Sunday, April 27, 2008

If Clinton can't run a campaign, can she run the White House?

If Clinton can't run a campaign, can she run the White House?
By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Saturday, April 26, 2008


WASHINGTON — Despite Hillary Clinton's big win in Pennsylvania last week, the story of her campaign is often one of mismanagement and missed opportunities, and it raises questions about how she'd organize and run the White House.

"There's a certain style to the campaign, and it shows what we might expect in a Clinton presidency: a lot of viewpoints and a messiness," said James McCann, a political science professor at Purdue University in Indiana.

Whether that's a good or bad trait is in the eye of the analyst. McCann called it "policymaking through trial and error," similar to how Bill Clinton ran his administration, which to many was a big success.

But her campaign tumbled from riches to rags to rebounds — and now to hanging on for dear life. It wasn't supposed to be that way.

Not many months ago, Clinton was the consensus front-runner, with a 30-point lead in national polls, $118 million raised in 2007 and the backing of most Democratic power brokers.

Today she trails Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in convention delegates, campaign cash and the popular vote.

How'd that happen?

Obama proved to be a phenomenal opponent — that's surely one answer. But some critics see Clinton's campaign as a runaway truck that careened from primary to primary in search of a structure that works.

From the time the former first lady announced her White House bid 15 months ago, her strategy was driven by three ideas: Clinton was the inevitable Democratic nominee so everyone should jump on her bandwagon; she had a seasoned team adept at finding and appealing to wide varieties of voters; and she could outraise and outspend all rivals.

"The bottom line is that she went in with a set of assumptions that proved to be false," said John Geer, the editor of the Journal of Politics.

The notion that she was the inevitable winner left a lot of activists cold.

"You got the sense that her attitude was, 'I'm the nominee, so what else are you going to do?''' said Gordon Fischer, a former Iowa Democratic Party chairman.

As the Des Moines lawyer tried to decide on a candidate last year, Clinton would call him occasionally, but when he said that he wanted to go out on a campaign bus for a day, he said, "No one ever got back to me."

Obama's campaign did. Fischer spent a day going to a barbecue with 15 people and six other events. He signed up with Obama in late September.

"No rookie candidate can claim inevitability," said California political strategist Bob Mulholland. "Only a president can."

Clinton's second stumble was trusting advisers who not only bickered openly, but also seemed to lack the strategic vision that a presidential campaign requires.

Until recently, Clinton's top strategist was Washington pollster Mark Penn, the author of last year's book "Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes."

However, 2008 has become the year of the big trend.

Since October, the AP-Ipsos poll has found that roughly 70 percent of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track, thanks largely to frustration over Iraq and the economy. Americans want big change, not micro-measures.

Compounding Clinton's problem was Penn, who's widely perceived as arrogant and awkward with people. "He has the social skills of a mollusk," said William Curry, a former counselor to Bill Clinton.

Kathy Sullivan, a former New Hampshire party chairwoman, agreed: "Every time I saw him on TV, I thought he was losing us voters."

Penn didn't respond to requests for comment.

As the campaign progressed in 2008, Clinton faced a third problem: Her team had expected her to sew up the nomination on Feb. 5, Super Tuesday. It burned through more than $118 million trying to make that happen, spending so furiously that Clinton even lent herself $5 million at the end of January.

But when Obama fought her to a draw that day, Clinton seemed to have no Plan B.

Campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, a longtime loyalist who'd never run a campaign before, left after Super Tuesday. She was replaced by Maggie Williams, another longtime loyalist who'd never run a campaign.

Meanwhile, Obama ran off 11 straight victories in February, most in races Clinton barely contested, which is how he rolled up his lead in delegates.


Rest of article is HERE.

Obama came out of nowhere, beginning with nothing, to build a campaign organization that saw this as a 50 State Race. She blew through 170 million dollars, didn't see what the mood of the country was, and disregarded entire swaths of this country....and OBAMA is the one who isn't 'Ready on Day One?'

4 comments:

Shazza Nakim said...

I have to disagree on this whole posting. Lets just look at the obvious:

She's a Clinton.

