at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Hillary’s Last Stand

In Political Strategy, Politics on February 20, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Kangaroo fight

Originally uploaded by Pascal Vuylsteker

The Caucus ran an interesting piece today on Hillary’s campaign and the strategies that are taking shape for her last stand in Texas and Ohio. They mostly read like more of the same plus some fighting.

A sample:

1. Use two upcoming debates between now and March 4 to draw a strong contrast with Mr. Obama. “We’ve seen dramatic changes when that’s happened,” said Mark Penn, her chief strategist and pollster. (Translation: expect her to unload everything she has on him.)

2. Hope “new information” about Mr. Obama will emerge and discourage voters from supporting him. (Translation: see above.)

I’m an Obama supporter through and through, but regardless, I hate to see bad strategy. Hillary’s campaign manager seems to be telling her to double down, that it’s now or never and to add some harsher criticism to the mix. The rub is that if she loses even one of these states she’s also going to erode her remaining goodwill with the Democratic party and come off looking rather petty come the convention. Not to mention that the Hillary campaign has already started to go negative and if anything, Obama has seemed to come out above it all.

Looking back to the Hillary Tear in NH, mentioned in a previous post, the real momentum gained from that moment came from her really articulating why she wanted the job. That it wasn’t just politics to her and it wasn’t just about winning. The tear got all the press but it was the message that she was in it for the voters, not for her own self-interest, that stuck. If I were looking for an answer on Hillary’s long quiet plane rides, that’s where I would look. Give voters a real chance to decide who is better equipped, add in some of that emotion, and if it doesn’t go her way then take a slow step backward and preserve the Clinton brand.

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