This is another of our “do-gooder” articles. We write these articles because we want all Democrats to win. We want Democrats to learn to run smart campaigns. That’s why we help – because we love.
This article is not so much about Hillary Clinton. We are using the current nomination fight as a teaching tool. And we are pretty darn sure that the valuable lessons in this article are published too late for candidates running against Hillary to profit from its wisdom. This article is about the need to confront reality (yes, another reality based article from Big Pink), question delusion, the value of time, and campaigns.
Chicago Magazine has this lump of wisdom buried in its article about the battle of loyalties between the rival Hillary and Obama campaigns in Chicago and the peril of believing what your lying eyes want you to see:
J. B. Pritzker knows how that goes. “You get the feeling that you’re in a bubble here,” he says. “It’s strange, ’cause I talk to my friends at the Obama campaign and they’re like, ‘Oh, isn’t he doing great?’ And I’m like, ‘Actually, why don’t you head over the border to Wisconsin, where she’s up 15, 20 points, whatever the latest are, and then you’ll get a sense for how he’s doing nationally.'”
J. B. Pritzker, a smart businessman who supports Hillary and whose sister is Barack Obama’s national finance chairwoman is giving his sister and all the other Obama donors and advisers good advice: get out of your bubble!
Now, J. B. Pritzker’s advice is targeted to volunteers and lower level staff, maybe even mid-level staff, and possibly some of Obama’s top staff (the entire Edwards campaign staff, wife included, can learn much by listening to J. B. Pritzker’s advice too). We doubt that J. B.’s advice is really needed for the very top staff. They must know how many holes are in their hull and how much water their Edmund Fitzgerald of a campaign is taking on.
“Let me repeat: I wouldn’t mind living in a country where Barack Obama is president. Brains; candor; charisma; ambition hitched to a work ethic; I admire those qualities. But frankly, the people who’ve ponied up $4,600 for Obama in this election cycle might as well have piled the money on the kitchen table and set fire to it. Or donated it to the Audubon Society, which has a lot better chance of being in business a year from now than Obama’s presidential campaign.
What Alex Beam knew back on May 8, 2007 is what the Obama top campaign staff know and want to keep from their donors. The top level staff know, as the oddly articulate for once George Bush said, that for all intents and purposes, because of the calendar, this is a national primary race.
Yes, the Obama campaign via souffle memoranda pretend that they are doing well (See our article The Great Pretender) but they know better. If they are not shading the truth in order to keep necessary information away from their donors about their actual prospects and indeed believe they have a chance then they are in deep delusion. But we believe they know the truth and are in fact lying to their donors and supporters. Maybe the donors and supporters will read this article and learn how to spot a phony in the future – so we are not wasting our time by writing this article.
Why do we believe the Obama campaign knows their ship has sunk? We documented in The Great Pretender one of the souffle memos which made a silly case for why Obama is actually doing well. The reasoning in the memo which then was 7 months away from the first primaries/caucuses, not the 3 months today remains ludicrous:
The ludicrous memo from the Obama campaign, while decrying the validity of early polls, are you ready, cites “general election polling” to claim that Obama will be the strongest candidate in November 2008. So, polls 7 months from the primaries are to be ignored (because they show Obama as a loser), but, polls 15 months out are valid (because of the audacity of hope). Does someone review these memos before they are released? Is consistent logic too much to be expected?
The general election is now about 13 months away and the primaries/caucuses about 3 months away. If primary polls are so useless why is the Obama campaign spending more money on polls (See our article Numbers, Obama outspent Hillary more than three to one on polling and research) than any other Democratic candidate? Are they wasting donor money on ‘useless’ poll expenditures? Donors and supporters might have an interest in the answer to this question.
Time. Time is the most valuable commodity in a campaign. Everything in a campaign can be replaced except for time. Candidates can be replaced (think Mel Carnahan who died and was effectively replaced by his wife – and won the election even though he was dead). Volunteers and staff can be replaced. Office furniture can be replaced. Money can be replenished. Time, as any dying person knows, cannot be replaced. Time cannot be bought. Campaigns which waste time, lose.
We wrote in our last reality based article about how Obama has wasted time by failing to connect with working class Democrats who help determine primary outcomes and is relying on a student population that will probably not be available when the voting begins. Previously we noted the mind boggling mistake in the Obama absence from the AARP debate. For Obama, these have been 9 months of wasted time.
We have all heard candidates who lost say: ‘If we had one more week we would have won.” Beware, donors and supporters. Usually this is a tip off that the candidate ran a miserable campaign and will do so in the future unless they learn the valuable lessons herein. When a campaign begins, campaign strategists and staff know exactly how much time they have allotted to them. They know exactly when the election will be held. If they are one week late in “peaking” then they probably did not know what they were doing from the get-go.
Delusion. Delusion in a campaign can best be fought by running as if you are 20 points behind. The Hillary campaign is 20 points ahead but it is run as if Hillary is 20 points behind – smart lady that Hillary.
We have all heard candidates who are behind say a variation of ‘We are going to win, I can tell by the crowds we are getting and the enthusiasm in our crowds – we’re going to win! we’re going to come from behind.’ Beward donors and supporters. Usually this is a tip off that the candidate is either lying or delusional. In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama wrote:
“Less than halfway into the campaign, I knew in my bones that I was going to lose. Each morning from that point forward I awoke with a vague sense of dread, realizing that I would have to spend the day smiling and shaking hands and pretending that everything was going according to plan.”
State representative Jack Franks is one Obamamaniac who’s had a recent political change of heart. Franks once served on Obama’s presidential exploratory committee and encouraged his friend to run, telling his district’s local paper: “He’s the right guy at the right time.” But now Franks says his timing wasn’t right, choosing Obama even before evaluating the rest of the presidential field. Franks started having second thoughts about Obama after watching his performances in the first couple of debates. “I thought that Hillary was by far the better candidate and the only one ready to lead from day one,” he recalls. “But when my kids say, ‘Then why are you with Barack?’ I couldn’t give them a good answer—except friendship.”
Stupidity. Candidates should not do stupid things. Don’t windsurf in front of television cameras if you are trying to appeal to working class voters. Don’t put on helmets too big for your head to demonstrate military/foreign policy experience if you actually have no military/foreign policy experience. Also, whatever campaign strategists say, keep yourself grounded in common sense. For instance, if seniors comprise 64 percent of Iowa caucus goers don’t let some clever strategy keep you from speaking with seniors. In the real world this is what happens when you miss AARP debates:
Jimmy Kimmel: “Last night in Iowa, five of the six top Democratic presidential candidates took part in a debate sponsored by the AARP. That’s a senior citizens organization. Barack Obama skipped it. He said he doesn’t like the way old people smell, so he stayed home” (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC, 9/21).