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*** UPDATED x1 *** The legislative mindset

Friday, Sep 23, 2011

* My Sun-Times column is not intended to be a “be-all, end-all” analysis of what’s gone wrong so far, but rather a look at one particular angle. Try to keep that in mind when reading

It’s generally considered a rule of thumb that politicians with mainly legislative backgrounds do not make particularly effective chief executives. The two worlds, and their required mind-sets, are vastly different.

And, for the most part, our state’s better governors and our country’s most effective presidents for the past 100 years or so have had executive experience before moving to the top of the ladder. I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about legislatures, and I’ve been thinking lately that many of President Barack Obama’s bungles can be traced right to this issue.

Obama never really ran anything before being elected. But, more importantly, he also learned over the years to think like a legislator. Judging from afar, I don’t believe he has truly changed his mind-set.

Obama scored his biggest win in the Illinois Senate by working with Republicans to pass an ethics reform bill. It wasn’t easy. Republican Senate President Pate Philip was no reformer and was also exceedingly hostile to the minority party and minorities in general. But Obama helped fashion a compromise that could pass muster with the Republicans. It wasn’t a great bill, but it was something, and something was judged as far better than nothing. Since then, two governors have been convicted of corruption, but Obama got his bill passed, so, whatever.

When he arrived in the U.S. Senate, Obama found himself again in the minority party. One of the first things he did was attach himself to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican. He reveled in working with the other side.

Obama firmly believed his success at working with Republicans would help him be a better president. Heck, I thought the same thing during his campaign. So far, we’ve both been wrong.

After he was elected president, Obama was no longer a member of a large, mostly collegial group. Many of the same people who once gladly worked with him immediately vowed to block his every move.

Instead of realizing that the game had completely changed, Obama continued to approach Congress as if he were still a member of their club.

We all know what has happened since then. One grand plan after another was either watered down into ineffectiveness or, in the case of health-care reform, absolute confusion, or just defeated outright.

The idea always seemed to be to pass a big, sweeping, bipartisan bill, not to truly solve the problem at hand. This is a peculiarly legislative approach to life and it’s why we need a strong, involved executive to make sure things actually get done right.

Legislators regularly score points with the folks back home by talking about all the bills they’ve voted for or against, regardless of whether their vote really mattered. Sprinkle a local project here and a local project there and they’re deemed successful.

Presidents are judged on an entirely different level. Not only do they have to pass big legislation, but that big legislation has to work in the real world.

So, Obama can talk about his stimulus bill until he’s blue in the face, but the hard truth is it didn’t perform as advertised.

He can pat himself on the back for health-care reform, but nobody understands it and it’s not running yet.

And he can blame the Republicans for bringing us to the brink of default, but the president will always wear the jacket. He cannot hide within that faceless group of congressmen. He belongs to a club of one.

Legislators pass bills in order to check them off their lists. Executives have to make sure those bills actually perform as promised. Obama has never really done that, and he’s paying the price now.

*** UPDATE *** Zorn’s response

I’d add to this only that one of his appealing qualities to voters — a high-mindedness rooted in an academic’s belief that if people of good will with opposing viewpoints reason together they can move beyond partisanship to find common ground and effective compromise — seems to have been one of his biggest weaknesses.

Many voters respond to such a message and claim this is the kind of leadership they’d like to see in Washington — it was Obama’s trump card over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary contest, where she was seen as a divisive relic of the past. But in the end what they really want — and, arguably, what they need given the unbridgeable ideological differences — is a fighter.

Obama has now more than taken the measure of his Republican foes and is at last striking a much more pugnacious tone. We know you can take the President out of the legislature. Now we’ll see if you can take the legislature out of the President.


[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, the media went a bit nuts this week when it was disclosed that Rahm Emanuel would be speaking at a bit Iowa Democratic dinner on behalf of the president. It was openly discussed whether he was positioning himself for a presidential bid himself. Nope

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is not interested in running for president.

Emanuel’s decision to give a speech Nov. 19 at the biggest Democratic fundraiser before the Iowa Caucuses is fueling speculation he may be laying the groundwork for a run for the presidency in 2016.

Emanuel tried to put that speculation to rest yesterday with a little prompting, saying “no, never. Not interested.”


