Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama campaign organization daunting to challengers

January 24, 2009


The long, tough and extremely costly 2008 U.S. presidential race ended this past November, about two and a half months ago. The inauguration, again a costly affair attended by the largest crowd in history for such an occasion, took place only four days ago.

It seems reasonable to think there might be a period of rest and relaxation after such a long, tiring, emotional and stressful campaign at the local, state and national levels, but the 2010 congressional races and the 2012 and 2016 presidential races already are under way.

Based on the manner in which the Barack Obama team put together its campaign efforts, it appears Republican presidential hopefuls are likely to remain just that: hopefuls.

There’s no question that Obama strategists already are designing their 2012 re-election plans and looking at how to strengthen their congressional majority in the 2010 elections.

This past December, the Dole Institute of Politics at Kansas University hosted the “2008 Post-Election Conference” with a number of senior aides from the Obama, McCain, Huckabee, Edwards, Clinton, Romney, Giuliani and Thompson campaigns on hand to discuss how they designed their respective efforts, what went right and what went wrong.

As gifted as these nationally known and highly respected political campaign strategists may be, there is no question that the two senior Obama advisers — Steve Hildebrand and Matt Rodriguez — who helped run the hands-on, day-to-day campaign, were far ahead of their peers in putting together a powerful, well-designed and tremendously well-funded campaign.

Details of their efforts, the money they had available, the hundreds of thousands of volunteers, the information they gained about thousands of these volunteers, the signed pledges they collected from individuals making financial and time commitments and the staffing of most every contested election throughout the United States all dwarfed the efforts of the other campaigns.

Obama operatives put together a terrific campaign plan and executed it in a superb manner, leaving other Democratic challengers in a state of shock and disbelief, as well as leaving GOP hopefuls in the dust.

When it came time for the showdown between Obama and McCain, Obama’s election effort was so well designed and engineered — and with almost unlimited funding — it was surprising McCain did as well as he did.

Obama, an excellent, tireless and focused campaigner and a superb orator, was running for “change.” Although President Bush faced more serious situations than most any recent president — two wars, 9/11, terrorism, two massive natural disasters, housing and financial crises and many other challenges — he governed during a record-breaking 52 months of growth and the strongest economy of any developed country. Nonetheless, Obama and his handlers were skilled in using the last year or two of Bush’s presidency as the primary reason to defeat McCain.

McCain was the head-to-head opponent for Obama, but Democrats had been demonizing Bush for eight years. And, in many ways, the GOP was split between moderates and the more conservative wing of the party.

This being the case, the well-organized, well-funded and almost evangelical commitment of Obama supporters led to a massive Obama win.

It was so well organized, there is every reason to believe the hundreds of thousands of Obama volunteers already are being reorganized and will be used in many ways. There will be plans to use these Obama soldiers to lobby at the state and national levels for support of the Obama agenda. They will be used to recruit individuals to run for local, state and national offices and will be asked to give financial support to the party’s coffers at local, state and national levels.

This being the case, it is clear any GOP challenger in 2010, 2012 or 2016 is going to face a terrific uphill battle.

Obama will get most any reasonable plan through the Democratic-controlled Congress, and, at least for some time, he will have the support of many of the nation’s major media outlets who showed their bias during the just-completed campaign.

It appears the only danger he faces in his re-election dreams will be if his Democratic-controlled Congress fails to measure up in the eyes of the public. Will he be able to satisfy the more liberal members of his party? And just how far will he steer this nation to greater government control of our lives?

By 2012, Obama could have 50 percent or more of Americans paying no federal taxes and possibly be on the way to having free health care. If that comes to pass, it will be extremely difficult for any Obama challenger, within his party or in the GOP, to have much of a chance of winning. What would cause the majority of Americans paying no taxes, getting free medical care and counting on the government to take care of their basic needs to vote for a candidate who suggested they should pay some taxes and not count on the government for free handouts?

The “free lunch” approach, socialism and setting up class against class, is a subtle but effective way to gain powerful control over a sizable portion of the populace.

Is there anyone in the GOP who would be able to mount a sufficiently powerful, well-funded and skillfully executed presidential campaign in 2012? Is there anyone in the GOP ranks who is a serious possibility for the 2016 campaign and, even if there is, have Obama organizers put in place such a formidable bank of trained volunteers and huge reserves of money that well-qualified challengers will decide not to enter the race?

If the first two years of Obama’s presidency are marked with major successes, it’s likely Democrats will be able to hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate, reversing the usual off-year election gains by the minority party.

Obama and his brain trust put together a textbook campaign, starting in 2004, maybe even before that, and now they are enjoying the success of such planning.

There’s no way of knowing what will happen during the next two years, domestically or abroad. However, if Republicans are to have any chance of picking up seats in the House and Senate in 2010 and giving Obama a serious challenge in 2012, they are going to have to reorganize, be far more aggressive and visionary in their efforts. They also will have to encourage and support excellent men and women to be candidates, individuals who are smart, articulate and inspiring, who merit the public’s trust and confidence.

It’s not an easy or promising challenge.


