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Penn pens a postmortem
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, June 08, 2008

Clinton campaign manager Mark Penn has written a postmortem Op-Ed for the NYT in which he talks about why Hillary Clinton is not the party's nominee

He entitles it"

"The Problem Wasn't the Message - it was the money."

In the case of a Democratic primary, Penn has a point. Telling Clinton from Obama when it comes to ideological messages/issues is rather difficult, and as hard and they worked trying to differentiate themselves from one another, it still came down to a message (and this isn't the message Penn is alluding too) that Obama is too inexperienced to be trusted with the reigns of power.

When Obama finally faces John McCain in the general election, money certainly may be a factor, but in reality it will be the message that will make the difference. And the same message that Hillary Clinton discovered about half way through her campaign - and began pushing in the latter part of the Democratic primaries (with some pretty good success) - is the same message John McCain must push with a vengeance: Obama hasn't the experience necessary to do the job.

John McCain needs to take a clue from Clinton and frame the debate surrounding the general election in that way. If McCain can successfully define the presidency as a job that deals primarily with foreign-policy and national security, he manufactures a perfect scenario to spotlight Obama's most glaring weaknesses. He can play up the experience angle, which, in my estimation is not only the safest way to wage the campaign (it avoids race, ideology, etc.) but the most damaging argument against Barack Obama.

Consider the fact that Obama - from the time he was a community organizer to the time he began his run for the presidency - has had little if any experience. He was a one-term state senator and then became a first-term US Senator shortly thereafter. Upon election to the Senate, he immediately began putting a campaign together to run for the presidency. He has very little legislative experience, really has no idea of how to maneuver in Washington DC, and has absolutely no idea about how to conduct foreign policy or what the national security job entails.

In in reality, he hasn't served in any capacity at any level of government long enough to have the experience necessary to competently address the tasks with which a President is faced. He has no foreign-policy experience. He has no national security experience.

John McCain must make that the topic of the presidential campaign. He must not allow it to be diverted into domestic issues. He must continually point out to the electorate that domestic issues/affairs are really within the legislative arena over which a president has some influence but much less power than in foreign affairs and national security. While Barack Obama may want to do something about health care, etc., that is primarily the job of Congress.

So Penn, in the case of the Democratic primary, has a point. But when Obama and McCain get into the general election, it will be the message that sells the candidacy, not as much the money. McCain needs to figure that out quickly, make it the major issue of the campaign and hammer it relentlessly.
 
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I’m unconvinced, Bruce.

Money certainly wasn’t the issue in PA, where Obama lost, despite having spent twice the money. Obviously there are factors other than money at work, here.

Even assuming money was the biggest issue, and ignoring the states Clinton won while spending less money, Penn also ignores the question of why the till-now-vaunted Clinton money machine couldn’t get more money in.

The reason they couldn’t is simple enough; Hillary Clinton was simply an unattractive candidate to the lager group of people... even when filtered to just Democrats. Even her longtime supporters, truth to tell, were getting tired of making excuses for her. In a sane world, Hillary Clinton candidacy would have been laughed out of the joint, Thing is, the remainder of the Democrat field was so weak and unattractive as to make Clinton a comparatively sane choice.

What we have here is Penn trying to recoup his own reputation as a political mastermind, and trying to smooth Hillary Clinton’s feathers a little, apparently not relishing the concept of a quick tour of Ft. Marcy Park.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I, too, am unconvinced.

We’re now in a situation that’s pretty dark. Obama and his surrogates had no problem playing the race card on the Clintons, and that’s with Bill Clinton being ’the first black president’. How much easier is it going to be for them to do it on McCain?

Even worse is the stigma and bullying that’s going to pressure the electorate. I can just imagine it now "who are you voting for? McCain? Why, is the Black man not good enough?". ’Vote Obama or you’re a racist’ is going to be the underlying message here.

And that’s still ignoring the fact that McCain is no loved among Republicans, while Obama is.