“I’ve done two trips already at the request of the . . . president’s re-election campaign. They’ve asked me to be a surrogate. I’ll do it. [But] I’m not interested [in running for president]. I love this job. I love the people of the city of Chicago. I love working on behalf of the taxpayers. Not interested.”

Not even in 2016?

“[Not] even if you did that dance step you just did,” the mayor told an overzealous TV reporter. “I’m NOT” interested.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:18 am:

    I don’t blame Obama for running in 2008. You gotta strike when the iron is hot, even if your resume is as thin as gruel.

    Even with Blago’s removal from office, he could have run in 2008 against Quinn, beaten him, won the general and gained executive experience and good PR from cleaning up Blago’s mess.

  2. - Moot - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:28 am:

    I don’t know about that Ravenswood…you run the risk of screwing things up royally, ruining your reputation, and having to spend the rest of your life being compared to Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.

    Discretion is the better part of valor….

  3. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:37 am:

    A lack of executive experience is exactly why I did not like the choices in the last presidential election.

    We had a choice of a long term Senator or a short term Senator. Neither had a record of executive performance.

  4. - Shore - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:41 am:

    I really really really hope we’re not in for 5-13 years of will Rahm Emanuel run for president in the chicago media. That would be death.

    good work on the column. Original informed analysis.

  5. - Fed up - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:49 am:

    Rahm isn’t going anywhere. He is trying to fix some longstanding problems in Chicago and thus set himself up for a long successful run as mayor. Mayor of Chicago is a better gig than Gov or senator. As for running for president he doesn’t have a chance there.

  6. - dupage dan - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Plutocrat hits on a point that, while important, is minor in comparison to the economic upheaval that was the 2008/9 election/business cycle. A single Senator campaigning against an “executive” would likely lose. 2 Senators going at it kind of cancels each other out in that regard. Put into the mix that the incumbent party had just presided over a financial meltdown and you had Obama winning. Not because he had any particular expertise in business that trumped McCain but that his party was not in power.

    The learning curve is steep in the Oval Office. Perhaps a seasoned Senator/legislator could have done better. LBJ was such a one. Perhaps he succeeded with his legislative agenda because he had been around so long he knew where all the skeletons were hidden. Perhaps it was his personality.

    Governors seem to have that executive ability and do better in presidential campaigns. Jimmy Carter was a good campaigner - as an executive…….?

    Shore, this state ain’t big enough for Emanuel’s style/ego. He’s gotta go somewhere and it ain’t gonna be the governors’ mansion. It’s gonna be painful.

  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:54 am:

    Rich, your column is so spot-on it makes me want to cry. The missed opportunities…

    Obama walked into a house on fire, what with two wars and a global economic disaster. But playing nice with the malignant minority and letting the chowderhead Dems screw around for a year on health care were breathtaking miscalculations.

    FDR and Reagan would have known it was about jobs. They would have gone to the folks and over the heads of the blow=dried, small market TV weathermen that is Congress, beat them like a rented mule and made them like it — smiling and exuding optimism all the way.

    Just last month, Obama discovered unemployment is a problem, and is trying to link it up with our massive infrastructure woes. Meanwhile, we’re facing a government shutdown because the big brains in the tea party don’t want to be pay for disaster relief. Oh, to be 2009 again…

  8. - Cassiopeia - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 9:55 am:

    Rich, your observations about Obama being a product of the legislative mindset is spot on. It lays at the foundation of why he has been a sad failure as a leader. He has never run anything before and he doesn’t have an executive mindset.

    He means so well but can’t lead.

  9. - JBilla - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:05 am:

    Rich, a bold and well worded article. It’s worth mentioning that the “absolute confusion” of the health care bill is a result of special interests working legislators on both sides of the aisle. Also, the biggest issue I think with this Obama Presidency is that its insular to a fault because of the hyper partisan political climate. The federal corporate tax issue will not go away. The stock market needs a solid foundation to function effectively. And while we scrimp around the edges for 2% here from the teachers and $15 million there from the suburbs for water bills, we are utterly blinded by partisanship from addressing the lack of jobs being a structural problem. Bridges won’t make jobs. The point is, that any MBA candidate at a top tier school in the country can tell you without hesitation that you need to incorporate a new business abroad. Cheap labor? Sure, but more importantly, a lower tax rate. We are punishing our small businesses, making them pay 35%, while B of A and GE pay nothing. Your local True Value pays more in taxes than companies pulling in $6-$10 billion in annual profits. There is no other issue. The deficit can’t be closed when the largest stream of money is not taxed effectively. Small businesses can’t get loans because the American market size for any industry is under counted for tax purposes. Simplified tax codes, less loopholes, and a competitive tax rate will get us out of the recession. Otherwise, we are cutting around the edges with no plan for the gaping hole in the middle.