With the name alone she comes into the race with a Bulls-eye from both Republicans and Democrats

She's a Woman.

American bias towards Women alone makes the Bulls-eye larger.

If you look at the starting lineup for Democratic contenders, she entered on equal footing as all the other Men in the field, many of whom has superior credentials to both her and Obama's.

Her Political Team

Considered some of the best Political campaign minds in the united states currently based upon the percentages at the moment to Obama's (which by the way is composed of a large number of ex-Clinton staff and employees).

The Obama Factor

Obama has out spent Hillary Clinton 3 to 1 from the beginning. This is a factor of New vs. Brand name. No one is saying that New isn't better nor Brand name the staple of the Norm BUT in politics, if you can keep in a political race and be out spent 3 to 1, there has to be something going on with the candidate that can overcome those odds, be it popular support, marketing, advertisement, etc. Hillary and Obama are evenly matched in Political Star Power .. its just that Obama has a greater reach and in any fight, that reach comes in handy in a 1-2 combination, and Hillary has had a few of those through out the campaign from his camp.

Team Player/MVP

Since the beginning, the Clinton campaign has changed and redefined their message from beginning to end, and YES in any GAME or any CAMPAIGN if you can't do that and still remain competitive, you loose (just look that the democratic field left in the dust). That is why she is still in the race with over 44% of the National Democratic Vote. And although she can not overcome the 4-6% needed to tie Obama, HE has not been able to CLOSE THE DEAL either since Obama "Off Script" does more damage to him than a "Clinton Changed Message" or strategy.

Speaking Points

Since Obama's every word is analyzed and examined closely, he can come off too stiff and overly cautious as opposed to Hillary's Relaxed and Exacting. In a campaign that is quickly becoming more about non-issues than issues, if and When a real debate on Relatively Generic Issues such as the War, Trade, Universal Health Care, Immigration and Rev. Right/Snipper-gate is over and one that can freely be talked about begin, the candidate who presents themselves with the least a stiffness in body language and decreased stutter will come off the more confident and appealing. Obama does this and it makes people second think. And although Hillary has higher MISTRUST points, people still know that in her confidence, she will show more Control than Obama.

People take too much stock in the fact that Hillary is running a CLOSE NUMBER TWO but it is because she can PLAY in the Game against a Jordan-style Politician (no racial pun intended), you have to commend her campaign for keeping her in the campaign and keeping it close and CLEAN (contrary to what the media deems as 'dirty').

This question sounds just like the reason why some women won't vote for Hillary Clinton, "If she can't control her husband, why should I vote for her?" I say, " ... because she's smart enough to be President of the United States ... F#&@ her HUSBAND" recognize that she's just as capable to fun the country and behind closed door is known to be SMARTER THAN BILL CLINTON.

onix said...

shazza nakim you are for clinton,
saying she is good becus she is a brand name as a start, as such acknowledging the article is quite right but ok..

what the campaigns have shown is that obama would be an inspiring and respectfull representative of the Us.

not only because he is nice, but because he maintains a high ethics.

all this polemics like over wright however i think is of not much use.
the mere having to deal with such matters drags us in the mud.

otoh. it being a campaign, and obama and nomination being *the* subject of the year , there remain a lot of ways to interprete what obama said.

I think wright has been instrumental in keeping barak obama awake by showing him he wasn't the only one that wanted to fight racism. There are plenty examples in my own life that show this is a necessary strategy.

Perhaps wright misses a few nails, it is not the same as fake wmd allegations, wars and giant fraudes.
Likewise supporting the taliban or the kurds may not be all unflawed,
however supporting them is essential for their safety and future regionally. Likewise not every piece of engaged poetry may be practical, but it can still be inspiring.

Shazza Nakim said...

onix,

You really need to read my post again without having a closed mind or a one-sided opinion.

I broke down the reality of campaigning in terms of strategy successes and failures and not by any personal like or dislike. I also gave both sides acknowledgment, no one side over the other. If you part attention to how each Campaign congratulates the other, i have only echoed their thoughts and opinions on here.

