Friday, November 02, 2007

Obama Strategy Session

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Over the last nine months, her leads in national and early primary state polls have only grown. Her fund-raising prowess continues. She's been left to present herself as the experienced candidate in debates and speeches.

Pundits and politicians have all but anointed her as the Democratic nominee for the Presidency.

Barack Obama has competed neck and neck for money. He entered the race on a wave of popular momentum and arguably has the most galvanized grassroots support base. Yet his campaign seems to have stagnated, if you consider polls to be viable indicators.

For months, many have wondered how long Mr. Obama could stick to his above-the-fray approach toward criticism of his rival candidates, particularly Senator Clinton.

Recently, Obama pledged to enter a new phase of his campaign in which he would be working less on presenting his own biography and more on highlighting differences between himself and his rivals.

To a limited extent, he has done so.

Maybe they're effective attack lines. Maybe they'll chip away at Hillary's lead.

I don't know. I don't really care. I've adjusted my thoughts on how Obama needs to go about running this campaign.

I still believe that Democratic candidates are largely giving Hillary Clinton a free pass on her ties to large corporations and the Washington insider elite. There is a lot of unused ammunition here.

Yet, clearly, the attack is not Obama's style. He would rather not have to.

The main reason so many people flock to him with such passion is that they believe in his promises to be a different politician. Obama's supporters believe that he has sound judgment. They believe that he can be a uniting leader. They believe that his eloquent, honest style of speech separates him from the typical politician and insulates him from their attacks. They think his books are fantastic. When Barack Obama talks about restoring transparency and ethics in government, people get excited. When Obama talks about stopping the bickering, ending the political game playing, and forcing government to focus to solving social problems, well, people like that. They like the idea of an outsider coming in and changing the game.

So when analysts of this race talk about Obama being caught between a rock and a hard place, they're describing Obama's attack dilemma. If he doesn't attack Hillary Clinton, she'll walk away with the race. If he does attack Hillary Clinton, he'll be undermining his above-the-fray image, the strength of his campaign.

I was thinking about this whole situation. It's a tough call for Obama. Campaign strategy.... talking points.... memo.... press release...., swift boat..... blurp, is he black enough... gr... bleep... blorp... if I had known then what I know now.... raise your hand if you believe in evolution....KABOOM!

Screw that.

Barack Obama, you are a United States Senator. You have an important job with a high profile. You've got a lot of campaign cash and you haven't used much of it. You don't need to get on CNN to raise your national profile anymore. You're on popular magazine covers. They call you a rock star. Voters know your name. You've kissed plenty of babies and shaken a lot of hands. You've been to lots of small town diners and sat across from us normal people with a concerned look on your face as we express ourselves. Great job.

But if you're running as a different kind of politician, a new kind of leader. If you're not going to disappoint us...

You can prove it as a Senator.


Be first in line to confront the President on his path to war with Iran.
Be the one to negotiate the veto-proof majority on the SCHIP program.

Skip a debate and get your ass to the Senate. The cameras will find you.

When I read stories like this:

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) released a letter today, signed by himself and 29 Senate colleagues, warning Bush not to take military action in Iran without Congress's consent. Webb's office said the goal was to "clarify any ambiguity as a result of a recent Senate amendment urging designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization," and to express "concern that the administration's increasingly provocative rhetoric has undermined diplomatic efforts with Iran."

One of the 30 signatories was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted for the Senate amendment and has taken grief from her Democratic opponents ever since. The measure, written by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), was opposed by many Democrats for giving Bush too much leeway, including Webb, who was one of the amendment's harshest critics.

Sen. Barack Obama, who missed the Kyl-Lieberman vote but said he opposed it in principle, was not on the list. Nor has Obama endorsed either of the two pending Senate bills that would require Bush to seek congressional approval before invading Iran -- including one written by Webb and cosponsored by Clinton.

Or this:

Clinton, Dodd and Obama were all absent Thursday when the Reid abruptly scheduled a vote on the latest version of the children's health insurance bill, a huge Democratic priority that Reid had tried to delay until next week, to no avail. For a few hours, Democratic leaders worried that they would not be able to muster the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster. In the end, they found the votes. But Reid can't take chances as he tried to push through the huge spending agenda that must be completed before the year's end.

Well it raises questions about just how different you actually are.
If you're candidacy is anchored in the belief that Americans are smart and will vote for honesty, integrity, reason, and rationality... if your campaign is based on the belief that Americans can look past the pundit attacks and media feeding frenzies...'re going to have to prove that you're actually the alternative. Campaigns don't prove anything about you other than you can stage photo ops. And as much as we love photo ops in America, we need somebody that can do their job. Go to work, Barack.


charlotte said...

Exactly. "Show me the money!"
Please. Otherwise, my vote goes elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

My problem with your argument...
It seems as if you specifically target Obama on points that are relative to both Democratic candidates. You point out that neither Hillary nor Obama were present at the vote for the children's health insurance bill,yet tou attack Obama for not fulfilling his promise for change. All of the candidates of the presidential election have advocated for change in many ways. I do not see Hillary Clinton proactively Fulfilling any of the far fetching ideals of her political campaign. Although you attempt to present a mildly unbiased front, you did not address the same problems for Clinton's campaign.