Don’t Overrate Barack Obama’s Campaign

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/ 

In the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain ran the better campaign.

This statement goes strongly against conventional wisdom. After all, President Barack Obama’s campaign is widely praised by the media for its masterful turn-out operation and other achievements. This is, of course, because Mr. Obama won the election. Winning candidates, by definition, are almost always considered to have run the better campaign. (Quick: name a losing politician who ran a better campaign than his opponent.)

In fact there were two things that propelled Mr. Obama to victory in 2008, and neither of them had to do with his campaign apparatus. The first was the political environment. Mr. Obama had the fortune of running after a two-term unpopular Republican administration. He did this, moreover, in the midst of a financial meltdown for which blame went to said administration. It’s hard to lose an election under those circumstances.

Secondly, Mr. Obama was a more attractive candidate than Mr. McCain. He was younger, he looked better on camera, he gave much better speeches. Mr. Obama had a magnetism that could attract crowds numbering greater than 100,000. His opponent simply didn’t have that.

But Mr. Obama’s campaign itself wasn’t actually that amazing. It was a fairly conservative operation that took things very safe. The campaign tried to be very cautious, avoiding any risky and exciting maneuvers. This happened under the principle that the senator probably was going to win anyways – so a boring, conventional campaign was much safer than a risky, unconventional one. It’s hard to fault his operation for this conclusion, because Mr. Obama did in fact win.

It was Senator John McCain’s campaign that took risks and made headlines. In many ways his campaign was better than Mr. Obama’s. It won more of the daily media battles until the financial crisis – and there was nothing it could really do about that. It ran better ads. How many Obama ads do you remember, for instance? What about McCain ads? I bet a lot of people remember this one.

Mr. McCain’s campaign also made the more memorable moves. It selected an unforgettable Vice Presidential nominee (in contrast, Mr. Obama once again took the safe route in picking Senator Joe Biden). It famously promised to suspend its campaign in the midst of the financial meltdown. Some of these moves worked; some of them didn’t. But they were very rational moves to take; there was simply no way Mr. McCain could have won in 2008 without taking enormous, risky gambles.

Mr. Obama’s campaign is widely credited for bringing many young and African-American voters to the polls who otherwise wouldn’t have shown up. But those voters came not because of the campaign, but because of Mr. Obama himself. If the entire campaign operation had remained the same, but Senator Barack Obama had been replaced by Senator John Kerry, how many of those people would have shown up?

The moral of this analysis is not to overrate the Obama campaign. There was a Democratic wave in 2008, and Mr. Obama’s campaign deserves credit for riding that wave with the help of a very gifted politician. But to say that ”Obama put together one of the most impressive campaign operations of all time” is a big exaggeration.

 

 

Don’t Overrate Barack Obama’s Campaign

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/ 

In the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain ran the better campaign.

This statement goes strongly against conventional wisdom. After all, President Barack Obama’s campaign is widely praised by the media for its masterful turn-out operation and other achievements. This is, of course, because Mr. Obama won the election. Winning candidates, by definition, are almost always considered to have run the better campaign. (Quick: name a losing politician who ran a better campaign than his opponent.)

In fact there were two things that propelled Mr. Obama to victory in 2008, and neither of them had to do with his campaign apparatus. The first was the political environment. Mr. Obama had the fortune of running after a two-term unpopular Republican administration. He did this, moreover, in the midst of a financial meltdown for which blame went to said administration. It’s hard to lose an election under those circumstances.

Secondly, Mr. Obama was a more attractive candidate than Mr. McCain. He was younger, he looked better on camera, he gave much better speeches. Mr. Obama had a magnetism that could attract crowds numbering greater than 100,000. His opponent simply didn’t have that.

But Mr. Obama’s campaign itself wasn’t actually that amazing. It was a fairly conservative operation that took things very safe. The campaign tried to be very cautious, avoiding any risky and exciting maneuvers. This happened under the principle that the senator probably was going to win anyways – so a boring, conventional campaign was much safer than a risky, unconventional one. It’s hard to fault his operation for this conclusion, because Mr. Obama did in fact win.

It was Senator John McCain’s campaign that took risks and made headlines. In many ways his campaign was better than Mr. Obama’s. It won more of the daily media battles until the financial crisis – and there was nothing it could really do about that. It ran better ads. How many Obama ads do you remember, for instance? What about McCain ads? I bet a lot of people remember this one.

