Sunday, June 08, 2008

Why Obama Won

Not rhetoric but management style.

Andrew Sullivan posted this 13:39 segment on his web site with the caption "A new generation, a new model of viral campaigning, a new mode of discourse, a new moment:"

Having watched it I have to agree. At about 8:43, Obama makes a funny comment about the fist bump. It also brings home the observation from this commentary by Daniel Pinkwater from NPR last week about how Obama talks in public as if he's in private, which Hillary Clinton does not.

With the likes of Steward and Colbert, candidates have to be more real or they'll get skewered. Obama knows this. His supporters know this.

Also in the age of "citizen journalists" like Mayhill Fowler - who caught both Obama's bitter remarks in San Francisco as well as Bill Clinton's rant against Vanity Fair, candidates have to be more genuine.

It is a new age.

And it brought to mind as well Karen Tumulty's great piece from Time How Obama Did It, which is worth a full read.
Obama laid down three ruling principles for his future chief operating officer: Run the campaign with respect; build it from the bottom up; and finally, no drama. Myers was struck by how closely Obama had studied the two campaigns of George W. Bush. "He said he wanted to run our campaign like a business," says Myers. And in a good business, the customer is king. Early on, before it had the resources to do much else, the campaign outsourced a "customer-service center" so that anyone who called, at any hour of the day or night, would find a human voice on the other end of the line.
I can testify to that personally. I got a person on the phone and explained what I wanted - to have my dad's written check count on my Barack Obama page. And a person called me back and answered my question and did it for me. I've worked with a lot of campaigns. That has never happened before. I was shocked. It also just contrasts to calling (fill in your utility here) and having to deal with either a computer or someone who doesn't understand your American accent.

More to the points that Obama was making in his talk to his staff:
Obama's is watertight. Leaks are rare, and for all the millions Obama has raked in, Plouffe keeps a sharp eye on where it is going. Consider the salaries: Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson was paid almost twice as much in a month — $266,000 went to his firm, according to her January campaign filing — as the $144,000 that Obama paid Gibbs for all of last year. Obama staffers are expected to double up in hotel rooms when they are on the road and are reimbursed by the campaign if they take the subway (about $2) to the downtown-Chicago campaign headquarters from O'Hare International Airport but not if they take a cab (about $50). Volunteers are asked to take along their own food when they are canvassing.
Makes me want to move to Chicago and go to work for him tomorrow.

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