There is nothing like a realization of how wrong your political instincts were, to fight a severe case of blog block. In late 2006, as the Barack Obama juggernaut was slowly inching toward its first station, I wrote the following: “I find myself not convinced of the efficacy of an Obama 2008 campaign. If he decides to enter the race he shall receive a lot of media attention and shall be considered – initially – a front-runner. However, as some have noted, the honeymoon is likely to be short. Remember Howard Dean was the media darling in 2004. Mr. Obama has yet to be given a through vetting, or face a substantial opponent; this is unlikely to happen in the primary season. Especially if Clinton seeks her opposition research on him. I am not sure how well Obama would do in rough and tumble politics, when the microscope is on him and what he has done.” Now to be sure, I was not alone in my assessment of Obama’s chances – or Clinton’s strengths – but it nonetheless stings. Obama’s team should that they have the skill and strategic insight to out wit and out maneuver one of the most experienced political teams.
Where many focus on his “change message” as the most important aspect of his win, I would argue that his teams relentless focus on “delegate math”, a strategic focus on getting delegates (not overall vote totals), led to an emphasis on the ground game and in particular organizing caucus states to ensure wins. This shows an acute awareness of what matters in American elections, it is not the total vote that matters, but the delegate (or ELECTORS). Clinton can comfort herself with the fact that she won the “popular vote” but much like Al Gore (in 2000), that is not what matters.
Congratulations to team Obama.