Monday, June 9, 2008

Mark Penn still doesn't have a clue

For comedic effect, both these articles appeared in the same copy of the New York Times.

First we go to Mark Penn's Op-ed: "The problem wasn't the message - It was the money"(apparently not grasping the irony of blaming money problems in a campaign that paid him and his company over 10 million dollars during the primary. Maybe a trip to Alanis Morissette Irony School would do him some good.)

The conventional criticisms of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign are these: she had no message; she ran just on experience; she should have shown more of her warmer side; she was too negative; President Clinton’s campaigning hurt her; and she presented herself as inevitable. It is amazing she got any votes at all.

So let’s take on a few of the myths. Even schoolchildren got the message that Mrs. Clinton was ready to be president on Day One. As a result of her campaigning and ads, people saw her as a strong commander in chief, a good steward of the economy and a champion for people who needed one.

Here's the thing, he's actually right that they got her message out there. The fact that she managed to campaign on "30 years of experience" is one of the greatest lies of our time, and it's the fault of the press and timid candidates for not calling her out on this. First lady and one term as a senator... Experience! Add that time as a Lawyer and on Walmart's Board... 30 Years experience! It's an indisputable argument!

But what he doesn't get is this, if your message is that you were experienced enough to vote for the Iraq war, and then stupid enough to vote for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for war with Iran, it kind of discounts any positives about your "experience". Experience only matters if you learn from it, and she clearly learned nothing based on how she voted and then talked about in her foreign policy plans. So maybe it's the kind of experience that caught up with her, at least I hope it was. So what went wrong Mark?

Are there a lot of other things the campaign could have done differently? Of course. We should have taken on Mr. Obama more directly and much earlier, and we needed a different kind of operation to win caucuses and to retain the support of superdelegates. From more aggressively courting young people earlier to mobilizing the full power of women, there are things that could have been done differently.

While everyone loves to talk about the message, campaigns are equally about money and organization. Having raised more than $100 million in 2007, the Clinton campaign found itself without adequate money at the beginning of 2008, and without organizations in a lot of states as a result. Given her successes in high-turnout primary elections and defeats in low-turnout caucuses, that simple fact may just have had a lot more to do with who won than anyone imagines.

And sometimes your opponent just runs a good campaign.

Yes, Obama ran a great campaign, there's no questioning that. And he's right again about how blowing 100 million dollars before the first votes, not doing your homework on caucuses and the delegate system really did hurt her. I guess my only problem is that he's talking about it as if he wasn't there and not her CHIEF STRATEGIST! FROM THE VERY SAME SECTION OF THE PAPER:

As Mrs. Clinton assembled her campaign to take back the White House, she brought together much of the old team, led by her chief strategist, Mark J. Penn, who had orchestrated her husband’s 1996 re-election. Just as they did in 1992, the Clintons were offering two for the price of one. As Mr. Clinton surveyed the field, he could not quite believe that an upstart, inexperienced senator from Illinois could be a serious alternative to such an accomplished figure as his wife.

The campaign was built on the assumption of overwhelming force. Strategists believed that the first four contests would be decisive and that she would wrap up the nomination by Feb. 5, when more than 20 states were to hold nominating contests.

Mr. Penn shaped a message that she was “ready to lead” a nation “ready for change,” talking in early meetings about her need to spark a “movement” and dismissing Mr. Obama as a glamorous personality who would not connect with working-class voters the way she could, campaign officials said. “He may be the J.F.K. in the race,” Mr. Penn told Mrs. Clinton last year, according to an insider, “but you are the Bobby.”

Backed by Bill Clinton, Mr. Penn pushed for aggressive attacks on Mr. Obama, something other advisers resisted. At one point, Mr. Penn argued that Mrs. Clinton should find subtle ways to exploit what he called Mr. Obama’s “lack of American roots,” referring to his Kenyan father and his childhood years in Indonesia and even the offshore state of Hawaii, the campaign officials said. Mr. Penn recommended that Mrs. Clinton own the word “American” — she should talk about the “American century” and her “American Strategic Energy Fund,” and so forth. She should add flag symbols to her logo, he suggested.

Along the way, though, the campaign succeeded in defining Mrs. Clinton as a leader but not as an agent of change, and it hesitated in attacking Mr. Obama, who became the one leading a movement. Her logo was adorned with a flag, but her energy fund remained just an energy fund. Her strategists underestimated Mr. Obama’s strength and spent too much money before the voting even began.

It wasn't the union busting, the work for the murderous Colombian government, his bullshit polling or his hawkish advice. Mark Penn has become a laughing stock because he couldn't strategize his way out of a paper bag. And honestly, as long as he's no longer taken seriously, that's fine with me. Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion, right?

1 comment:

  1. she should talk about the “American century”

    ahahahahahhahaha, yeah, great plan. maybe she could declare this the NEW american century, and come up with some sort of... project to help assure the course of this new american century.

    then she just has to hope that everyone in the world forgets the iraq and iran votes that made her an accomplice to neocon foreign policy.