Sunday, January 06, 2008

Interesting Comments on the Democratic Primary

Not sure I agree with these, but they seemed interesting.

First, the pessimistic view of the Obama phenomenon, which (like so many others) I am high on right now:
I feel a bit like I'm sitting in the middle of the dot com boom right now, with people telling me I don't understand the new economy which operates by different rules. Profits are no longer important, there are boundariless organizations, and it's going to be a long prosperous boom with no more business cycles. And I'm the curmodgen saying that the rules of politics, the nasty and hyperpartisan right-wing, have not been repealed.
A terrifying thought. But is Clinton the answer? I don't see that. And Obama's "ride-above-the-fray" approach may work better than Stoller thinks: right-wing attacks have backfired before, and may simply serve to remind people of the negativity that Obama claims he can transcend. So I dunno. Still interesting.

Second, an idea for HRC. Someone asked me this weekend what I'd advise her to do if she asked. Putting aside my jesting-but-not-really-joking answer of the moment -- "drop out" -- this advice from Jane Hamshire seems like the best strategy for Clinton I've seen:
Clinton needs to do something dramatic. Take the bull by the horns, show that she's not just an overly scripted politician who will never do anything that's isn't "safe." An excellent way to do that would be to leave the campaign trail and go back to Washington with Chris Dodd to filibuster retroactive immunity for the telecoms. The message that "nobody should be above the law," that she'll fight for accountability and won't be held hostage by big money interests would be a powerful one. She'd certainly grab all the media attention by doing so, and force Obama to either follow her lead or stay behind on the campaign trail while she goes to Washington and fights for the constitution -- neither of which have good optics. It would be decidedly un-Penn like, unsafe and virtually impossible to poll. But it might be just the kind of shaking up that her campaign -- and the race as a whole -- would benefit from.
...Of course, this is the left blogosphere's cause and style (we loved us some Chris Dodd last December), so maybe this is just the echo chamber. But this sounds right to me: a good move that Obama would have a hard time responding to. (In contrast, much as I'd love to see him do it, it'd be dumb for Obama to do this now, and break his momentum.) I think the chances she'll do this are about nil. But it seems like something she could do to shake up what is otherwise a bad trend line for her.

2 comments:

Josh Tenenbaum said...

I'm excited about the Obama phenom, but also have some of these nagging doubts. Can he really succeed by ignoring the rules of the politics game, the power structure of the right wing which isn't going away? I agree that the "dot com" analogy expresses the worry well, but it also contains the seeds for hope. Many dot coms started out ignoring the rules of the game, and most failed, but a few succeeded wildly and really did change the world. What distinguished the ones that succeeded -- amazon, ebay, and most of all google -- was a convergence of factors: style, message, content and services that people needed and hungered for, luck, timing, professionalism when it counts. These factors allowed the winning dot coms to build the critical mass necessary to rewrite the rules of the game in business. I see these same factors coming together in Obama's campaign.

Josh
(please respond by email since I don't get to read blogs all that often)

Stephen said...

Josh,

I think that's a great jujitsu move you pulled on that metaphor. If the metaphor controlled the facts, then you'd definitely have nailed it.

Of course, metaphors are imperfect, so I don't know if you're right -- which is another way of saying that I too continue to have nagging doubts -- but I think that, given the alternatives, I'm sold for now.

SF