Mark Penn says vote Kodos 2008

by twit

Mark Penn defends his work for the Clinton campaign, as promised…

If we lose, I will take my share of the responsibility. I have won about 70 major elections around the world, including many presidents, and I devised the simple message for Tony Blair in his last successful campaign: ‘Forward, Not Back.’

as Wonkette points out, he’s apparently talking about the “wildly unpopular slogan for Tony Blair’s last campaign—“Forward, Not Back”—which British journalist Andrew Rawnsley wrote “is as uplifting as ‘Open Other End,’ ‘This Way Up’ and ‘Now Wash Your Hands.’”

The twit isn’t so sure, since she is always uplifted by the line we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom, and luvs how Penn seems to have missed the reference, holding his slogan up as evidence of his “success” in understanding what voters want to hear.

He said that the emerging story line—that his poll-obsessed, microtargeting approach had produced a plodding, uninspiring campaign—was a bum rap.

Of course, this could be part of the reason people think ‘microtargeting’ is to blame:

Much of the criticism of Mr. Penn since Mr. Obama’s initial primary victory in Iowa has centered on the philosophy articulated in his book Microtrends, a Tipping Point-style collection of essays about tiny-but-influential demographics that he thinks could change society.

At one point his defense gets kind of freaky to behold, like the sky opening and celestial choirs singing:

“The campaign has been about big goals, health care, ending the Iraq war, new energy, the future,” he said. “There was a misunderstanding that this campaign was about small things. It never was. If anything, the Obama campaign has microtargeted constituencies.”

What channel was he watching, the twit wonders, although this makes sense:

Leon Panetta, who served as chief of staff in the White House from July 1994 to January 1997, told The Observer’s Niall Stanage in an interview this week that Mr. Penn “is a political pollster from the past.”

But the twit continues to marvel at this:

That Mr. Penn should be the voice in the campaign loudly advocating a bruising, winning-is-everything strategy isn’t surprising. It’s a role he has played from the very beginning, according to both pro-Penn and anti-Penn sources within the campaign.

pro-Penn and anti-Penn sources within the campaign? The campaign is so ‘political’ (in the divisive sense of the word), that even the staff take sides against each other. The stampede to the press with bits of anonymous insider fodder has been a treat, though.

“He too often thought an oppo-hit was going to take the guy down,” said a campaign source. “What we really needed was a coherent negative frame on Barack Obama, and we don’t have that.”

Although a ‘coherent negative frame’ sounds like a pretty good way to describe the general public perception of Hillary… could it be that America is sick and tired of being divided into little groups? Perhaps she has been more of a uniter than the twit has given her credit for.

UPDATE: Via McClatchy on Feb 28, 2008:

Last year she set up a network of 100 top female supporters, who then were asked to contact 100 of their friends. They would send “Hillgrams” about issues of special concern to women, such as unsafe toys, help for military spouses and health care.

How lovely to suggest that men aren’t especially concerned about unsafe toys, or about their wives if they join the military, or health care. And then wonder why everyone hates them so much the campaign has been described as “plodding” and “uninspiring.”

The recognition of men as allies in every fight that a woman could claim is getting to be an old concept at this point. Perhaps that’s a part of why degrading men as a means to lift women up is only playing well with a group described as “women over 50 who consider the New York senator their champion.”

Way to microtarget and achieve the flipside of alienating everybody else.

Kodos! Kodos! Kodos!

UPDATE: it is just raining space alien references today…


would just like to add:


thanks philip.

UPDATE! From lestro on April 6, 2008: Mark Penn goes against the family

One Response to Mark Penn says vote Kodos 2008

  1. lestro says:

    i still don’t understand. Penn wrote a book called “microtrends,” which is about target small, specific demographics (Penn is credited with targeting “Soccer Moms” in the 1996 campaign), yet he is accusing the Obama campaign of “microtarget[ing] constituencies”?


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