Don't Get Cocky

by: Mike Lux

Thu Feb 14, 2008 at 12:45

( - promoted by Mike Lux)

My old friend David Plouffe was in the paper today saying Obama has this thing wrapped up in terms of pledged delegates; that there is hardly any chance at all at losing the pledged delegate count. My advice to my old friends in the Obama campaign is please, please do not get overconfident, do not project overconfidence, do not act like you won this thing. This election is moving in your direction. The dynamics are in your favor. You have the ability to build a lead in delegates that the Superdelegates are not going to change, and would not have the guts to change if they wanted to, but you can still blow it.

This campaign has had more ups and downs than any campaign in my lifetime, and the Obama campaign right now has the momentum and the dynamics in their favor, but friends, you can still blow this thing by getting cocky. The way you blow it is by getting dreamy and taking your eye off the ball the way you did after Iowa. You thought you had it won after Iowa too. You didn't, and you haven't now. Please, for your sake, and for the sake of all your supporters who are so eager for your victory, do not start floating on air. Do not get overconfident, because that is the worst thing that could happen to you.

Update: I have talked to the Obama campaign since doing this post, and they explain that Dave (Plouffe) was just trying to make the case that the delegate numbers look good for them, and that they are in no way getting over-confident. I was glad to hear it.  

Mike Lux :: Don't Get Cocky

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Don't Get Cocky | 23 comments
I agree wholeheartedly (0.00 / 0)
In fact, I'm watching the Clinton machine getting it's engine kick-started. Words like "platitude,"  and "cult" are starting to gain traction in the MSM. Penn may have ham-fisted his "solutions" versus "promises," but Hillary delivers this point with MUCH more savvy.

This is when you redouble your efforts, not exult in past accomplishments. If you exult, you deserve to lose. This is just the beginning. You still have to beat Hillary, McCain, and THEN deliver the promises you're making.

We've barely finished singing the National Anthem. I don't see the fat lady singing.

Deep breath and clear head for the fight ahead (4.00 / 1)
Mike's got it exactly right here.

I'm a strong Obama supporter. Heck, I'd never contributed to any campaign before (I'm 26), and I've given twice to Obama this primary season. I'll probably give again, because I believe in his vision of America and the platform he stands on.

However - Obama has to win this election to do these things that our country so desperately needs. To that end,

We all need to breathe,

Calm ourselves,

And square our shoulders for the contests to come.

We can do this - Yes, we can - but that's the thing: we've got to DO it.

Whoa... I thought I was reading something (0.00 / 0)
I wrote and forgot about.  I'm 26 and have never donated to a campaign before.  And I've given twice to Obama also.

I wish there was a virtual face slap I could give his supporters and some of his advisers (ie Plouffe) for all this overconfidence.

[ Parent ]
Slow and steady (4.00 / 1)

Obama (more than) survived Super Tuesday and has been chipping away, a contest at a time, at the notion that he isn't an effective candidate to coalesce around for victory in the general election.

And that's how the expectations have to continue. State by state, contest by contest, a series of goals with greater things in mind.

Now, more than ever, it's go time. As I instruct my students (I'm a teacher), "Don't just tell me. Show me." And so it is in life. Obama's been injecting more talk about the economy into his speeches in Wisconsin, and he needs to keep adding more of the substance that voters respond to. We know he can inspire, but now he has to lead.

[ Parent ]
My mentor has a saying for this too (0.00 / 0)
"Don't sing it to me; bring it to me".

I think we all know he can inspire and I think inspiration is an important part of leadership, but so is persistence and focus. I see his focus shifting to the emerging threat in McCain, but the campaign eye is off the ball in terms of nailing the Clinton coffin. Both opponents can be parried for a while, if Obama focuses on more comparisons between Clinton and McCain, but not if he loses focus of Clinton altogether.

Still the idea that Clinton will eke this out, while POSSIBLE, is not likely from what I know.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (0.00 / 0)
If - not when, if - we come out of March 4th victorious, then the game shifts to McCain.

Right now, we've got to remember that this primary season is white-hot. We're flying down the electoral highway a mile a minute, and even a slight slip on the steering wheel could be disastrous.

[ Parent ]
Amen! (0.00 / 0)
There are still some folks, I'm sure, who thought that Obama's Iowa victory speech was "a great speech."  I thought it was a distaster.  It came off like a pep rally.  A very good pep rally.  But, still, a pep rally.

Obama does seem to be getting better at weaving more substance into his speeches.  And clearly, there's been no taking things for granted in the post-Tsunami Tuesday primaries.  But relapsing into bad habits is soooo easy in politics, as in the rest of life.

So, again, Amen! to this message.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

I just wish someone would say this (0.00 / 0)
to his advisers. Plouffe needs to get his head out of his ass and maybe read a poll or something.  There's a ton more work to be done.

[ Parent ]
Just out of curiosity (0.00 / 0)
What did you think of his victory speech after the Potomac contests?  Is that one that you include in the first sentence of your second paragraph?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
speech. (4.00 / 1)
I only caught the tail end, but did hear him talking about some key bread and butter issues like health care, which I was glad to hear.

[ Parent ]
I'm Like Mike (0.00 / 0)
Didn't catch the whole thing. Thought that what I did hear was much improved over Iowa.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
He definitely (4.00 / 1)
put more substance into that speech.  Saw the whole thing and there was definitely more substance.  Also injected some reality about hope.  The most significant thing he said was to remind people who brought us NAFTA.  Could be a big part of his message in OH.

