This evening someone sent me a link to a Clinton event where I saw my husband next to a urinal. Is this a subliminal way to tell us that the Clinton campaign is in the ‘toidy’ – or is this the way the Campaign says to the press—here is where you really belong. If I were a psychiatrist I would be able to give you an answer but for now—at least I got to see what David is doing on the road.
The ad about which I spoke and poked fun at -- the “when the call comes at 3am, who answers the phone ” seems to have resonated with voters in Texas and Ohio. When I called around to talk to my friends on both campaigns, they all admitted that the ad was successful. Some of them were delighted by this and some were most unhappy. The fact is that people are frightened by the idea that there might be someone answering the phone who doesn’t have the experience necessary to respond to that kind of call. And that when it comes, Hilary can turnover and talk to Bill (if he’s home), or Wes Clark (hopefully he won’t be there when she turns over), or any number of policy veterans who served in other White Houses.
I know that Senator Obama has been endorsed by a number of policy people who he will certainly be able to call on no matter the time or occasion. But what I don’t know is why they are not out making statements in response to the ad, and why they haven’t been on the phone with every reporter they can find to say – “Senator Clinton is trying to scare you. Furthermore, here’s who Obama will have to turn to when that phone rings.” There was, as far as I can see absolutely no one, other than Obama who said anything at all. And what he said “She had to make a decision (i.e. answer the phone) before and she made the wrong decision”. He was talking about the Iraq vote, but that response was not forceful enough to quell the fears of the people who think there actually is a call in the middle of the night, and the President must act immediately or all is lost. A vote is not a bomb or a terrorist attack. People can’t make that leap. That’s why God created surrogates.
I don’t get it. Well, maybe I do. While the Clinton campaign never expected to have to organize a campaign (they thought media buys and the power of a personality would give them an early win), they do understand the nuances of how a campaign needs to respond to the threat of imminent demise. It’s all about this comeback kid stuff. She can’t seem to get the campaign together as an organization. But she certainly can go for the jugular when she senses the possibility of defeat. It’s like that wonderful Tom Hanks movie about women’s baseball when he says to one of the players “There is no crying in baseball”. And the same is true in politics, “there is no crying in politics.” (tearing up maybe). You hit hard and leave your opponent reeling. The only way for the opponent to bounce back is to have a team of credible people who denounce whatever the misleading or fallacious ad or statement has been made—before it gets legs and has a life of it’s own. If you recall, Kerry didn’t respond to “swift boat” because he was a decorated war hero who thought no one would believe the lies. And he was wrong. But no one in the campaign did anything to negate the lies. The same thing is happening now with Obama. If they don’t respond to these inaccuracies they will lose.
And if the Obama people think Senator Clinton’s ad are ugly, they have no idea what awaits them in the next seven weeks. (Here comes the trunk). With John McCain as the Republican nominee, the Republican activists have nothing to do but work for Hillary. They want her to be the nominee because they think she will be much easier to defeat than Obama. Remember that this week in her speeches she endorsed John McCain. Something about, I’m qualified and McCain is qualified, but Obama can only make a good speech. So why wouldn’t her good friend John McCain help her march on toward a victory. She thinks McCain is qualified to be President. And so does McCain.
There are always inside politics issues when a campaign is young. I have seen it in every campaign I have ever worked on -- And I had to take my dinosaur to work on many. But at some point the people running any campaign need to look at where they are vulnerable. They need to assess all the possibilities. They need to realize that no matter how strong the candidate—whether it be Clinton or Obama, a candidate cannot carry the campaign without sophisticated good judgment on the part of all the players. Clinton needs an organization that reaches beyond last minute and ‘over fifty white women’. Obama needs an organization that can respond to whatever is thrown at them, in a professional timely way. And from where I’m sitting, it seems to me that the leadership of both entities needs to look a whole lot more like America. We’re just sayin...