  10. - Loop Lady - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    I agree with your assessment. Nice guy, little experience, bad situation, poor advisors.
    Stick a fork in him, he’s done.
    He can always come back to Chicago and teach constitutional law at U of C…he will be an excellent profesor…

    Who in their right mind wants to be POTUS anyway? Just take your head and bang it against the wall instead…God help this nation…

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:13 am:

    &P– The point is, that any MBA candidate at a top tier school in the country can tell you without hesitation that you need to incorporate a new business abroad.–

    Yeah, the current generation of MBAs from Lehman, Goldman Sachs, S&P et. al have done such a swell job, they’ll lead us to the promised land.

    What did Warren Buffett say? Taxes never kept anyone from investing in something where they thought they could make a buck. It’s one of the many costs of doing business. Does he know a little something about investing?

    The MBAs and the unpatriotic, misanthropic financiers are the ones who got us into this mess. They’ve been bailed out time and again, they don’t need another break to “help” us. They’ve lucky they’re not hanging from lampposts on Wall Street.

  12. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:23 am:

    Great column Rich, a really unique angle that is as refreshing as it is insightful.

    I used to tell my inlaws from Nebraska that Obama wasn’t a liberal, he was a pragmatist. It’s not that he doesn’t have core principles, it’s that he wants to get things done.

    Early on in his administration there was a story about education that included a line attributed to Obama about doing more than “school uniforms” in education policy. Now that he knows how difficult it is to implement even small new policy initiatives, he might now understand why Clinton’s symbolic reforms were more effective than Obama’s bold reforms. It ain’t easy getting this stuff done right, and it takes years to change the way government works.

    But Obama’s legislative mindset is a very good way to view his first term, and a cautionary tale for would-be successors.

  13. - JBilla - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    wordslinger, I hear you. I was NEVER in favor of the bank bailout, I thought it was a sham, and that there was a better way to dole that money out straight to taxpayers and let them decide what to do. But the fact remains that the vast majority of the Fortune 500 are posting losses in America and profits abroad- AS BEST ACCOUNTING PRACTICE. This needs to be addressed. If it’s not, there is NO WAY OUT of this recession. Hate to sound like an ideologue, because I think if we really had the gonads we would address this with special prosecutors, but the point is to save money on the army of accountants if paying taxes is less of a game and more of a standard practice.

  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:42 am:

    You actually think about this stuff?
    Wow that is a stunning revelation. Bet that means a rate hike is coming folks!

    Meanwhile let’s remember not all govenors do a crackerjack job either — Bush’s twin wars, drug fiasco, on regulation of Wall Street, Cheney, etc.
    Comes to mind. Theory blown.

    It is safe to say being Mayor of Chicago is better than a lot of other elected offices becuase some problems can be addressed and solve or improved and from time to time your teams win and you are King of the Hill.

  15. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    Though he was never a legislator, a similar column could be written about Pat Quinn. He was an advocate and I guess he had some exec experience (CUB) but he was ultimately unprepared to deal with the day-to-day responsibilities of governance. CEOs and interest group directors are often tasked with handling both the big picture and the mundane duties. Except for a very few legislative leaders and committee heads, most rank-and-file legislators don’t know or care to know the every day matters that their top brass deal with and attempt to keep under control. I understand the frustration the TEA Party has with Speaker and the far left has with Obama, but most people of those mindsets don’t truly grasp the need for compromise and day-to-day efficiency.

    However, I also believe that Obama didn’t just come in with a legislator’s mindset - I think he came in to White House with a clear agenda. He wants to formally alter the way things operate. I don’t want to start a talking points argument, but that’s my strident belief and I truly think Obama didn’t expect this kind of backlash. It was quite short-sighted for him to no understand that could happen, but I digress.

