Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Deep Breath

It’s going to be a tough week. McCain is going to pull ahead in almost all the polls, like the 10-point lead he has amongst likely voters now at USA Today. It’s clear he’s gotten a strong bounce out of his convention. A few reasons:

1) More viewed it…more people are around the first week in September than the last in August.

2) Expectations were lowered, particularly for Palin, like crazy. And when she came out and performed well, everyone went ballistic. Combined with fawning press coverage from the likes of People Magazine, it’s clear that Palin is the fascinating new phenomenon of the fall.

3) Let’s be honest, the Obama campaign has not figured out how to handle her or the new McCain campaign. They were caught by surprise and they haven’t framed the convention properly. Once again, they are more concerned with ground-game efforts in individual states (of crucial importance) than they are with changing the direction of the national conversation. This is a mistake. They need to be concerned with both, and the latter moves more votes.

I’ve been accused of being a chicken little before, but had been told it’s only summer, wait until VP choices and conventions. Well, we’re less than 60 days away now and I’m worried. McCain at 50% amongst registered voters worries me. Yes, it’s a convention bounce, but I’m worried because for all the money and confidence and ground game, the Obama camp has not yet figure out the key to unlocking the electoral landslide that is hidden somewhere this year. It’s there, waiting for us.

I no longer claim to know the answer, and at this point, engaging in “Obama needs to…” speculation isn’t going to cut it. I’m going to work harder, donate more, and hit the road for the guy.

But I’d love to see the blogosphere move away from discussions about what a total failure the Republican convention was, how poorly Palin is playing with swing voters, and other such echo-chamber high-five-ism, when scientific numbers tell us something else. Deep breath, Dan, deep breath.


September 8, 2008 - Posted by | Media Strategy, Uncategorized | ,


  1. Obama hasn’t distilled his message yet. What’s his 10-word telegram? What is the one-liner that defines his campaign? Saying “It’s all about you” is fine for the people who already believe, but how does it bring in others?

    In 1992 it was “It’s the economy, stupid”. We need something equally catchy and simple now.

    And Obama needs to get surrogates out there and take a few days off. He’d giggling in front of appreciate crowds as he mocks the Ailin’/Palin ticket, and we need him to be more indignant and more serious.

    My 2 cents.

    Comment by truth | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  2. [A]t this point, engaging in “Obama needs to…” speculation isn’t going to cut it. I’m going to work harder, donate more, and hit the road for the guy.

    Right on.

    Comment by Cervantes | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’ve been saying this for a long time now despite so many people calling me a Republican Troll or Concern Troll: The Obama Campaign is TRAGICALLY out of touch with the Real American Society Out There!! What is even more tragic is the fact that McPalin/Rove DOES have their pulse on “Everyday Americans.” I know that Slink and Dansac (along with a few others) have ALSO been trying fervently to get the “Obama People” to see the handwriting on the wall, but overall it seems that most of the Democrats have–and perhaps even still continue–to have their heads buried way deep in the sand.

    I am in my mid-fifties and have seen the horrendous de-evolution of American culture. We are a country that has BECOME raised on Reality TV Shows, is proud of our anti-intellectualism, and thinks that we truly deserve (or are entitled) to have all of the planet’s resources (not just energy) at our disposal. Of course, I KNOW there are MANY exceptions to this abysmal picture that I paint of our American society. But nevertheless, I do not think that any candidate or campaign will ever “win” an election now–other than by some stroke of luck–by continuing to maintain the High Road Express in a society that has come to expect anything but that. Furthermore–as people such as Slink (here) and Nate Silver have repeatedly said–Obama’s commercials and ads are boring, lame and unexciting (at best)–especially compared to the sleek McPalin ads that hit you over the head with their message.

    I have become SO frustrated that the Obama Campaign refuses to change their strategy, tactics and even lack-of-message AT THIS LATE MOMENT IN THE GAME. McCain not only has successfully “defined” Obama and the narrative, but he keeps RE-DEFINING Obama–and is doing so very successfully.

    It devastates me to think that so many people like myself have contributed so much money to the Obama Campaign when the “product” that Fluff/Axelrod/Burton & Company have produced is SO disappointing. Yes, I know that the Republican Corporate MSM ultimately controls the Message; still even the MSM Puppets are happy to take the Dem’s money for advertising. Moreover, these Republican Puppets NEED the Democratss and their Dem Message to fill the seats of their talk shows. How sad that we Democrats squander these golden opportunities when we could be leaving listeners/viewers with catchy sound bites that they actually might remember.

    I know that Burton and the rest of Team Obama still doesn’t seem to get this. What I find more perplexing, though, is why folks like Howard Dean haven’t stepped in to change things by now.

    Anyway: Thank you everybody at Strategy 08 for all of your continuous hard work. Hopefully, your message will get out SOON to the Important Democratic Powers that Be!

    Comment by Midwesterners | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  4. Someone should whisper in Obama’s ear that he can be as honorable and respectful as he wants once he gets into office. This is a fight, and he needs to take off the gloves NOW. He doesn’t have to be angry, or mean: He needs to be powerful and persuasive.

    Not there yet.

    Comment by truth | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  5. To “Truth” Above: You are SO right!! All of our “shouting” is going unheeded. Perhaps a quiet “whisper” (as you suggested) would work instead!

    In the meantime, it is quite possible that the High Road Express might actually FAIL to deliver all those votes that the Democrats need in order to demonstrate just how “honorable and respectful” they are in January 2009–to use your words again.

    Comment by Midwesterners | September 8, 2008 | Reply

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