Scott Tichenor 9 years, 5 months ago

This kind of verbal meandering and Republican hand wringing I'd expect from the editor of the Russell News in "Dole Country" from a paper published twice a week for a captive Christian conservative audience. I expect better, which is why I stopped my LJW newspaper subscription earlier this week. This is not journalism. This is Kris Kobach style scare tactics posing as a newspaper editorial. No one's getting fooled here.Good conservative style journalism can be found in plenty of places on the web. This is not good journalism.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 5 months ago

I have come up with only two positives in this article.Personally, I think he is better than Cal Thomas, who for some strange reason gets paid to write dumb columns.It is good to see how the Cons in this state think..or not think.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

In the spirit of generosity, I'll follow Tim Miller's example and give Dolph a "C+" for this editorial.

nobody1793 9 years, 5 months ago

If politicians spent half as much time actually trying to solve problems as they do planning their next campaigns, they'd get so much accomplished that they'd be a shoe-in for re-election.

dawn 9 years, 5 months ago

Oh come on, Dolph! What a creepy, caustic article!Obama didn't win JUST because he had a cracker jack team. He won because he's a moral, gifted leader. And the world rejoiced.George and Dick were an international disaster. Accept it and move on!

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 5 months ago

This continuing talk of BO being "socialist" is so dumb.This country has FULLY embraced Medicare and SOCIAL Security. These are far more social than anything BO will ever present.Bush shucked aside his conservative beliefs and presented the country with a 750 billion dollar boondoggle which was ill-conceived and planned. Talk about socialism. Disgusting.Go ahead and stick your heads in the sand but the truth hurts.

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

What makes Dolph think there will even be an election in 2012?

womanwarrior 9 years, 5 months ago

"They also will have to encourage and support excellent men and women to be candidates, individuals who are smart, articulate and inspiring, who merit the public’s trust and confidence.It’s not an easy or promising challenge."No, it won't be easy. The smart, articulate and inspiring people have abandoned the Republican party.

notajayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

A bit premature to make these kinds of assumptions. In four years, the election will be decided based on how Obama's doing. He can have all the money in the world, if the economy worsens (and it likely will) and people are asking themselves (and answering honestly) if they're worse off than before, he'll lose. One thing history has demonstrated is that the American voting public is pretty fickle, and very unforgiving. He (and his numerous parroting supporters) can cry all he wants that it will take longer than four years to correct prior problems, but the same voters who demanded 'change' (for the sake of nothing but change) will demand another if he doesn't produce.*******beobachter (Anonymous) says… "The fact that almost all tax cuts have been aimed at rich upper class people? Is it fair that only the rich pay no taxes due to the many loop holes the right wing has provided?"A mind is such a terrible thing to waste. One can only conclude from Beo's constant whining that he doesn't have a job and has never paid taxes. The middle class is doing much better, tax wise, thanks to the Bush tax cuts. But Beo has never let luttle things like facts get in the way of a good rant.

humblecommentator 9 years, 5 months ago

  I take issue with one word in this Saturday Column.  It is the word "massive" in the 12th paragraph. Obama's win was not all that massive.  He received only 53% of the popular vote.     Both in the primaries and general election, Obama's victory was largely a technical and lucky one.  In the primaries he won by on-the-ground organization in the caucus states which Hillary did not contest in an adquate way.  In the general election Obama was "lucky" that the stock market crashed and that McCain's response was inadequate.    Obama may not continue to be so lucky as domestic and international events unfold.  As Americans, of course, we hope that his luck continues, that the natural economic forces restore the economy and that foreign events trend our way.  We must also hope that whatever Obama does is effective in restoring things soon.  We must especially hope that he does not prolong bad news for political benefit and timing relative to the 2010 election.    How would a similarly talented and organized Republican candidate and party approach things?  What would Reagan do?  These are the questions to ponder with the luxury of a little time and as we wait to see how things unfold.

camper 9 years, 5 months ago

I disagree, the reason McCain lost ( I think he may have even thrown the election on purpose) was his choice of Vice President. Then he tried to fake everyone into believing that they were Joe the Plumber whose next paycheck was going to be 500 grand, and then further fake them into believing that a 3% graduated tax increase was a threat to their business. Give me a break. I actually like McCain, but he surely had some bad consultants who made him think the American public would buy this nonsense.

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with camper that McCain threw the election. That is supported by the fact that he did not pursue recounts in areas where there was obvious voter registration fraud perpetrated by pro-Obama forces.Obama has a free ride for at least 8 years if his "stimulus" plan is implemented. In effect, it makes a majority of the country dependent on government hand outs through tax credits or actual welfare or employment. When the majority of the voters are on the government take, they will always, always, vote for the guy that feeds them the most....even if it is pure BS.

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

"This whole “Red Scare, Part II” is really hilarious. All of these old white men are such fear mongers."And why do you think that is?

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

Yep, from Tuesday on, you guys are responsible for the whole shebang. Bang Bang.

Godot 9 years, 5 months ago

shoulda said, "bop bop a rebop. doo rop. bam bam - tooty fruity.......toooty fruity.....toooty fruity.....toooty fruity.....

Babaloo 9 years, 3 months ago

Wow Dolph! That was a pathetically "yellow" column today. You have several complaints that lay blame on a less than 60 day old presidency that fail to consider the situation would be remarkably similar, no matter who had been elected in November. You say we have the largest debt in the nations history like the current administration and congress just created it in the last two months. You say this budget is the largest in the history of mankind but clearly don't realize that, with the situation we're in as a failing nation, so would have been John McCain's budget. You gripe about our government having to control portions of banking, housing, education, energy and health care and I ask you, which one of those things has the free market capitalism not entirely raped? We wouldn't be in this boat if people of your like mind didn't say for the last two decades that we can trust sectors of the economy to properly self regulate. It's not socialism, it's common sense. What you are for hasn't worked. It's time to try something else. If that fails, as most of you and your ilk are so arrogantly "rooting" for, well then, we're all screwed now aren't we? That will be the result all the "conservatives" like you are looking for - a financially bankrupt and failed nation - just because you don't like what we stand for.

  • Rooting for - not against - a better economy.

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