  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    One thing O’s got going for him now…in 2008 he had no executive experience. In 2012, he will have 4 years’ worth. He must have learned something…anything? The best executives know that implementation and follow-through is much more important than initiation. It could be argued that the last administration was managerially lacking in several areas as well (managing the Iraq “victory”, Katrina, etc.). But you can only compare yourself to your predecessor for so long, and each day going forward, especially in hard times, makes memories more faint and increases the demand for accountability now.

  17. - Deep South - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    Obama has had to face a number of challenges since winning the White House….some of the criticism is valid. However…

    Given the crop of loons vying to take his place…do we really want to send him packing? Complete this sentence….

    “I’d like to replace Obama with (insert name of one of the candidates participating in last night’s debate.)”

    Given the choices…I’m thinkin’ Obama looks pretty good.

  18. - dupage dan - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 11:26 am:

    Six Degrees,

    His 4 years of “executive experience” as you call it will not help him at all. The liklihood that the economy (read employment - new hiring typically lags behind an upturn) will recover sufficiently enough to give Obama a boost is a fantasy. That’s what will drive voters, not any claim the he now has executive experience.

    Anybody continuing to blame the previous POTUS for present troubles, while in some ways correct, ignores the basic principle. The current POTUS owns the economy come re-election time. Period.

  19. - GMatts - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 11:50 am:

    As kids we’d run someone down by saying: “all show and no go”. Unfortunately for the country, thats Obama. Bush was a “go”, but in many bad directions.

  20. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    Thanks for a rational analysis. I don’t think it’s totally the answer because I think it’s only one piece of the puzzle that includes a level of vicious virtually traitorous opposition from the Republicans that I don’t think we’ve seen since the Civil War.

  21. - vole - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 12:32 pm:

    2.5 years to tackle problems multigenerational in the making and to become multigenerational in the solving?

    The bigger question is whether this nation is even governable by anyone anymore. And we all have some answering to do about our falling into the delusional traps we have set up for ourselves.

  22. - qcexaminer - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    I’m not a fan, but Joe Walsh is out there saying the establishment media is so vested in Obama they will go to any lengths to protect him.

    I think this is about right. Just as we all knew Blago was under investigation by the feds, but the brilliant Illinois electorate voted him a second term anyway, we in Illinois knew about Obama’s flaws, his radical associations, his radical views his radical votes and his penchant to vote “present” when the going got tough and that anyone who rose through the ranks of Chicago politics could not possibly succeed by just being about Hope and Change.

    It didn’t matter, and anyone who said it did was branded a racist, which effectively cut off all debate and criticism.

    It’s gonna be a loooong time before some unvetted black guy—or ANY candidate gets a pass to the top slot by a swooning press corp (or “corpse” as our brilliant POTUS would say). The press may pass on vetting a favored Democrat in the future, but by now the public is on to their game.

    There will never be another Barack Obama—for better or worse—the voters are now sadder, but wiser.

  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===It’s gonna be a loooong time before some unvetted black guy===

    And there you have it, folks. Sheesh. Goodbye.

  24. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    Couldn’t see that coming from QC, could we.

    As for BO, I couldn’t agree more. You can’t be both the purple state concilator and the partisan chief executive. If you’re opponents have declared all out war on you within weeks of inauguration (ahem Jim DeMint, et al), then you need to adapt.

    As a supporter of BO, watching his negotiating “style” (read capitulation) makes me want to scream. I hate to quote W, but Barack needs just a wee bit more of the “decider” in him and a hell of a lot less of the 100+ present votes legislator. Nicely done Rich.

  25. - Irish - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 1:55 pm:

    Rich, you present a line of thinking I had not considered and it makes sense. The other thing that I think is the problem in Washington is push back for what the Democrats did to President George W. Bush. Partisanship was already a problem but when they had the majority the Democrats were at times unmerciless to President Bush sometimes quite unfairly. and they attacked him in areas that had no relevance to issues at hand. I fell that some of the attacks now by the Republicans against President Obama are payback for that.

  26. - Democratic voter - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:00 pm:

    Rich nice column but I disagree. Everyone forgets Reagan and clinton had a tough first two years in office and they were Governors. Their approvals were low. Clinton was not considered a good executive until later. Both won second terms.

