The superdelegates need to “get real” with the Clinton campaign
February 22, 2008 2 Comments
And once again, the Clinton campaign has revamped its message.
After failing to get much traction by accusing her opponent of plagiarism (lifting two lines from a national campaign co-chair and long time friend and used in response to the Hillary’s fadeaway shots on Obama’s powerful oratory), the Hillary campaign is trying out some new material, according to CNN:
As Barack Obama solidifies his lead, Hillary Clinton is shaking things up with a revamped message and sharper digs at her party’s front man…
“It is time to get real,” Clinton said, “to get real about how we actually win this election… It is time to move from good words to good works — from sound bites to sound solutions.”
As it increasingly looks as though neither candidate will get the requisite delegates necessary to lock up the nomination through primaries and caucuses, the focus in this race has turned to the superdelegates, the 795 party insiders and muckity-mucks who get to be delegates fro whomever they choose.
As (mostly) high-ranking party members, however, one would expect that the superdelegates would not only vote their conscience, but also have to think about what is best for the party and which candidate has the best chance of securing the White House for the Democrats.
And with that in mind, it is time for the delegates to take Mrs. Clinton’s advice and “get real” with each of the campaigns.
The first thing to remember is that if one candidate has more elected delegates, more popular vote and more states won, but party members select the other candidate, they will destroy the Democratic Party. After all, why should rank and file members of any political party stay with a group that overrides their votes and feelings?
There would be no viable explanation for such a move and it would turn off all of those voters who thought they could believe in the Dems to listen to their collective voices.
And smart money says it would lead to a landslide for John McCain.
But beyond all that, these two candidates have similar positions and neither has any real executive experience (despite what Hillary may tell us) so one of the best ways judge these matters is to look at the administration of their campaigns.
And by that measure, the choice is obvious: The Obama campaign has been run much, much better.
It didn’t always seem that way, but after the events of the past few weeks there can be no doubt.
The first real mistake the Clinton campaign made was underestimating their opponent and the general desire for change in the country, and not just a figurehead change, but a real, honest-to-god change of perspective and vision.
In failing to recognize that, the Clinton camp decided to run a fairly traditional Democratic campaign, focusing on a few early contests and then targeting the Big States, all of which she won.
But failing to learn the lessons of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the Clintons mostly ignored what is commonly referred to as “flyover country,” barely, if ever, visiting states that Democrats do not tend to do well in and, just like Al Gore and John Kerry before her, failing to recognize that you don’t need to win NY and Cali to win.
So, while Hillary was stumping around a few select places, Obama set up organizations in every state and drummed up support in every corner of the country, even in Idaho, where he set attendance records at an arena in Boise. Acknowledging the turnout, he opened with the line “they told me there were no Democrats in Idaho,” at which the 15,000 or so in attendance exploded into applause.
We know whose strategy proved better.
Following her relatively poor showing on Super Tuesday, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton had to loan herself $5 million just to keep going (Obama, meanwhile, raised $36 million in January alone, more than Hillary and McCain combined), had no organization in place for any of the states that would come next and all but abandoned the next round of primaries.
Obviously not learning a damn thing from Rudy Giuliani’s mistakes, the Clinton camp allowed Obama to pick up 10 states in row building a momentum that now looks almost unstoppable.
A new New York Times report on the Clinton campaign spending has experts saying that “Mrs. Clinton’s spending priorities amounted to costly errors in judgment that have hamstrung her competitiveness against Senator Barack Obama of Illinois”
Shoot, it’s so obvious now, even Bubba had to comment on it, telling a Texas audience: “If she wins in Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don’t deliver for her then I don’t think she can. It’s all on you.”
No pressure, there Texas. And ignore the fact that we fucked things up so bad we left ourselves in this position even though polls taken just at Christmas had Hillary up by more than 20 points…
But those weren’t the only problems the Clinton campaign faced. In a seeming acknowledgment of a poor strategy and poor planning in the lead up to Super Tuesday, there was a shake-up at the top, including the resignations of her campaign manager and assistant campaign manager, followed by the addition of a new campaign manager described as fiercely loyal to the Clintons.
Then, the first thing the new campaign manager did was attack Obama with an allegation of plagiarism over two lines in a speech, all the while ignoring that her candidate had herself lifted multiple lines from Obama.
Not a good start, really, though the fundraising has started to pick up again (but not anywhere near the level of Obama’s campaign).
If the superdelegates really listen to Hillary’s advice and “get real about how to actually win this election” they will need to start asking themselves which campaign is built for the long haul, which one is solid enough to take on John McCain and which one has the message people respond to.
And as party people (in the house!) and political professionals, the answer should be fairly obvious by this point.