Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Obama Won - strategy, execution, eloquence

As things wind down in the primary, this is a good opportunity to take a look back. This article does that well, summing up Obama's strategy and execution for the primary.
"Without a doubt, their understanding of the nominating process was one of the keys to their success," said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist not aligned with either candidate. "They understood the nuances of it and approached it at a strategic level that the Clinton campaign did not."

What the article doesn't point out is just how ironic this is, given that Hillary and Bill had been working with these rules for 16 years. Even apart from their staffs and advisers, they both know this stuff cold. Bill in particular is famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of details of politics at the local level.

So the strategy itself was superior to Clinton's. But so was the execution:
"The Obama campaign was very good at targeting districts in areas where they could do well," said former DNC Chairman Don Fowler, a Clinton superdelegate from South Carolina. "They were very conscious and aware of these nuances."

And then there was the thing that brought it all together - the candidate:

But, Fowler noted, the best strategy in the world would have been useless without the right candidate.

"If that same strategy and that same effort had been used with a different candidate, a less charismatic candidate, a less attractive candidate, it wouldn't have worked," Fowler said. "The reason they look so good is because Obama was so good."

But the reason they look so good is that Obama attracted great people in the first place. A different candidate would not only have not been able to execute this strategy as well, a different candidate probably would not have come up with this strategy.

Obama looked so good because Obama is so good.

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