The Politico mourns the shizzle sizzle fizzle which is the Barack Obama (D-Rezko) campaign.
The central criticism of the Obama campaign, which worries his supporters and pleases his rivals, is that he had a chance to make his “movement” about something, and missed it.
If there’s space for movement politics in this country right now, you’d think the movement in question would be the anti-war movement. But Obama, for a variety of reasons, chose to divorce his campaign and his surging popularity from anything that concrete, and focus it on his own story, his charisma and his ability to make change.
So here’s a piece from a college paper in Missouri that kind of captures the perception that that isn’t working. Not to make too much of what seems like a single, rather grumpy report on a mid-level Obama staffer’s appearance on campus; but it captures a perception I’ve heard repeatedly over the last few weeks:
“I thought it was pretty horrible,” said Macklin Rice, a senior studio art major. He “had the opportunity to lay out Obama’s platform and he didn’t. He kept talking about how he wants people to go out and knock door to door (to gain support for Obama), and there are 50 doors right here (in the audience).”
Well, the anti-war peeps are catching on (it’s Hip Hop night on Big Pink my peeps).
Now a BO blogger is catching on – From ThinkObama to Think, Obama – we’re not sure what this is all about but some Brooklynites are PO’d at BO:
Let’s review. I know, I know. I’m won’t leave it alone. But one more time, please, with the FEMA comparison in mind.
1) The initial mistake: not admitting all ticketholders after a long wait doesn’t look good, but you can plausibly go with a “fog of war”/”mistakes happen” explanation.
2) The uncoordinated response with clipboards begins to look bad. It shows that no one ever considered the possibility of things not going according to plan. That’s an event — and risk — planning fundamental.
3) The dubiously worded email with no clear contact info or instructions other than “wait” looks somewhere between mismanaged and dishonest, regardless of its arrival within 24 hours.
4) One week later, and no reply to an email sent looking for a refund. Who’s responsible for coordinating the response to stakeholder concerns? Apparently, no one.
5) Finally, failing to complete a refund transaction while on the phone with someone who has taken the time to ask for their money back — that’s just silly. There didn’t seem to be a problem taking the money off of the credit card.
Think now of mixed messages, dispersed families, trailers, deferred payments, and dubious promises. There was a similar progression from terrible disaster to bureaucratic failure.
That said, OF COURSE, it’s also a good reality check about one event in Brooklyn. No one was hurt physically, no one’s displaced, and there’s not ruin in this event’s wake (well, not beyond this little corner of the Web).
The proximate stakes were lower. The ultimate gamble, though, involves the future of our country. It’s the 2008 election. These are the small pieces that put an election together or lose it.
This holiday weekend I spoke with a family member of an elected official who holds national office. In discussing the Brooklyn event and 2008 race, she emphasized the importance in politics of being gracious when it comes to people’s money, regardless of the amount.
It’s good politics 101. The reason, of course, is that if you’re successful, you’re always going to have to ask people for more money.
That’s what was discouraging for me in the response of the New York office, and communication reviewed by the Chicago media team. Talented political fundraisers, who had already pulled in several million dollars, were completely oblivious to what would create a good experience for their donors. That’s bad campaigning.
Collecting names was a good idea. It’s always a good idea when you stumble. It creates opportunity. You can flag donors for special attention to make up for time of theirs you’ve wasted and disappointment you’ve caused.
You can win them back and impress them with how you recover from a mistake. That experience could ultimately be more compelling than a Barack-led pep rally. It’s always great to hear Senator Obama do his rhetorical thing, but again, direct experience means a lot. Showing as an organization that you know what you’re doing builds confidence and loyalty.
Want to know to the main reason posts on this topic keep coming? I haven’t heard another word from any part of the Obama campaign machine. There’s a huge ellipsis hanging in the air about how this story ends.
Of course we knew all this long ago – BO’s fake campaign. On May 2, 2007 we wrote When Sizzle Meets Fizzle to warn “Generation BO” (yes, the pungent “Generation BO” really is the official Obama campaign designation for their youth vote outreach — and we shouldn’t worry about Obama losing a public relations battle with rogue foreign leaders?)
One aspect of Obama’s sales job is the myth that his is a grassroots campaign, as opposed to all those other evil campaigns that seek control. To that end the Obama campaign has created a campaign web site that provides all sorts of bells and whistles to delude his young supporters that he is one of them.
Today, as Politico points out, “Barack Obama has apparently convinced MySpace (owned by News Corp.) to shut down his own unofficial Myspace page — without the consent of its creator — and re-direct its traffic to a new official page.”
TechPresident has more about Anthony, the creator of the MySpace page and his introduction to the “new politics”: Anthony had never been politically active before. “I was just blown away,” he told me. He put time into the site every day, answering emails from people wanting to “friend” the page, pointing them to voter registration information, and, once Obama threw his hat into the ring, telling them where to find out more detailed positions of the candidate.
We have written about this hypocrisy before, concerning several articles about Obama’s alliance with a slumlord: On April 25, 2007, Carol Marin, in a column for the Sun-Times summarized the articles and hit Obama hard “suddenly this gleaming presidential hopeful and paragon of new politics behaves just like any other dissembling, dismissive Chicago pol, ducking the discussion while pretending not to.”
We have additional evidence today of Obama’s “new politics”. Someone from the Obama campaign leaked a copy to the media of Obama’s smooth talk script when making phone calls.
Most of the smooth talk resembles the Obama campaign promise to its young supporters that they will have a voice in the campaign.
Sad isn’t it?