Monday, June 09, 2008

What Should Barack Do This Summer?

We hope you noticed that things pretty much played out the way we said they would over the past week or so in the Democratic presidential race. As the last primaries wound down, a flood of superdelegates went Obama's way. He declared victory, but gently. He let Hillary find her own way. And she did. By Saturday, she not only conceded, but did so in a gracious and terrific speech. So now the world is all right again, correct?

Well, not quite so. But we think Obama is in better shape within his party than McCain is among the Republicans. Just look at today's column from Bob Novak on the continuing animosity between McCain and evangelical leaders.

So, what should Barack do this summer?

Here's some short answers. First, and foremost, unite his party. Reach out to Hillary supporters, as he's already doing. See if he can have some high profile events with Hillary and Bill. Just as important, give it time. Many of Hillary's supporters will need the time; let them mourn. Be sympathetic.

Second, raise money. Scads of money. And he will.

Third, don't spend all that money stupidly during the summer. Buying television time in the summer is a complete waste of money. Sure, there will be "media advisers" urging him to do that, to "define yourself" before McCain does, blah, blah, blah. These people make their money selling TV. Ignore them. NO ONE IS REALLY PAYING ATTENTION except those who've already made up their minds.

Instead, concentrate on the ground game and uniting the party. The ground game in most campaigns is like the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Make this time different. Obama had an incredibly impressive and effective field operation in the primaries. Now, do the same, on steroids, for the general election, especially in battleground states. And really focus on how to take advantage of early voting in those states that allow it.

AFTER the Democratic convention, with it's inevitable "bounce" (followed by the GOP bounce), Obama can start the television campaign and begin pulling out the paid media stops. That's when the real campaign begins. Obama needs to remember that most people aren't like the political junkies and media punditocracy he's surrounded by. Most people can only focus on this for so long without burning out, so don't bug them during the summer, and don't overreact to McCain and his people (react, but be cool about it).

And don't pay too much attention to the polls during the summer either. We know it's going to be a pretty close election. The polls will wax and wane a bit, but not too much. Until Labor Day they're pretty meaningless, except maybe on how Americans feel about issues (instead of candidates).

And have a nice summer--you earned it!

1 comment:

Favorite Uncle D said...

Obama needs to do enough joint appearances with Hillary, early in the summer, for people to get just a little bit tired of seeng them together. Enough for her core supporters to realize that her endorsement is real and sincere. Enough to decide on someone else as running mate.

Also he needs to learn how to talk about the economy, in a way that resonates with the working class. (Can we use words like "resonates" when discussing the working class?)

And he should develop a "Top 10" list of issues where his plans are in stark contrast to McCain-ster's, with a catchy title. (Contract for America... nope, already used.)

1. Obama is for getting out of Iraq; McCain is for staying indefinitely at a cost of $__ billion per year.

2. Obama is for universal health coverage; McCain thinks the current system is just fine

3. Obama believes the Bush tax cuts and resulting massive deficits should expire; McCain thinks the tax cuts will somehow pay for themselves

4. Obama wants the federal government to help prevent massive foreclosures on homeowners; McCain thinks the 'free market' will solve the home mortgage problems

5. Obama thinks we should use high-level diplomacy in finding common ground with our adversaries around the world; McCain believes we should never, ever, ever, ever talk directly to people who don't like the U.S.

6. etc.