I don’t know. As of now, things look pretty bleak.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Experience may be nice to have, but Bill Clinton didn’t need it. Al Gore had it, but it didn’t work too well for him. McCain probably has too much of it. Etc. I think the candidate has something to do with it. Even a lot of Democrats don’t like Hillary; she may be a Clinton, but she ain’t Bill Clinton.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
There are two distinct issues here- how important experience is, and how important it will be perceived as - the political utility of the attack.

Q obviously buys the experience argument heavily, and he’s not the only one. The political value of the argument is okay. Not exactly a knock-out punch, but possibly enough to worry some fairly small fraction of the population. Helpfully, that fraction might not all be hardcore conservatives, i.e. views on this subject are not politically polarized.

Substantively, I think it’s baloney. Experience is highly, highly overrated. Both in general in the world at large, and definitely in a presidential role. Most presidents are elected with no experience at being president. Legislative experience is highly dissimilar, and again, many legislators are elected not having been legislators before. Most governors have not been governors.

Presidential skills are both essentially managerial and political. Frankly, while some people are born bad at those tasks and improve over time, there are no shortage of naturally talented folk able to simply walk right in and outperform hardened veterans.

For every American who sweats experience, there’s another who knows that their direct superiors in your organization of choice have less knowledge and skill than the people under them doing the work.

The above is may not be true for complex manual work, but for intellectual work, some are born ready and need little if any seasoning, and some never get better than mediocre.

Yeah, and Mark Penn is full of horse manure. Hilary Clinton had no coherent message. She was a wishy-washy centrist who scared Republican average Joes with a liberal image created with Republican firepower. She was an awkward, graceless, transparently fake politician with little charisma. And her intellectual skills were lost on an intellectually vapid horse race.

Mark Penn’s argument demonstrates his own genuine stubborness and stupidity: he argues that Clinton’s message is "strength", but is too stupid to see that after 8 years of George Bush running on "strength", that "strength" is no longer an appealing message - to a Democratic electorate *or* a general electorate.

And that’s why McCain has no shot. Folks are not impressed with strength. Eight years of "strength" have failed to bring much in the way of tangible benefits for the man on street.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
So what, then is the alternative to strength?


For one thing, a lesson in why doing without it can be fatal.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Experience is highly, highly overrated.
yeah who needs experience, doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers. Hire the cheapest, what does it matter, afterall, experience is highly, highly overrated,

snort...
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Experience is highly, highly overrated.
McQ’s Law: Experience is "highly, highly overrated" only when your candidate has none.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I recommend looking up the experience of successful American presidents. You’ll find that they all brought considerable experience and accomplishment—often in more than one area—to their first terms.

When I did this exercise I noticed that Obama is the absolute bottom of the barrel in the past 100 years of major presidential candidates. I had to go back to Alton Parker and William Jennings Bryan to find comparatively thin resumes, and I’m probably being unfair to Parker and Bryan.

But heck yeah, let’s forget experience. However, I wouldn’t go for the cheapest, as Capt Joe suggests. Let’s pick presidents like high school prom kings instead! Obama’s a shoo-in!
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The more I consider glasnost’s post, the more excited I get. I want to see a big campaign poster of Obama’s smiling face surrounded by that trademark halo effect and then the text below in italic sans-serif type:

Experience is highly, highly overrated!
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Joel C. is worried about peer pressure and the use of racism will get Obama elected. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I used to be fairly strict to never, ever let people know I leaned right (whereas I have had perfect strangers come up to me and assume I was a Democrat and start gloating over 2006 congressional elections.)

So don’t worry so much about people actually succombing to political pressure, in fact, if some people might have even more doubt as they get pressured.

I think that when Obama was a cypher wrapped in an enigma, that a lot of GOPers were thinking it would be cool to elect a black guy, but maybe now it would still be cool, but not THIS black guy.

Now that he can run more centrist, perhaps he can pull back more of these kind of people or at least make a anti-McCain stay home and don’t vote more palatable.