As for your Wright comment? It is obvious that there is a disconnect with your understanding of the Black Church, who Rev. Jeremiah Wright and what Trinity's Liberation Theology, as well as its commitment is about; which is beyond and bigger than Obama. Wright isn't doing anything to Obama. Obama is a Politician and as such, he needed to deal with the People. Wright is responsible to his Church and GOD and last i checked GOVERNMENT is suppose to be separate from it.

Nathaniel said...

@ Shazza Nakim.

I have to disagree with your post.

I'd like to address it point-by-point:

"She's a Clinton.

With the name alone she comes into the race with a Bulls-eye from both Republicans and Democrats"


Is that an argument? The GOP wasn't targeting her at all during the primaries. If anything of late, the right wing media has been extremely kind to her. You'd have to be living in a hole not to see that. The endorsement by Scaife, et. al.. Furthermore, she was the front runner and leader for most of the primary season. To say that she's had a bullseye b/c she's a Clinton ignores all the advantages she has in a Democratic primary by virtue of being a Clinton. Why else was she the front runner.

I mean really. Currently Obama's being ganged up on by HRC and the Right. They're (The Right) ignoring and/or promoting HRC and ganging up on Barack. HRC has said that McCain and herself have passed the magical "Commander-in-Chief" threshold, while BHO hasn't.

If you're going to support HRC, and if you want me to take you seriously, please explain what this "Commander-in-Chief" threshold is, and how does one pass it. Does supporting a disastrous war count?

"She's a Woman.

American bias towards Women alone makes the Bulls-eye larger."


Oh, right, and being a black man is easy. He's the second black man elected to the Senate and the first since reconstruction. This is also ignoring the fact that women comprise 57% of the Democratic primary electorate. Maybe there's a bullseye on her because people like to believe that the United States is a meritocracy where the cream rises to the top and not some oligarchy where political dynasties dominate like some Banana Republic.

"If you look at the starting lineup for Democratic contenders, she entered on equal footing as all the other Men in the field, many of whom has superior credentials to both her and Obama's.

credentials are not dispositive on determining who gets elected. The question is who is the best candidate and campaigner, of which, one's credentials are a component.

It's simply not true that she was on equal footing either. She had a tremendous lead in the early primary polling and lead in funds raised by virtue of her name recognition and support within the democratic establishment. Did you even read the article that this post was linked to?

"Her Political Team

Considered some of the best Political campaign minds in the united states currently based upon the percentages at the moment to Obama's (which by the way is composed of a large number of ex-Clinton staff and employees).


I do not get the point of this paragraph. The argument is she has run a poor campaign. It's no secret that there has been tremendous infighting within her campaign. Whether they're the dream team of pollsters and advisers is irrelevant. It's how she's able to manage those egos is the question. Mark Penn. End of story.

As for Obama's advisers, the fact that many former Clinton advisers joined his campaign is quite telling. It says that they'd rather be with him then her. They vote with their feet.

"The Obama Factor

Obama has out spent Hillary Clinton 3 to 1 from the beginning. This is a factor of New vs. Brand name. No one is saying that New isn't better nor Brand name the staple of the Norm BUT in politics, if you can keep in a political race and be out spent 3 to 1, there has to be something going on with the candidate that can overcome those odds, be it popular support, marketing, advertisement, etc. Hillary and Obama are evenly matched in Political Star Power .. its just that Obama has a greater reach and in any fight, that reach comes in handy in a 1-2 combination, and Hillary has had a few of those through out the campaign from his camp.


It's really hard to take this seriously. I mean, I don't know if you realize it, but you're making stronger points for Obama. For political junkies, perhaps the fact that Obama is the new brand and is thus more desirable? But, nevertheless, HRC started this campaign with a huge financial advantage. Furthermore, her name recognition (people know HRC, for better or worse. Not as many people knew Barack) means that Obama has to spend more anyway.

And what does it say that the establishment Democratic candidate who started with a huge financial advantage is now getting outspent 3-1 by virtue of her opponent's superior grass root fund raising campaign.