  27. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===Everyone forgets Reagan and clinton had a tough first two years in office and they were Governors.===

    I didn’t forget. Heck, by late 1983, some Republicans wanted Reagan off the ticket.

  28. - Colossus - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    It’s a nice change of pace to have a national discussion here. I wouldn’t want it regularly, but it’s great to hear what familiar voices have to think. I’d take this thread over Meet the Press any day.

  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:39 pm:

    –Many voters respond to such a message and claim this is the kind of leadership they’d like to see in Washington — it was Obama’s trump card over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary contest, where she was seen as a divisive relic of the past.–

    Obama beat Clinton by a whisker, and it could be argued that she blew it by not getting a ground game going in small caucus states.

  30. - vole - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:45 pm:

    Irish: “The other thing that I think is the problem in Washington is push back for what the Democrats did to President George W. Bush. Partisanship was already a problem but when they had the majority the Democrats were at times unmerciless to President Bush sometimes quite unfairly.”

    Irish, care to cite a few cases? These would not include such bipartisan support Bush received for the Iraq war resolution. Nor the votes needed to continue funding the two wars. Or the security apparatus after 9/11. Nor the democratic votes needed to raise the debt ceilings. But, of course the dems did not go along with Bush’s push to privatize social security.

    In balance there can be no comparison with the ideological road blocks that the republicans set up for Obama from his first day in office. And their number one goal of making him a one termer and letting that set their agenda for 4 years. Can you cite one instance of economic hostage taking by the dems?

  31. - Objective Dem - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:50 pm:

    While I agree that the Stimulus didn’t work as well as expected and Health Care reform is confusing, they are still major accomplishments that reflect a pragmatic approach to solving problems. While I personally favored a larger stimulus and a single-payer system, they would never have passed Congress. Additionally, the size of the stimulus was based on economic data at the time that did not reflect the true extent of the economic collapse. Obama did the best with the cards dealt him.

    I saw a few discussions recently comparing the management style of Obama to Clinton by people who worked for both. The sense was Clinton was more personable but also more likely to get angry. Obama was always cool and objective and was good at giving clear directions. Which sounds good to me.

    I also think the press has let the Republicans off to easily. The level of obstruction with filibusters and refusing to approve senior staff is unprecedented. There have been a number of statements that indicate more than anything else, their goal is to see Obama fail and reclaim the presidency.

    Another issue is we are not choosing between Obama and some mythical perfect opponent. McCain probably wouldn’t have even pursued a stimulus which I believe would led to a deep depression. McCain never had any real executive management experience and there was always temperament issues. I won’t go into the field of candidates this time, but I alternate between laughing at them and cringing in horror.

  32. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:53 pm:

    Obama’s M.O. has always been what I call the Obama Rule® always move up at the next election and keep your record thin so it can’t be used against you. Well, now that he is at the top of the food chain, and has a record to run on (and against). Since the position of God is taken, there is no UP any more. There is only OUT.

  33. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 2:54 pm:

    dupage dan,

    LBJ was so successful because he wasn’t afraid to go into the back halls of Congress and personally twist arms; he knew how to move legislation and he did. Although I don’t agree with his agenda, Obama had the opportunity with a Democratic Congress his first two years to get pretty much anything passed if he was willing to expend the political capitol and effort to do so. That he didn’t is telling; you can bet that Hillary with the same setup would have gotten what she wanted …


    spot on analysis. As others have said, it also applies to Quinn.

  34. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 3:07 pm:

    Can you cite one instance of economic hostage taking by the dems?

    In the aftermath of 9/11 there were few who wanted to appear stingy in the defense of their country, so there’s a situational leverage there. And the Congress of 2004-2008 looked a lot different than today - look at all the earmarks, etc. and other spending that both parties were complicit in that would be conceptually considered poison by many factions today.

  35. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 3:12 pm:

    Retired Non-Union guy-

    Didn’t the President expend nearly all his “political capital” to get the health care bill and the stimulus bill passed? Seems like those two items were the sole focus of his tenure over a Democratic majority Congress. And he got both of ‘em passed. But likely at the cost of 2008.

  36. - Objective Dem - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 3:54 pm:

    I’m sure people will have different views on his role in the events or the outcome, but I think Obama also deserves credit for a number of successes that aren’t discussed enough.