I will say this: if you just say you are for Obama and universal healthcare, your social life is much easier. Which sucks, but such is life.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
My take:

http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/06/09/mccain-vs-obama/
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Erb (re)turns!

Sorry. Post it here; I ain’t going there.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
I had to go back to Alton Parker and William Jennings Bryan to find comparatively thin resumes,
Farsighted Amigo? I only had to go back to George W. Bush. In fact I had to sandwich about 12 of W’s resumes together and the result was still fluff.
 
Written By: Pedro the Illegal Alien
URL: http://
No, Huxley, I made a commitment not to get into debates here for awhile, it was clear it was unwelcome. Now and then I’ll check in and if I have a relevant point I’ll post a link so only those who actually want to see my words read them. That too will be rare. (Oh, but I may be on Sirius radio 110 "Blog bunker" this Wednesday at 5:00 PM, channel 110).
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/06/09/mccain-vs-obama/
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Try reading sometime, Pedro. It’s good exercise for the eyes and the brain. It also allows one to make arguments not just assertions.

George W. Bush finished his first term as Governor of Texas and was re-elected by a landslide. He has run businesses and been in the military. Obviously he also comes from a major political and presidential family. It’s a thinner resume than I’d like but better than Obama.

Obama was elected to the Senate and that’s it on the national or gubernatorial level. Even though he promised twice not to run for President until he completed his first term, he has done little of note since he got to the Senate except begin his presidential campaign.

Although Obama criticizes Bush on Afghanistan policy, Obama has been too busy campaigning to attend the Afghanistan hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of which he is a member.

Obama has no business experience, no military experience, no executive experience. However he did spend time in Indonesia as a child, which, Obama tells us, informs his understanding of foreign policy.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
I made a commitment not to get into debates here for awhile, it was clear it was unwelcome.
Erb — Then how about not spamming the group with notices about your blog or radio appearances? I’ll bet those are even less welcome, if that’s your concern.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
No, Huxley, I made a commitment not to get into debates here for awhile, it was clear it was unwelcome
You mean, you couldn’t stand losing?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I only had to go back to George W. Bush.
English is a second language for you, huh Pedro? Because if you looked at his resume and Obamas and found Obama’s to be better in the experience end of things, you either don’t understand the word "experience" or didn’t understand what you were reading.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
In the report’s final section, the committee takes issue with Bush’s statements about Saddam Hussein’s intentions and what the future might have held. But was that really a question of misrepresenting intelligence, or was it a question of judgment that politicians are expected to make?
Doesn’t this bring up the matter of political judgement as an important factor when selecting a President ?

Let’s see should it be the guy who hung out with the racist preacher for 20 years, the 60’s radical in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge ? Me thinks not.

Oh, and thanks for the heads up, Sen. Rockefeller.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I said corrected Amigos. Bush’s experience is very impressive. It’s hard to pick the most impressive part out of the lot, but I’d have to go with the Military. A Chickenhawk would get married, or lots of deferments. But not Fearless Leader, he saw that it was destiny to cut to the head of the weekend warrior line, and he didn’t flinch at all. He’s a brave man. I know it couldn’t have been easy to bail out before the end of even that modest committment, but that’s what brave folks do. Dad needed him. And his committment to the military remains to this day, witness his giving up Golf (mostly).

I know it took a brave man to squander other people’s money in a string of failed business adventures too. Who am I, a hapless immigrant, to question the CEO President. The results speak for themselves. He’s done a bangup job on the economy. I should have expected nothing less from a Harvard MBA.

As long as we’re issuing corrections, let the record show that us brownskinned folks from the southlands don’t like Obama. If you want to get out goat you’ll have to pick another candidate to mock. I was a big Richardson fan myself. He came -><- this close to winning it all.

To wrap it up, more fiber in the diet Amigos. Bruce is the only one here that appears to be getting enough. The rest of you sound seriously backed up.

Adios until Manana.
 