Team Player/MVP

Since the beginning, the Clinton campaign has changed and redefined their message from beginning to end, and YES in any GAME or any CAMPAIGN if you can't do that and still remain competitive, you loose (just look that the democratic field left in the dust). That is why she is still in the race with over 44% of the National Democratic Vote. And although she can not overcome the 4-6% needed to tie Obama, HE has not been able to CLOSE THE DEAL either since Obama "Off Script" does more damage to him than a "Clinton Changed Message" or strategy.


Are you serious? She starts out with a huge advantage in polling numbers and funding. Were you not in the United States last November and December? She was the inevitable nominee, remember. She had a ton of super delegate endorsements as well. As well as all the favors owed Bill. Nobody in democratic politics is owed more favors than Bill Clinton.

Case in point. Bill Clinton campaigns for governor with Martin O'Malley. O'Malley wins. 2 year later, O'Malley endorses HRC. This repeats itself over and over. The real question is why couldn't HRC seal the deal. She shouldn't be losing. But she is.

And what is Clinton's message? Ready on Day one? Experience? Answering phone calls at 3am? I have no idea what her message is. She said the Tuzla misspoke was a result of her not having enough sleep. Yet, it was in her prepared remarks on several occasions and she wants us to believe she's the tireless fighter for people like you and me. Please, tell me what to think.

"Speaking Points

Since Obama's every word is analyzed and examined closely, he can come off too stiff and overly cautious as opposed to Hillary's Relaxed and Exacting. In a campaign that is quickly becoming more about non-issues than issues, if and When a real debate on Relatively Generic Issues such as the War, Trade, Universal Health Care, Immigration and Rev. Right/Snipper-gate is over and one that can freely be talked about begin, the candidate who presents themselves with the least a stiffness in body language and decreased stutter will come off the more confident and appealing. Obama does this and it makes people second think. And although Hillary has higher MISTRUST points, people still know that in her confidence, she will show more Control than Obama.


Didn't she just say that she'd obliterate Iran? Didn't she just advocate the repealing of the gas tax, something, economists on the Right and Left both agree will do nothing to lower the price and instead just affects a transfer of revenue from government coffers to the Oil companies? That is the height of petty political posturing. Obama held his ground on that.


And you wanna talk about speaking styles? I'll only speak for myself on this one, but when I hear HRC, I just zone her out. I find her voice grating, as she just throws the same old political bromides. Obama speaks like a normal intelligent person and has been much better able to connect to the younger generation. This is extremely important because being able to communicate political issues to the younger generation is something that politicians haven't been able to do since maybe JFK. And which is why for so long young people haven't been into or followed politics, something, that, ya know, greatly effects their lives.

People take too much stock in the fact that Hillary is running a CLOSE NUMBER TWO but it is because she can PLAY in the Game against a Jordan-style Politician (no racial pun intended), you have to commend her campaign for keeping her in the campaign and keeping it close and CLEAN (contrary to what the media deems as 'dirty').

I laugh. Please disclose your conflict of interest. Really. "clean" campaign. Let's see, HRC calls out Obama for sitting on a board with Ayers. Whereas her husband pardoned two members of the same group. That's not clean. That's hypocrisy. Saying, that Obama isn't a muslim (not that should matter), "not that she knows." I could go on and on here. The flip-flopping on the Florida and Michigan votes.

This question sounds just like the reason why some women won't vote for Hillary Clinton, "If she can't control her husband, why should I vote for her?" I say, " ... because she's smart enough to be President of the United States ... F#&@ her HUSBAND" recognize that she's just as capable to fun the country and behind closed door is known to be SMARTER THAN BILL CLINTON.

Thanks for the straw man argument. I won't vote for HRC because despite all her vaunted experience she still voted for this damn awful war. The consequences were reasonably foreseeable and Obama acknowledged foreseeable consequences himself in 2002.

Go ahead and support HRC but don't try deluding the rest of us. Obama's a man of principle whereas HRC embellishes a press junket in Bosnia with Sheryl Crow and Sinbad into actual experience of her toughness?

Like, was this post supposed to be satire or something?