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August 11, 2006

Comments

It is definately going to be a referendum on the Administration, and by extension Congress. Congress could have done thier job, provided oversight, acted like a coequal, worked as a check or balance, and avoided what awaits. It will be a referendum on congress as a simple extension of the administration - collaborators, yes men. The nation wants checks and balances, they've woken up and they remember why. Loved Dick Cheney's troglodyte spin on how Joe's loss is good for the terrorists. Gee Dick, think that drumbeat might be getting a bit worn? Oh yeah, tin ear. I forgot. On a side note, we should stay very tuned to vocabulary over the next few weeks. One term the R's are warming up is 'Islamic Fascists'. "It's the islamic Fascists doing everything evil. That's who's causing it all". Er... Are those the same Islamic Fascists you've been doing business with for years. (The not so Islamic Sauds or the not so Fascists Iranians) I'm a bit unclear on that. OR - Is Karl trying to innoculate Bush, Cheney, Cabal and Co. against the Fascists lable. Lets look at the definition of Fascism against B,C,C&C. --Fascism: A system of government marked by, 1:centralization of authority under a dictator, (Hmm signing statements, yes man control of congress - Check) 2: stringent socioeconomic controls, (tax cuts for the rich to ensure donations from the same, no voting booths in black areas, and on and on - Check), 3: suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism (Hmm, corporate control of news, investigation of reporter who break story of admin lawbreaking, gay marrage bills, "if you're not with us your with the terrorist" - Check) You know guys, I don't know where they are going with this Islamic Fascists bit but I'm pretty sure the Fascists are Bush, Cheney, Cabal, and Co. Thank God (the real one who loves everybody) that November will be a referendum on this Administration.

For the past day or so, I've been trying to look at this race as a Campaign Manager might -- and while I have not posted in this light, I am glad to see Lamont has taken what would have been my first piece of advice. Take a short Vacation. Apparently he left yesterday for his summer cabin or whatever. His pace in the last ten days of the campaign was such he needed down time. Long Sleeps, ordinary meals, some nice walks in the woods or whatever.

More important, the people who actually manage this campaign need time to design the next two and a half months. If a campaign is to take and keep initiative, it requires a design which integrates all the facets. And all the facets need to be about adding voters to the now existant base. Thus the planning has to be about what resources to use to attract the additional votes. A great deal of careful analysis has to go into this sort of planning -- so the best deal is for the Candidate to go on Vacation, and let the polling folk, the ad makers, the schedulers, the advance event teams, the press and message spokespersons, the budget and fund raising folk, and all the rest to first get some sleep, and then sit around a round table, and knock out an outline for the campaign between mid August and November. The Candidate should not actually participate in this except at a distance (Does Ned like Fishing perhaps?) but when it is in draft form, then there needs to be a serious run-through. Essentially the Campaign team has to identify where the votes they need to win are actually located geographically, demographically, and culturally -- and then plan to get them with the assets available. Campaign Management is about doing this intelligently, deliberately and to the end of adding slices of voters to your camp. For instance, I notice Edwards is coming to CT the 17th of August -- he did well in the 2004 primary, so who were his organizers and leadership? -- you delibertly use that visit to add them to the Lamont Team with Edwards Blessings. Then they get the mission of expanding their own reach. You hand off to them the precincts where Edwards did well in 2004, but Lieberman did reasonably well in 2006 -- and you get them working to flip votes and grow the Lamont numbers. When it is time to close the deal, then the Candidate does an event and seals the bargain. Planning for using something like the Edwards asset this way is what I mean by Campaign Design...you think through how to direct a series of persuaders toward a particular target voter demographic, and then when it is ripe, close the deal.

I frankly think Lieberman and his new and independent campaign is likely to crash and burn. He's fired his staff, and has to hire another, but in the meantime, he is running full out on emotion and anger, and he has no real campaign plan, and won't have till he installs a new staff. I suspect Lieberman is going to be as hard to "Manage" as Kathleen Harris. If the new Management are not long time Lieberman associates, the chemistry may never be right. My guess is Joe doesn't really comprehend good management.

I've long believed the greatest ever Campaign and Political Manager was Louis Howe, who died in 1936, but was with FDR from the time he was in the NY State Legislature till he died. He could not have been more opposite FDR -- he was a short pudgy guy, always had the ash of his Sweet Cabarol Smokes down the front of his unpressed suits, had been a political Journalist covering the back rooms around Albany -- but he met FDR when he was first elected, and for some reason they just clicked. From then on till 1936 it was the partnership of a Conductor and the star violin soloist. Since Lieberman has not really run a competitive race for years -- I don't believe he has ever grown this kind of relationship. It shows. You really don't go out and hire a hand to manage.

