Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Pretty Pictures...

Superstar volunteer Liz Armstrong Hall sent over these lovely pictures of The Man Himself from his rally in Prince William County Virginia.

And speaking of Virginia, I got a Facebook message today from my cousin in Norfolk, who this summer was planning on voting for McCain (no surprise - he's a pretty conservative Republican who works on a military base). He said he wanted me to know that since our conversation he had changed his mind and that he was "a part of your Virginia majority."

Now THAT's change I can believe in.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Howard Dean to Step Down As DNC Chair

Someone close to DNC Chair Howard Dean has indicated that he will not be running for a second term.

I hardly know how to respond, so mixed are my emotions about this. On the one hand:
  • Howard Dean has become one of my political heroes. His aggressive pushing of a 50-state strategy, his pragmatic work to construct and maintain a genuinely national party - including decision to put party staff in every state (and, by the way, to fund a staffer for Americans Abroad - perhaps an early precursor of the Obama campaign's overseas Regional Field Directors). He has been so RIGHT, and so good for the party but I can't help but feel sad that he won't be staying in that role to carry on his good work.
  • On the other hand, Dean's strategy and approach has been so broadly successful and so well internalised by the Obama campaign that I can't help but feel his legacy will only grow stronger, and it may be that a new party head who has learned these lessons can further strengthen the DNC in other areas. (The party, in my opinion, still has a long way to go in successfully adopting all the new media tools available - something that the Obama people could certainly help us to improve on...)
Some of the names already being bandied about for a possible day to day management role in the DNC include Obama strategist Steve Hildebrande and Paul Tewes.

As for Howard, I suspect he will have a big role in an Obama administration - or at least, that if these people are smart he SHOULD have a big role. And we know these people are plenty smart. And he's already got just the right tie...

In Which I Allow Myself to Gloat

You know, in all humility I can't claim that I predicted every twist and turn of this race. Certainly there were moments where I was wrong footed and PLENTY of moments when I was nervous, but I always believed in our strategy.

In an early post on this blog, I laid out why I believed the Obama campaign's Expand the Electorate Strategy was beyond smart - was in fact essential.

Winning Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida would guarantee Barack a victory - but there's NOTHING we can do to guarantee that he will win these states. Don't get me wrong, the campaign is going to compete fiercely there, with an unprecedented grassroots, GOTV and advertising presence just for starters. But if the Republicans know that your whole strategy relies on these states, all they need to do is knock us out there. A well placed (metaphorical) stilletto in the final weeks of the campaign and they can spend the next four years counting up their tax cuts for millionaires.
No, what we need is planned redundancy. We're going to compete to win in the three states I named, but also to agressively pursue any one of several very plausible alternative Electoral Vote strategies that would work just as well - either as a failsafe in case something goes wrong or, in a best case scenario, to shore up a landslide.
Let's go to the maps!

Clever old me.

OK, so it's not exactly rocket science - but that's the point. Common sense approaches make sense. It's the hard, gritty work of building the volunteer base, registering the voters, and getting out the vote that is the real magic here. And you don't need pricey pollsters or millionaire strategists to work this out. If little old me can work it out, so can anyone. This party needs to compete EVERYWHERE to be sure of winning in enough places. Let's keep doing that.

Meet the Brain Trust

This 60 Minutes report interviewing the Obama campaign's senior staff literally 90 minutes after his victory is well worth watching.

These are calm, deliberative people - people who love their jobs, their country, each other. And what's also clear is that for all that this campaign had a bottom up strategy (and by the way, Davids Axelrod and Plouffe make a point of singling out their volunteers as instrumental to their success - that's you!) they also had a very top down approach in that all the important decisions about the message and tone of the campaign came from the candidate directly.

The word for that is leadership. Better get used to it.