Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Um -- speech -- what the?

Okay -- that was a really, really good speech.

People walk around in need of something, some sort of articulation of emotions they feel, emotions which don't find expression in the discourse that rules America's conversation about itself.

They want -- and they say they want -- something smarter and better than what's available. Something that isn't cheap. Something that isn't just a sound bite.

Obama gave them that today.

And what amazes me, what bludgeons my sense of hope into a feeling of bewilderment, is that people don't seem to see it. While on the one hand, pundits, reporters beg for something authentic, they can't see it when it's right in front of them. The political coverage, to me, seems akin to the tabloid coverage of actresses with eating disorders. They do not see that the ugliness they want to judge and condemn is something they create.

It's heartbreaking.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Working the Refs is Not a Strategy

Almost all of my misgivings about Hillary's Clinton's candidacy have stemmed not from my sense of who she is but from where she seems to me to come from, by which I mean the elite political/media culture in DC. I don't actually know the history of her staff, but they seem extremely over-invested in influencing the media narrative. I expect this is the product of a too professional and insular consulting class. Perhaps they got the idea form Karl Rove, but their attempts to do so have been too clever by half.

The significant example of this is their lie low strategy (which still has the potential to work, I think, should the delegate waters get murky enough), where instead of contesting primaries, they attempt to get the media to treat those primaries as insignificant.

And now, laughably, they're trying to set Obama's bar for success in Texas and Ohio ridiculously high.

Conversely, they're setting the bar for their own campaign incredibly low -- anything less than total, inarguable defeat is a momentum-swinging triumph. I understand that this is something they have to do, I guess, but it's sort of a sad statement.

I'm not saying that victory is inevitable for Obama in Texas and Ohio. It's just that it would be a his defeat in Texas that would spawn the Hillary's Not Finished Yet headlines, not these lame memos Mark Penn or whoever is sending around. The fact that her campaign is so invested in influencing the media narrative at the expense of actual campaigning is totally lame.