Mr. McCain’s campaign also made the more memorable moves. It selected an unforgettable Vice Presidential nominee (in contrast, Mr. Obama once again took the safe route in picking Senator Joe Biden). It famously promised to suspend its campaign in the midst of the financial meltdown. Some of these moves worked; some of them didn’t. But they were very rational moves to take; there was simply no way Mr. McCain could have won in 2008 without taking enormous, risky gambles.

Mr. Obama’s campaign is widely credited for bringing many young and African-American voters to the polls who otherwise wouldn’t have shown up. But those voters came not because of the campaign, but because of Mr. Obama himself. If the entire campaign operation had remained the same, but Senator Barack Obama had been replaced by Senator John Kerry, how many of those people would have shown up?

The moral of this analysis is not to overrate the Obama campaign. There was a Democratic wave in 2008, and Mr. Obama’s campaign deserves credit for riding that wave with the help of a very gifted politician. But to say that ”Obama put together one of the most impressive campaign operations of all time” is a big exaggeration.

 

 

Obama's Stealth Political Operative

Could it be .  .  .  The Donald? (Forbes magazine hates The Donald?)

Can the Republican Party ever recover from this much insanity?

TPM , Salon, Media Matters , Oliver Willis , etc., etc., etc.,  .  .  .

I think Obama just locked in Four More Years!

 

 

 

Call in Tonight for Veterans

This Wednesday is Veterans Day, and I hope you'll join me, Gold Star Mother Ruth Stonesifer, and Powerline blogger John Hinderaker for a conference call tonight at 8 pm Eastern/ 5 pm Pacific as we launch The Eleven Eleven Campaign.

The objective of the campaign is simple: to get 11 million Americans to donate $11 to support America's Veterans. We've made giving back to our Vets easy through a national Text to Give Campaign (simply text "VETS" to 85944 to contribute).

Please RSVP to the conference call here:

http://action.eleven-eleven.org/t/5400/s ignUp.jsp?key=2817

There's more...

Bring Back the Permanent Campaign!

During the Clinton and Bush years, people frequently bemoaned the 'permanent campaign', the notion of continuing a full blown campaign even after you've won office, and the coarse atmosphere they claimed it inflicted on Washington. But as we've witnessed the failure of Team Obama and congressional democrats to beat the GOP in the media wars and ultimately to win bi-partisan support and ownership of Obama's stimulus plan shows, its necessary. Maybe because he campaigned on changing the hostile culture in Washington, Obama has neglected to bring his vaunted campaign style to the White House. Whatever the reason, its clearly becoming an issue.

Many of us recall that throughout the 2008 campaign, the Obama campaign was continuously lauded for its preternatural campaign discipline, polished management style and coherent campaign message. But these qualities are glaringly absent from the Obama administration and democratic leadership's strategy in support of the stimulus plan. At times it appears that they don't even have one.  

To be fair the stimulus bill's passing through the house of representatives last week was a success but the democrats large majority in congress pretty much guaranteed it passage. The part that should concern everyone is its failure to get bi-partisan support after Team Obama publicly promised to do just that.  Why make the promise if you obviously didn't have the votes? And why set such an ambitious goal if you're not going to mount a cogent media campaign. It seemed direction less. Not at all like the 2008 campaign.

The failure to continue a full force and well messaged campaign in support of the bill came across as painfully amateur and allowed the GOP and the media to go on a tear--giving them both an ample amount of mud to sling. It also helped the GOP carve out a reason to oppose the bill.

Did Obama's team think his dinners and parties would sufficient to win bi-partisan support? Or did they think the publics support of the bill would be enough to smack down nay sayers and
convince congressional republicans get on board? Or is this apart of Obama trying naively to 'change' Washington through the shear force of his personality?

Most congressional republicans team Obama tried to win over were from overwhelmingly conservative districts and didn't give a hoot if the bill passed and the few moderates obviously felt that the GOP sufficiently damaged the bill that they could withhold their support.

There was clearly a failure to prepare, organize and execute a campaign on the part of the Obama administration and the congressional democrats and its led to embarrassment and an emboldened opposition.

So maybe its times Obama quit trying to reject the old ways of Washington or charm an institution into supporting him. Maybe Obama should take a page from Clinton and Bush and bring back the permanent campaign.

Thoughts?

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Diaries

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