One of these days there will be a fine PHD Thesis to be done comparing and contrasting Louis Howe and Karl Rove. In a way, Howe had the "good fortune" to die in his prime, just as FDR was elected to his second term. Moreover, Howe was always in the background. Otherwise, there are many similarities worth understanding.

Sara, loved your comment as I usually do. I completely agree with you that Lieberman's independent run will fizzle. He comes from a moment in history and a political culture in which you could win simply by having enough money to dominate TV -- he may not have that and circumstances have changed enough so that far more targeted, human intensive, campaigning is required. And I sure wouldn't want to have to try to manage him -- bundles of self-centered emotion make lousy candidates. Any half-baked attack will throw them off message and plan.

I've taken a slightly different tack on all this -- tried to think a little about what a Lamont victory actually does mean to the popular movement for an non-belligerent foreign policy. Elites are never going to forswear simply bashing their way through perceived obstacles (countries) unless there is something of a popular resistance to such behavior. This, currently very weak, force needs to create a context that makes it harder for our rulers to embrace wars. We're not doing very well on this, but such is one strand of what we need.

Well, the other asset Lamont has ready and available right now is Wes Clark, and if you read his statements on Lamont's win on Tuesday, you'll see he is ready to roll into CT, the sooner the better.

Clark is precisely what the Democratic Party needs across the board right now -- someone with total crediability as a Military Officer, vast accomplishment indicated by the commands he held -- but someone who has thought deeply about diplomacy and how to integrate the two in creative and ultimately less than violent ways. Particularly if you Link Clark with his old partner, Dick Holbrooke, you can put forward a far smarter approach than anything coming out of the current administration.

So if I were managing Lamont's campaign, I would organize forums -- meetings of perhaps 150-200 persons drawn from the Foreign Policy circles in CT -- retired and reserve military, International Business with real concerns about security matters, -- many of these would be Independents and Republicans -- but this is a general election, and I would ask Clark, Holbrooke, and some of those other Generals who have been speaking out against Bush/Cheney and Rumsfeld to do a series of forums designed to identify Lamont as the choice most likely to end the current disasterous military policy. I might also use such a forum as part of a package for organizing students from Yale, Weslyan, and U of CT in the early fall, when they are back on campus, but there is still time to register and vote. The degree to which the Lamont Campaign can be understood as treating this segment of the CT Voters seriously, treating them to some real brain food that is about how to minimize violence, is in my mind a total plus. He needs this segment of the electorate no matter what their party ID, and they will never be brought along by a traditional peace movement.

If it works in CT -- then it could also be extended to a number of other states where similar groups can be identified among the electorate.

I hate to say it, but Dem's never can win in this environment with a traditional Peace Movement approach, but with leadership like Clark we can reposition to a smart, realistic, violence minimizing position that I believe would be very attractive to many voters. And you send in an accomplished four-star General to make that case.

Well, the other asset Lamont has ready and available right now is Wes Clark, and if you read his statements on Lamont's win on Tuesday, you'll see he is ready to roll into CT, the sooner the better.

Clark is precisely what the Democratic Party needs across the board right now -- someone with total crediability as a Military Officer, vast accomplishment indicated by the commands he held -- but someone who has thought deeply about diplomacy and how to integrate the two in creative and ultimately less than violent ways. Particularly if you Link Clark with his old partner, Dick Holbrooke, you can put forward a far smarter approach than anything coming out of the current administration.

So if I were managing Lamont's campaign, I would organize forums -- meetings of perhaps 150-200 persons drawn from the Foreign Policy circles in CT -- retired and reserve military, International Business with real concerns about security matters, -- many of these would be Independents and Republicans -- but this is a general election, and I would ask Clark, Holbrooke, and some of those other Generals who have been speaking out against Bush/Cheney and Rumsfeld to do a series of forums designed to identify Lamont as the choice most likely to end the current disasterous military policy. I might also use such a forum as part of a package for organizing students from Yale, Weslyan, and U of CT in the early fall, when they are back on campus, but there is still time to register and vote. The degree to which the Lamont Campaign can be understood as treating this segment of the CT Voters seriously, treating them to some real brain food that is about how to minimize violence, is in my mind a total plus. He needs this segment of the electorate no matter what their party ID, and they will never be brought along by a traditional peace movement.

If it works in CT -- then it could also be extended to a number of other states where similar groups can be identified among the electorate.

I hate to say it, but Dem's never can win in this environment with a traditional Peace Movement approach, but with leadership like Clark we can reposition to a smart, realistic, violence minimizing position that I believe would be very attractive to many voters. And you send in an accomplished four-star General to make that case.

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