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Here we go again with the old, stupid analysis of the 2008 campaign

The NYTimes has a piece up about Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s new data guru.

Woah! Hillary hired a data guru?? This changes EVERYTHING. Wow, if she had only had this dude back in 2008, the whole campaign would have been different! He’s a game changer. He likes “social media”. That’s something new to the Clintons. Her supporters, you know, those old, uneducated, working class, mouth breathers have probably never even heard of twitter and Facebook and sophisticated stuff like that.

{{snicker!}}

Either the NYTimes is setting out to deliberately insult us and the Clinton campaign or it really believes that Barack Obama “won” the nomination due to his technological superpowers.

There is nothing wrong with bringing in new consultants and if Robby Mook can bring something special to the table by his mastery of SpotFire and other data analytical tools, more power to him.

But, please, let us dispense with the notion of Barack Obama “winning” through advanced and sophisticated use of data. That is not what happened. No, Obama “won” because a flood of money was pumped into the coffers of the Democratic party in February 2008 from a bunch of sophisticated wealthy donors on Wall Street and probably a good many of them were country club Republicans who were more than happy to flirt with the other side in order to avoid financial disaster that they knew was coming. They used that money to buy off super delegates, many of whom were running for office. The party put pressure on everyone to turn away from the Clintons.

Hillary was winning handily in February of that year. Her only problem at that time was that the party deliberately withheld her wins in Florida and Michigan in order to make it look like a tight race and that Barack Obama was starting to overtake her.

It was a matter of managed perceptions. That’s all. The use of data did not help Barack Obama in California, Florida, Michigan (where he wasn’t even on the ballot), Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Texas, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum. He lost those states, sometimes by significant margins. Obama didn’t win any of these big Democratic states with the exception of, what? Illinois? He won places like Utah. OoooOOOooo! So much data to sift through in Utah. Indeed, the biggest scandal involving the Clintons was how they were betrayed by their own party in 2008.

As for the general election, Obama’s only real triumph was that he successfully ran against Sarah Palin.

Ta-da!

Can we just stop with these silly hagiographic legends of Obama’s strategic intelligence already?? Clinton’s contingent wasn’t old or unsophisticated. Oh, look! I can install, manage and use WordPress! I have a twitter account! I hate Facebook for many reasons but I know how users are manipulated on it. Indeed, I know how DailyKos was turned into a giant focus group for people like Robby Mook to data mine. There are many, many Clinton supporters who know how to use a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc. How does that make me different from an Obot except I actually know when I’m being manipulated?

It’s not that I’m irritated, frustrated or offended by the constant mischaracterization of Clinton’s contingent. It’s that this narrative of old, unsophisticated and technologically behind Clinton overlooks the reason why she was winning so many states and had such a devoted, dedicated following. What the media missed in 2008 was that Hillary Clinton came into her own in 2008. She started off tentatively, relying too heavily on Mark Penn’s own version of data analytics, but became burnished by the fire of being the perceived underdog whether that was true or not.

We saw her fight in the rain, on the back of flatbed trucks, through the heckles of “why won’t she quit??” and “brush the dirt of my shoulders” and “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one” and she kept on going and going like the Energizer Bunny. Adversity made her amazing. She was the one everyone wanted precisely because she wasn’t bought and paid for and gently carried over the finish line.

Data did not make Barack Obama a great politician. It didn’t even help him win. Take away the giant Charlotte’s Web that was paid for by America’s Most Wanted and you have an inexperienced, ruthlessly ambitious guy who has proven to be out of his depth, just as we predicted he would be.

So, it’s great to see Robby Mook join the throng. I hope he is as tirelessly devoted to her as she deserves and doesn’t, you know, sell her donors’ list to the highest bidder. Just do your job, Robby, and do it well. She is more than capable of doing the rest.

13 Responses

  1. Unpromising name, but I hope Mook is great-really great.
    Just as long as Hillary doesn’t nurture another Patti Mole-is Doyle at her bosom.

  2. Obviously, I agree with every word of your post.
    It’s well written and Irrefutable.

    • Good news. The Andrea Mitchell haircut responded well to washing all of the product out of my hair and a good working over with a round brush. Why stylists insist on ironing my hair within an inch of its life, I’ll never understand. But it bounced back well so, I do not have to hide from public after all.

  3. /Off topic, but has anyone seen the news release covering Valerie Jarretts’ leaking of Hillary’s private email usage???? Disgusting!

    • Haven’t seen it but not surprised. I never bought the idea that Obama and the Clintons have been kissy face all these years. I’m betting that the antipathy and rancor goes to the bone and the Clintons have done their best to be good party loyalists.
      But think about it this way, there seems to be a lot of people on both the right and the left who are trying very, very hard to make sure Hillary Clinton does not reach the Oval Office. I don’t believe it’s all about personal rivalry. There are too many interests who seem to be motivated.
      It makes me even more committed to seeing her elected if all the people I can’t stand are against her.

