A Tale of Two Campaigns

They say that the way a politician campaigns gives us a glimpse into how they govern.  Especially when the prize is an executive office, this makes a lot of sense considering that the candidate is effectively the CEO of his or her own campaign.

As a result, it’s interesting to watch these two presidential campaigns as we head into the final week of this election.  Doing so not only gives us insight as to who is likely to win the presidential campaign, but also who would be a more effective president.

It is interesting to observe the McCain campaign now in these final days.  At the onset of the Republican primaries, Team McCain was bloated, and top heavy.  In some ways it is probably a blessing that McCain got hit hard with the immigration issue so early on because it forced him to shed a lot of his campaign and while to many his operation appeared to be bare bones going into the primary contests, it was in all actuality streamlined and now more efficient.

But the paring down of the McCain campaign was hardly the least of its worries, and since clinching the primary earlier this year there have been countless stories of insurrection leaking out as well as a major campaign shake up as McCain weeded out lobbyists from his ranks (note that some key former lobbyists such as campaign manager Rick Davis still remain).

Sloppy and erratic, I don’t think any student of politics would be surprised at the inner turmoil bubbling out onto the front page of the campaign, but it is a little shocking to learn that the highest profile member to break ranks is none other than the Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.  According to McCain insiders, Palin has “gone rogue,” and has gone off the reservation a number of times, the most recent of which being just yesterday when Palin decided to bring up her $150,000 wardrobe.

McCain staffers were hoping to just move on from the story, and probably they were right to do so (For a bit of cognitive dissonance that could leave you cross-eyed, check out McCain/Palin surrogate Elisabeth Hasselback as she chides the media for discussing Palin’s wardrobe right before… wait for it… discussing Palin’s wardrobe).

For a candidate who said we needed a steady hand at the wheel, McCain’s campaign has been anything but steady.  By contrast, note that the Barack Obama campaign has been as smooth as silk for the nearly two years it has been on the trail.  With the exception of one foreign policy aide who resigned from the campaign due to her ill-fated decision to refer to Hillary Clinton as a “monster,” the Obama campaign staff now looks essentially the same as it did when the primary season began.

We see exactly how temperate the Obama campaign has been in this NYT piece that ran over the weekend.  While the erratic McCain campaign has flailed from one tactic to the next under the stewardship of Steve Schmidt, Team Obama has been on point and on message from day one, making hardly any changes to their strategic approach to the White House, their staff, or their strategy.

What this does is create a tale of two campaigns, a tale which reflects not only on the next seven days but also on the next four years.  The McCain campaign is characterized by infighting, desperation, and an “every man for himself” attitude that will lead undoubtedly to more dissonant messaging as they grasp about for the right note over the next seven days.  The Obama campaign is even, methodical, and functioning at optimal levels.  They are efficient, and are able to produce tangible results.

To be honest, I’ll go with the president that can produce tangible results.

2 Responses to “A Tale of Two Campaigns”

  1. Craig says:

    One could argue that being a frontrunner for so long can make it much easier to resist veering off the high road or in developing a conflict over a general strategy, but your point is well taken, overall.

  2. tw says:

    I believe the Obama camp has been flawless and perfect as much as I believe Barack Obama himself is flawless and perfect. Obama’s campaign is great so he should be elected . McCain’s campaign has not been like Obama’s campaign so he should not be elected. What kind of simplistic and foolish reasoning is that?

    Should anything go awry in the Obama camp no one would report it anyway. We’ve been onto that one for awhile. It’s grotesquely obvious.

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