[ Parent ]
Adding populist/progressive substance (0.00 / 0)
I wonder what the folks in this thread think of Obama's recent "economic policy address" in Janesville, WI.  I haven't read it yet, but my understanding is that its an attempt to start fleshing out some populist/progressive policy details to what Paul describes as his "very good pep rally" speeches.

I suspect that if he can find the right balance of integrating more of this "substance" with his "inspirational" message over the next two weeks, he can do significantly better than expected in OH and TX (and then PA).  If I was running his campaign, this would be very high on my priority list.  And I think he can do this authentically, in ways that clarify that this substance is, in fact, already internally integrated with the inspirational/mobilizing element of his political strategy.  I'll be watching to see if they move in this direction and how well he and his campaign execute on it, and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

[ Parent ]
Another Ahem (4.00 / 1)
Okay, it's getting a bit boring to just keep expressing whole-hearted concurrence to this great post, but when I read that Plouffe quote in the paper I just shook my head. The Clinton campaign, even when seemingly falling apart, has managed the expectations game brilliantly. Look at all the money stuff after Super Tuesday -- they leaked that they had lent their campaign $5 mil, and the Obama people just leapt all over it, trying to use it to claim Obama was on his way to victory. Then, lo and behold, Clinton announces big fundraising numbers. Suckers. Come on you guys, it's not that hard to lower expectations.

I agree, to a point (4.00 / 4)
Thing is, Plouffe's comment was not really related to 'expectations.'  He is trying to promote the idea that the only way Clinton wins at this point is through back room deals, etc.  I think what Obama's campaign is hoping for is a 5% boost from people who just want this thing to be over with, and who would be happy with either Clinton or Obama....

Saying Clinton basically can't win pledged delegates at this point is, for this reason, not necessarily bad strategy.  I don't see the campaign taking their eye off the ball... And I don't see them making the same mistakes they made in NH (yesterday, Obama was at a town hall meeting, taking questions -- he didn't really take questions in NH, which was a big mistake, IMO).  

The campaign needs a lot of grassroots energy going forward, but I don't see any evidence that they won't/don't have it.  

Good possibility. (0.00 / 0)
You might be right, and what you are saying is what the campaign just told me as well.

[ Parent ]
Gosh, Mike! (0.00 / 0)
Are we thinking all the same thoughts here, or what?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Notice (0.00 / 0)
the exit polls from Tuesday.  They asked voters if they would be dissatisfied if the other candidate was the eventual nominee.  Both side got a significant %, but HRC's were someting in the 60% range.  

I would think the grass roots energy is at an all time high for Obama.    

[ Parent ]
Wisconsin (0.00 / 0)
I'm very worried about Wisconsin.  The way Clinton has played the expectations game, even a one vote victory would play like a landslide in the media.

I also think people misunderstand how good Clinton's ad criticizing Obama on debates, is.  It really plays to the home crowd that Obama doesn't think Wisconsin is good enough for a debate, while simultaneously making him look less serious, which is already an issue at times.

Don't know (0.00 / 0)
how many people will see this, but if I were Obama I would be getting this out somehow.  Mark Penn basically said 'I think it would be a real problem to have a candidate that hasn't won a significant state-besides ILL, to be our nominee in November.'  Talk about stupid things to say.  If enough people in Wis hear about this, it could easily trump HRC's debate ad.  Throuw in the fact that she was in tx while he was in Wis tuesday.  Also, I think tx could be an Obama win.  AA's voted in large #'s in 2004, while the Hispanic vote was down.  This somehow affects either the delegates to the caucus later, or the overall # of delegates (not sure which).  

Last thought.  How are people going to react to the negative tactics by HRC.  Not that it has gotten real 'tough' just yet, but no one seemed to like it when they went after each other before SC.  

[ Parent ]
i don't understand... (4.00 / 1) an ad that says "Obama is hiding from the people of Wisconsin" (or whatever it says exactly) can play well for Clinton when Obama is in Wisconsin all week and she is elsewhere. Anyone else struck by the contradiction here?

[ Parent ]
New Talking Point (4.00 / 1)
Can Hillary Clinton be counted on to be ready on day one?  Shouldn't she be able to run a campaign with all of her experience?  So far, her campaign has run out of money heading into the biggest primary day of the season, had the campaign manager resign 38 days after the voting started, fired the deputy campaign manager 2 days after later, and now we hear her advisers are getting into screaming matches.  

Is this the kind of readiness Hillary Clinton plans to bring to her first 100 days?    

A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!

I don't think (0.00 / 0)
there's anything to get cocky about. With Clinton out to big leads in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and precious few caucuses or southern states left, I'm not sure Obama's lead is big enough right now. Sure, it's big enough (probably) if Florida and Michigan simply send no delegates to the convention, but who honestly thinks that's going to happen? And there won't be caucuses or second primaries in either state: Their respective legislatures have made that crystal clear.

Bowers is right (in a separate diary): Wisconsin on Tuesday is a must win for BO. And that's not a caucus state and there isn't a big African American population. He was won very few -- really, almost no -- contests that don't fit either of those two categories. He's only a few points up and Hillary's got her back against the wall, which is when she performs best. If she wins Wisconsin, especially if no one expects it, BO's in rather big trouble, because the next round (TX, OH, VT, RI, all primaries) doesn't look good unless his current momentum has carried through.

I think the very fact that this diary exists is a sure sign that Obama people ARE over-confident.

Don't Get Cocky | 23 comments

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