    • I haven’t seen it, yet, I’m over my daily allotment of outrage.

      There’s an article in Salon (along with Slate, Hillary haters’ he-men headquarters) stating that Hillary can’t win because she’s an elitist. Hillary, the daughter of a fabric salesman and a woman who hired herself out as a maid during the depression?
      Yes, her father became a successful businessman and moved his family into the middle class. That was the quintessential American story back when it was possible to do it.
      Well, hipsters and fundies, alike, which is it?
      Are the Clintons dirty, nose pickin’ Hillarybillies, or are they out of touch, snotty elitists?
      Good luck painting Clinton as the elitist, if Jeb Bush is the Republican candidate. Of course, that worked for Shrub.

      • Whether one is an elitist or not depends on whom one serves and supports, not necessarily what class one came from. FDR, for example, came from Aristocracy but decided to serve the Populace to an extent. Nixon came from lower class roots but decided to serve the elite.

        Whom or what would a candidate Clinton wish to serve? Certainly more the populace more than Obama wanted to. But the Obamachanges are locked in for now. What would Clinton like to see done going forward? She will hopefully make it clear in the campaign.

  4. I’m a longtime lurker who’s found a lot of the commentary here very refreshing (though you might not like where I end up in this post). Every time I’ve criticized Obama’s performance and policies during the last six years I’ve used the framing and language I’ve found here and in a couple of other places. In a very real sense, I have experienced a different Obama presidency than most people I know precisely because of what I’ve read here and elsewhere.

    But though I’ve been with you all the way with regard to Obama’s failures, betrayals, and spinelessness, I’ve never quite understood your admiration of either Clinton. (I honestly can’t tell if Obama is spineless or just a liar.) While Obama used Wall Street money to bash Hillary Clinton, it was Bill Clinton’s economic team that got their way and finished setting the stage for the 2008 crash. Sure, the Republicans started building that stage but Clinton helped them finish it. What have I missed? I don’t understand what you think is so great about Bill Clinton. One of his great political successes was NAFTA, which started the race to the bottom we’ve been living with since the nineties.

    As for Hillary, though I liked her more in 2008 I could never get past the fact she voted for the Patriot Act, voted for the Iraq war, and then voted to re-authorize the Patriot Act. I knew Bush was lying, everyone who had a functioning brain knew Bush was lying, why didn’t she know? Obama later acted as cravenly as her when he pretended to oppose re-authorization and then voted for it anyway. Then he lied about closing Guantanamo. The he failed on healthcare reform by bargaining away the public option. Then he..the list goes on. There’s no point in recounting all of Obama’s cravenness and lying because we’ve all seen it for six and a half years now.
    But going back to the Iraq vote, though I’m not a one issue voter this was arguably the most important vote of her life. And she failed. Twenty-one other Democrats in the Senate knew better. Why didn’t she? I later served with with people whose lives are indelibly marked by that war. When she came into the Senate I was sure she’d eventually run for president. And I trusted her more than I ever did Bill Clinton. Until the Iraq vote.

    What am I failing to see? Sure, Obama is mostly a damned failure. He sold out average Americans to Wall Street and his foreign policy is a mess. But what’s so great about H. Clinton?

    • I think I understand your perplexity. Over the past 7 years, I’ve gone over this territory quite a number of times. I’m not going to go over it in detail today. But I do want to talk about something I think is the key to the whole Hillary/Obama mystery. There is genuine value in experience. A person who has spent a lot of time in government in various capacities has a lot of it. When we talk about the Clintons, we are talking about years of accumulated experience in many different areas and two major branches of government. We are talking about people who have done statewide politics and federal politics. They have foreign policy experience and legislative experience. Think of the first job you ever had. Now, think about all of the things you have learned since then. What you are today is a product of the opportunities you were presented, the risks you took, the envelopes you pushed. At one time, all these things were outside your comfort zone. But you either taught yourself on the job or you got an education or you learned from the experience of others. And with experience and accumulated knowledge and colleagues that you’ve known and worked with, comes power. For the Clintons, that power is substantial. They didn’t come into Washington knowing everything but they know quite a bit now.
      Back in 2008, the financiers had a choice of two candidates to back. One had experience, a mentor, and a lot of mojo. That person would have known how to stand up for herself and which buttons to push, who to call and what to look for. She wouldn’t have been easy to control.
      The other was a senator from Illinois with less than a single term to his name in Washington. He’d never worked on major legislation and all of the friends he had in Washington were bought for him.
      If you were a big money entity and you saw a looming catastrophe coming at you and you wanted to make sure you controlled what happened to you, which one would you choose?

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