A couple of profiles on the Obama operation.
The first, written by Dana Goldstein and Ezra Klein is one of the first to really get at the 'meat & potatoes' of what made it all click for Obama to win the nomination. Basically, Obama has terrific skills himself, but the inheritance of Daschle's DC team (which had already been primed for an '04 race), and the rise of Dean's 50-State Strategy of grassroots and netroots organizing, laid the table for the newcomer to go to the front of the pack. They have excelled at every stage of the campaign, except closing the deal.
The second, on the WaPost, by Jose Antonio Vargas, profiles the Obama web team. It profiles the operation that Joe Rospars has built around YouTube, Social Networking, and Text-Messaging. A nice piece of work in gathering up the most prominent pieces of strategy that the Obama campaign is executing in their online strategy. It doesn't get into their fundraising efforts, their online advertising, or their one-to-one recruitment, but instead focuses on the new media tactics.
Rospars has no peers when it comes to knowing how to write an effective fundraising email. He's done a terrific job at the things set out in the profile and more, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why he hasn't pursued a blog outreach strategy to date. I'm not talking about a constituency relationship or blogads, but a strategic message one. One that recognizes the blogs as being more powerful in concert with what the campaign is trying to do in opposition to McCain, and coordinating the execution of that strategic message. I'm sure that Josh Orton can speak more to the fault here, so hopefully he'll chime in somewhere with his commentary.
This isn't a ground-breaking idea I'm talking about, but a strategy that's been executed successfully many times over in winning contests over the past few years. Joe was a blogger with Ezra and Nico Pitney at 'Not Genius' back in 2002-03, and then with the Dean campaign, so its not like he doesn't get it. Even John McCain executes on the strategy. Joe ought to do some outreach himself to Peter Daou, who was in a similar situation in '04 with Kerry's campaign. Kerry had won the primary without any help at all from the blogs, and it wasn't until after the swiftboating explosion in August that the Kerry campaign realized they had a problem with controlling the message via the blogosphere. It was probably too late for Peter to do much, but he certainly dived in and worked well with the blogosphere in those last few months to develop an opposition message strategy against Bush.
Now, of course, a number of things have changed, including two big things, which the Obama campaign has recognized. First, blogs have went mainstream, all the traditional media outlets have bloggers and they are 24/7 bloggers with access. They've effectively become the online outreach vehicles for the Obama campaign message push-- the Marc Ambinder, Ben Smith, and Jake Tapper world. Second, there's a world of social networking sites that have huge numbers of available for finding voters and for organizing supporters, and the Obama campaign has leveraged those like none other. But neither have replaced the partisan blogosphere, which has grown about 10X since 2004 in terms of bloggers and readership.
And without the outreach, partisan Democratic bloggers are left on their own to pursue a decentralized strategy which has largely wandered in the desert looking for an attack angle on McCain. Bloggers complain about there not being a consistent message from Obama against McCain because nothing is being coordinated from within the campaign for outreach purposes.