President! And Hillary still owes them $2,307,740.82 for coming up with that brilliant "I am the only person who can win this race because I'm white" strategy.

Not surprisingly, many Clinton allies are decidedly unsympathetic to Penn's situation. Fumes one: "He should have to eat it." But it isn't that simple. The money is owed not to Penn personally but to his company, which is a subsidiary of the worldwide public relations and advertising firm WPP Group, based in London. The bills the Clinton campaign ran up included $5 million for the polling that apparently failed to pick up on the public mood. And then there was the cost of sending out 20 million pieces of direct mail, with postage alone reaching $8 million, according to an official for the firm. Many would argue that it was money ill-spent. At a minimum, that big a bill for snail mail suggests that Clinton's campaign was relying heavily on tactics from the 20th century, while Obama was running circles around her by using the far more cost- (and politically) effective Internet.

Of course, as Ezra Klein points out, the Clintons are fucking rich, so it's unclear why, if they insist on making sure Mark Penn gets his cash for being a pathetic, out-of-touch loser, they don't just pay him with Bill's Burkle money or something. That would seem a little more morally defensible than asking your broke-ass donors to continue helping you pay the man whose work made their candidate fuck up what shoulda been her race to win!

DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS (AND MIKE BLOOMBERG) BE ADVISED: if you're at Union Pool and the bartender hands you a cocktail napkin from "Microtrend Jordan" reading "I want to give your campaign a winning media strategy with my mouth" alert the authorities immediately.