Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Campaign Portends Governance

Thought for the day.... heck, the entire campaign season! "Presidents tend to govern the way they campaigned." Great insight from Peter Beinart in "Obama at the Helm." (WaPo)

Beinart opines that Hillary Clinton goes after Barack Obama by asking of his experience "whether he's too green." If Obama is the nominee, John McSame will take up the same banner. But Obama can point to something more germane: "the way he's run his campaign."

Jimmy Carter ran as a "moralizing outsider in 1976" and governed as an outsider to the Washington establishment he distrusted. "Ronald Reagan's campaign looked harsh on paper, but warm and fuzzy on TV."

Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign was "brilliant and chaotic, with a penchant for near-death experiences. And the 2000 Bush campaign.... disciplined, hierarchical, loyal and ruthless."

OK.... Beinart makes the case.... a candidate's campaign presages how they will govern.

So we come to the current crop of presidential wanna-bes. McCain's campaign was a "top-heavy, slow-moving, money-hemorrhaging Hindenburg that eventually exploded, leaving the Arizona senator to resurrect his bankrupt candidacy through sheer force of will.

"Clinton's campaign has been marked by vicious infighting and organizational weakness, as manifested by her terrible performance in caucus states.

"Obama's, by contrast, has been an organizational wonder, the political equivalent of crossing a Lamborghini with a Hummer."

The key to Obama's successful campaign may be that it "married Web energy with professional control. It has used the Web masterfully" but unlike John Dean's 2004 manic approach, "sees it as a tool, not a philosophy of life."

And, should Obama become our next president, it will be his amazing capacity to communicate and inspire that will mobilize the energy needed to turn the country from the path of a chaotic and ruthless past, to "fuse exuberance with discipline".... toward a future with the "audacity of hope" and accomplishment.

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