Last Friday I wrote about Hillary’s lack of a track record and how her campaign has been everything but impressive. As discussed yesterday on Meet the Press, this campaign is the biggest thing that any of the candidates — Hillary, Obama or McCain — have ever run. The three are senators and lack real “executive” experience. What’s nice about this election is that we are watching in real time how the three are executing their campaigns and showing their “day one” preparedness.
By far Obama has run the best campaign, whereas Hillary has changed courses a thousand times, fired staff, etc etc. There is a very interesting piece in the Atlantic by Joshua Green called “Inside the Clinton Shake-Up” about how poorly run and managed her campaign has been. If you pay attention only to Hillary’s words (and not her actual record), you’d actually believe that she was the best prepared to be president. But as Green wrote about Hillary (and the result of which was that a later Green article for GQ was “killed” by the Clintons),
Today Clinton offers no big ideas, no crusading causes — by her own tacit admission, no evidence of bravery in the service of a larger ideal. Instead, her Senate record is an assemblage of many, many small gains . . .
Her real accomplishment in the Senate has been to rehabilitate the image and political career of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Impressive though that has been in its particulars, it makes for a rather thin claim on the presidency. Senator Clinton has plenty to talk about, but she doesn’t have much to say.
Contrast Hillary’s failing campaign with Obama’s stunning success as a virtually unknown factor who challenged the most powerful political family in the Party. For example, check out Obama’s website, check out his use of direct emailing campaigns to keep his supporters involved and loyal (I get daily emails with executable calls for actions). It is amazingly impressive. We try to do some of the same things at FON, but he has run circles around us in a split fraction of the time.
Obama has also run a consistenly postive campaign and has stuck to his positive message without going nasty — nastiness is something that the Clintons have felt and will feel themselves obliged to do throughout the campaign. Obama has also been the only one of the three candidates to fully disclose his finances — the New York Times has asked Hillary to be more transparent and show us the money — but then again, Obama is the least wealthy of the candidates.
While Obama has proven himself to be the “Superior Executive” and best qualified to run anything, including the presidency, he still has a few challenges ahead.
- Momentum: Over a long period of time, it is difficulto to sustain his change-centric campaign. Obama has done a great job on focusing on his central argument, but he will need to keep it exciting or people will get bored and tune out.
- The Specifics: Now that it looks like Obama has become the front-runner, he is going to get more press scrutiny. The press is already starting to look further into his positions and question whether he will be a strong enough leader.
- The Attacks: Ironically Hillary and the Neo-cons have joined forces to attack Obama. The problem is that people end up believing the spin. They think that Hillary has a proven track record, etc. So when Hillary of McCain argue that Obama doesn’t present real solutions, you kind of have to ask whether the other two candidates do. In any event, he is going to have to show that he has solutions but to maintain his central theme — and stay positive and consistent, and not sling mud (ala Billary).
Overall, the most important thing is to sustain that emotional argument. His emotive candidacy has single-handedly shaped these elections.