    On the foreign relations, he has successfully handled the Arab Spring and helped remove Kadafi from power with no loss of US lives. He achieved passage of the Start treaty. He authorized the successful killing of Bin Laden. He is (slowly) winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And there has not been a significant terrorist act on American soil (with perhaps an exception for Ft. Hood).

    For civil rights, he has successfully repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and passed a hates crime bill and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

    For consumer rights, he passed a food safety bill, a financial reform bill with new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and a reform of student loans.

    The economy has been horrible, but some of this relates to a major deleveraging not seen since the Great Recession. He did extend unemployment benefits which helps the economy and serves as a safety net. His administration successful oversaw the rescue of the American car industry. While the stimulus wasn’t a huge success, it kept us out of a Depression and hopefully is laying the foundation for future growth in green technology, medical technology and other fields. It also prevented the mass firings of teachers and other government employees.

    And he was able to get two qualified progressives on the Supreme Court.

    Overall, thats a pretty good record. Keep in mind that Clinton couldn’t pass health care reform; Johnson passed acts but the Great Society wasn’t know for tight management; and FDR had numerous missteps during his presidency. We are currently very close to the situation and reeling from the pain of the Great Recession to recognize many of the accomplishments.

    I’m not saying Obama hasn’t made mistakes but overall I’m happy with him.

  37. - Tea Party S.O.B. - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 3:56 pm:

    This President is a typical politician…remember the ’signing statements’ stance he took against Bush? Remember the anti-executive order stance he took as a candidate? Remember the anti-patriot act stance? Remember the closing of Guantanamo promise? Remember leaving of Iraq as the first thing he would do? Remember open meetings on Health Care reform? Remember cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term?

    If he proposed that same exact thing today, he would be a TEA PARTY LOON wouldn’t he? Times change, but the lies don’t.

  38. - JBilla - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 4:14 pm:

    wordslinger, “Obama beat Clinton by a whisker, and it could be argued that she blew it by not getting a ground game going in small caucus states. ”

    That is exactly right. The whole Obama campaign was centered around winning Iowa, which Hillary almost ceded. She sounded amazing coming out of New Hampshire and unfortunately Bill marginalized the youth voters in Iowa and marginalized Obama’s potential to win the Presidency in South Carolina.

  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 4:22 pm:

    ===he would be a TEA PARTY LOON wouldn’t he?===

    The tea partiers are against the Patriot Act, Guantanamo and the Iraq war? Since when?

  40. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 4:23 pm:

    ===On the foreign relations, he has successfully handled the Arab Spring===

    Try not to speak too soon. There’s a long way to go on that one.

  41. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 4:27 pm:

    Jbilla, that’s not exactly right.

    Hillary made a critical mistake by not paying attention to the delegate selection rules, even at one point assuming it was winner-take-all in key states. She had a plan to wrap it up on Super Tuesday, but it didn’t happen. Obama had boots on the ground in all of the little caucus states that, when taken collectively, add up to a lot of delegates. Obama out-hustled Clinton in the primaries, plain and simple. But it was a squeaker that could have gone either way.

    But you are correct that Wordslinger was correct. He usually is.

  42. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    Well said, word (10:13). Great analysis, Rich. Read the article this AM in the Times and forgot to comment.

  43. - JBilla - Friday, Sep 23, 11 @ 5:04 pm:

    47th Ward, agreed. I was just pointing out that Clinton didn’t understand that in the digital age, every comment and caucus matter, and that Iowa would reset the race. Or later that winning Cali and New York would not mean much when Obama won everywhere else. She also didn’t know that David Plouff grew up playing the board game, “Electoral College” and is the jedi master of how to win the democratic nomination coming from behind. Absurdly good at winning the presidential election. Not as good at keeping the base energized or taking unpopular stands when necessary. Also I think Obama held back unnecessarily in expanding the Dem map in 2008. Then completely forgot to protect the Senate in Mass, and utterly missed on protecting the House in 2010. Hopefully the insular nature of the Obama Whitehouse is something they will no longer consider “Best Practice.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Happy Thanksgiving!
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* Scouting profile: Adam Engel
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* White Sox program provides kids real chance
* Johnson solid candidate for White Sox rotation
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal


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* Tom's Mailbag, Nov. 27, 2015
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