02 March 2008

When the going gets tough,

The losers get stupid.

Hilary Clinton's campaign is in trouble so her team produces a beautiful 30 second television spot.  It's just a tiny bit more sophisticated than the famous anti-Goldwater spot from the '64 campaign, but not by much.

Problem:  It's a great ad for John McCain. Someone who already knows the world's leaders, who knows the military and who has been tested before?  Yep a navy pilot who's been in combat, spent time in a North Vietnamese prison and who has been around the block more times than Monica's little blue dress.

Sometimes in politics, when the going gets tough, the losers get desperate or in this case stupid, which adds up to the same thing.





For good measure, here's the classic "Daisy" spot from the 1964 campaign. LBJ versus Goldwater.

When people talk about attack ads, this is the grandmother of them all.

But notice that it was aimed outward from LBJ, instead inward, as in the Hilary spot.

Nice concept.  Wrong client.

And even if it is suppose to be a pre-emptive strike, it's hardly good strategy to shoot yourself in the foot before someone else shoots you.






Uppus datum:  Charles Cheeseman made some valid comments on this original posted and he linked to Obama's response spot. Incidentally, do yourself a big favour and go visit Charles own' blog.

The Obama response is another reason why Clinton's spot turned out to be a dud.

For starters, Obama got to take a simple line:  "It's judgment that matters."  But look at the spot and you'll see a bunch of other smart, simple things.  For example, it steals the opening visuals from Hilary.  Then it rams them down her throat by showing Obama with visuals and a voice over that talk of his security background.

Notice especially the reference to Obama working with Luger on arms control.

That would be Republican Senator Richard Luger from Indiana.  Security initiatives, apparently blessed by a stalwart Republican and all of this airing in a state where security and Republicans are big.  Heck, even Texas Democrats make Stephen Harper look like a wimp.

This spot really plays well to Obama's strengths.  Yes, he's a Democrat, but he appeals to moderate Republicans and Independents much like Clinton and other Southern Democrats have tended to do.

And if all that wasn't enough, the thing is done cheaply and quickly.  You gotta like that:  on time, on target and under budget.

Consider as well, that in the current polling Obama and Clinton are in a tight race among Texas Democrats.

The latest poll has Clinton ahead in Ohio, but tied with Obama in Texas. That pretty much runs the same in other recent polling.

Obama's spot might be a shade more effective because his message is simple and right in front of your face.

Clinton's is a bit too subtle. Add to that the data in the second poll link She already owns "experience" as a quality and experience was the second most important quality among those voters polled.

She gets her doors blown off by Obama as the "change" candidate, but on the issues question, they are tied. What Hilary needed in Texas  - if this polling is accurate -  was something demonstrate that she and the voters were speaking the same language on the same issues.

It's a fundamental strategic question:  where do you put your effort, since resources are always limited?  If Clinton needs to pick up votes, she's not going to get them by playing to a point she already dominates. Bear in mind that in that same polling, her identified supporters are pretty much solid in their choice.  Obama's aren't as solid. Once you hit a certain number - like 93% - it gets progressively harder and harder to win every additional point.

Solely from the standpoint of cost-effectiveness, it's more profitable to put energy somewhere else.  It's like running as a candidate for the Liberals or the New Democrats federally in St. John's.  The Tory vote is pretty much a solid block.  Play up your Tory credentials or sound like a Tory in the mistaken belief you need to be a Tory to win the seat and you are pretty much wasting your time.  More people vote against Tories federally than vote for 'em.  Tories usually win because the non-Tory vote is split.  There are way more votes to be had with far less effort and cost on the left than on the right.

Lots of candidates make those strategic errors.

let's see after the Texas primary whether Hilary chose wisely or not.