Written By: Pedro the Illegal Alien
URL: http://
" THE BLOG BUNKER
A cutting-edge roundtable featuring a selection of the over 100 million bloggers around the globe."

Curiosity will be the death of me, yet. I nearly sh*t myself laughing when when I saw this on Sirius’s site. I am on pins and needles waiting for Wednesday.

Bwaahahaha!



"I’ll bet those are even less welcome,"

Well, the brevity at least is quite welcome.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Q obviously buys the experience argument heavily, and he’s not the only one. The political value of the argument is okay. Not exactly a knock-out punch, but possibly enough to worry some fairly small fraction of the population.
The last time we elected a president without prior executive experience was in 1960.

Obama not only lacks executive experience, he’s thin on legislative experience.
. . . views on this subject are not politically polarized.
It seems to me that this is not the case. Most on the left fail to see Obama’s inexperience, or understand that it matters.

I think that a Republican advantage has been an appreciation for executive experience. A weak point for Democrats.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
You mean, you couldn’t stand losing?
That was my thought too, Bithead.

I couldn’t figure out Erb’s argument on Basra/Sadr even when I read his links. By now even the MSM is conceding that was a victory for Iraq and they’re leaving the story alone.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
You mean, you couldn’t stand losing?
Hux - it is not only Basra that Erb is running from - it is the entire Surge that would keep his tail between his legs for the better part of the next decade. Even Andrew Sullivan is pleading Mea Culpa for that one.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I said corrected Amigos. Bush’s experience is very impressive.
Compared to Obama - your right!
I was a big Richardson fan myself. He came -><- this close to winning it all.
Richardson made the mistake of sniffing up the wrong pant leg. Instead of Hillary’s Pant Suit, he should have been humping Obama’s leg. Then maybe he might have had a shot at the VP slot.

By the way, I agree with you. Richardson does have an impressive resume, probably the best one of the entire lot - if that was your point.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
That was my thought too, Bithead.
OK, I planned to leave you along like I promised Dale awhile back, but since you’re speculating on why I choose to do that, I’ll point out that it’s certainly not that I’ve lost any argument — quite the contrary!

I was responding to Dale who seemed to be requesting I not post so much here. Since he is one of the hosts of this sight, I decided to respect that, with some exceptions this.

As for Iraq: Iran is winning big time, the policy remains a failure:
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/iranian-end-game-in-iraq/
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/iraq-myths-and-realities/

The idea that we’re "winning" in Iraq is laughable.

On Obama and race:
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/obama-and-racism/

I’m also doing an on going series on Islam and the West, starting with Paul and Rome:
http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2008/05/31/paul-and-rome/

Now, here’s the deal: if I come back here and see you talking ill about me or insinuating that I stopped posting because I "lost," then you’ll get more posts like this, and I’ll come back and post more often. Accept and enjoy my absence, and you’ll probably not see more than a couple of links from me, when I think it is appropriate. (I’ve got a link to "The Next Right" on my site, and I’ll put a link to here too.)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Prof Erb — Oh, get over yourself. I for one don’t care what you do except my preference that you not use this space for advertisements of your blog, radio shows or yourself.

If you want to debate, discuss, do so. If you don’t, don’t. Either way, don’t imagine you are doing anyone favors.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
By the way, I agree with you. Richardson does have an impressive resume, probably the best one of the entire lot - if that was your point.
The only Democrat candidate with solid experience. Yet he ended a distant 4th.
Now, here’s the deal: if I come back here and see you talking ill about me or insinuating that I stopped posting because I "lost," then you’ll get more posts like this, and I’ll come back and post more often.
Comedy gold. What a tool.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"I was responding to Dale who seemed to be requesting I not post so much here."

*Seemed* to request? Did he or didn’t he? And if so, why?


"if I come back here and see you talking ill about me "

There is no ’if’ involved. Here or not, if your name comes up, ill is talked.
"What a tool."

Personnally, I think it is either because he is too dumb to cut and paste or he is desperately trying to increase the number of hits on his site. Or both.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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