Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I couldn't help myself.
Below is a SWOT picture for Team Obama. (1) (2)
1. Running on a message of "change" & exemplifies that change.
4. Approached Run for Presidency w/ a 50 State strategy.
5. Brought thousands of new voters into the political process.
6. Appeals to young voters.
7. Appeals to Independents and disenchanted Moderates.
8. Strong support from Black voters.
9. Effective organizing/mobilization from the grass roots level on up.
10. Supporters are motivated.
12. Message resonating w/ White Americans in the West and parts of the Midwest who are college educated & who earn more than $50,000 per year.
13. Has a more populist message in a time of war and during a period of economic hardship for many Americans.
14. Team Obama has advantage when it comes to utilizing and exploiting technology (Internet, etc). McCain's older demographic is not as computer savvy. This slows/limits fundraising efforts for McCain.
15. More human resources. Has more young volunteers who can fan out all over the Country for voter registration, education, and mobilization.
16. His family. The images of family, particularly his wife and school aged daughters is an image that resonates because so many Americans can relate to the Obama's current situation regarding raising kids. The Obama family looks like so many other American families. So when Obama talks about issues related to supporting children, supporting education, healthcare, fixing No Child Left Behind, etc, he is accepted as more authentic and more up to date on the problems. Obama is seen by many as someone who can empathize with Americans on these sorts of issues...and that empathy can prove to be reciprocal, as voters may be willing to cut Obama slack on other issues. Conversely, it makes McCain look more out of touch before he even opens his mouth about any of these social/economic problems. Obama's daughters are a secret weapon, as they may affect voters unconsciously.
1. Seen by some as lacking experience.
2. Trouble garnering support from working class white voters in certain parts of the Country, especially Post- Rev. Wright.
3. Affiliation w/ Traditional Black Church in Chicago - T.U.C.C. - and its connection w/ traditional Black elite leadership.
4. Not a well known character to many Americans.
5. Name could be hard for some to accept in a xenophobic nation which is often resistant to change.
6. Race, Race, Race, Race, and Race.
7. No military background.
8. Iraq- Obama may have to adjust his position to match the situation on the ground in Iraq. He has promised something that he likely will not be able to deliver- a quick pullout of U.S. troops. A quick pullout is not feasible and was never really a viable option. It is even less of an option as the overall situation in Iraq has improved. The reason why it was used as a political issue is because it sounded good to voters. Obama could have done himself a favor by leveling with voters earlier on. Now he has dug himself a hole.
It is physically & politically impossible to conduct a quick pullout from Iraq. Top military advisors would likely be against any such move. The sooner Obama modifies his position on this issue, the better. He has to move to a more comprehensive 3-5 year plan to slowly drawdown U.S. troops, while aggressively building up the Iraqi military. The Bush administration has made a strategic decision not to make any real effort to build up the Iraqi armed forces. The Iraqi's are in need of Tanks, Trucks, Armoured Personnel Carriers, Artillery, Planes, Helicopters, ships and boats...items that the Bush Administration has been reluctant to provide. The Iraqi's will never be truly self sufficient until they obtain the equipment they need. Notice how this issue has been missing from corporate news reports? It has never been part of the public discussion. But this is one of the main obstacles to a self sufficient Iraq. Until the Iraqi's get the tools they need to "stand up", they will always be dependent on the U.S. And this decision by the Bush Administration to keep the Iraqi's dependent on U.S. help had a clear purpose...to provide the U.S. with a reason and with leverage to negotiate a long term presence in the Country.
So on day one, Obama will have to figure out how to solve the problem of Iraq's self sufficiency. Once the U.S. is able to reduce the bulk of its troop presence, Obama should push for some sort of United Nations stabilization force of 40,000 or so that would remain in the Country for a little while longer. The U.S. could contribute 10,000-20,000 troops to such a force (with many standing by in Kuwait), while the remainder could be provided by other Countries around the world and throughout the region. The main purpose of the troops would be to protect the Iraqi government, protect natural resources, train Iraqi forces, backup Iraqi forces, monitor borders, conduct anti-terror activities, and act as a rapid reaction force.
Bringing 120,000 U.S. troops home over a period of 3-5 years is a much more realistic goal and it is likely to be the scenario that is actually played out anyway. If Obama conducts a quick pullout and Iraq collapses, he will be blamed for the disaster- not Bush (I know... sick isn't it? But it's a fact).
9. Party & progressives as a whole lack a strong media infrastructure. Cable TV news & AM radio continue to be dominated by Republican/Conservative talking points. No matter how good the progressive message is, it often does not have a chance to resonate because it is typically heard through a Conservative filter. By the time Americans hear the message it has been distorted by the Conservative media gatekeepers. No matter how much money Obama spends, it will be very hard for him to get his message to voters on his own terms.
10. Staff not aggressive enough in terms of handling attacks/controversies. It often takes the Obama camp too long to respond.
11. Not doing enough to reach out to rural America and to understand/talk about rural issues. Iowa showed that he is capable of reaching this demographic. He must now attempt to apply his Iowa work to a General Election.
1. Has a chance to change political map.
2. Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, N. Dakota & more could go his way in November.
3. For the first time in U.S. history, a significant number of White voters will be open to the message of a General Election candidate who happens to be Black.
4. Has opportunity to introduce himself or re-introduce himself to Millions of Americans who may not have followed the election season closely up until now.
5. Opportunity to gain ground with Hispanics.
6. Opportunity to be more proactive & take the fight to John McCain.
7. Opportunity to highlight problems w/ faltering economy as it happens, and as Americans can see it right in front of them. It's an issue that is very real to most voters...they can "feel" it.
8. Opportunity to exploit McCain's weaknesses.
9. Pre-empt Republicans/Conservatives & their attempts to use fear mongering and racism.
10. Pre-empt Republicans/Conservatives on National Security, perhaps by choosing a strong running mate early with a long National Security/Military resume.
11. Has opportunity to keep focus on the economy, which could make matters much easier for him in the long run (avoiding more contentious & controversial issues that could benefit McCain).
1. The National News Media.
2. Rev. Wright Controversy/Lingering Damage. It's an issue that will surface again.
4. American Xenophobia.
5. The Bradley Effect.
6. Threats to Personal Safety.
7. American Resistance to Change, and the reluctance to go with the less familiar.
8. Long Primary Fight or the damage thereof.
9. Conservative Talk Radio
10. Continued Democratic Party Infighting.
11. Tony Rezko Story and the media's constant coverage.
12. Anti-Obama websites and Smear Campaigns.
13. Republican/Radical Conservative (phony) 501(3)(c), and 527 groups (such as The Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth" who destroyed John Kerry in 2004). These groups will be able to run any kind of ugly, racist, bigoted ads or smear campaigns that they want, with no regulation from Top Republicans. In reality, these groups are well connected with the Republican/Conservative political power structure. They represent the foot soldiers of the Republican political and media machines (behind closed doors). But having these Republican foot soldiers run their operations via 501(3)(c) or 527 groups allows the "official" Republican leadership and Republican Candidates across the Country to claim they were not aware of anything, they didn't know anything about a particular ad, they didn't sign off or approve anything, and they are as shocked and disgusted as anyone else....after an offensive ad, smear campaign, etc. :) It's all about plausible deniability. In reality, these ad/smear efforts are well coordinated through the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, the Republican National Committee's Strategy office, and the Republican Candidates strategy team, among other groups.