The Pitfalls of Airing your Strategy in Public

The Pitfalls of Airing your Strategy in Public

Rule 1: Every candidate for public office needs a strategy.  Among other things, you should know what voters you must have to reach 50%+1. You should know what message they need to hear…about you and your opponent. You should know what media you are going to use to reach them in the most efficient manner and what it will cost. And you should have a plan to execute a free press strategy that will echo and reinforce your paid media plan.

Rule 2: Your campaign strategy doesn’t belong on the front page of the newspaper. (Where today, in the NYT, I saw yet another lengthy article about Obama’s campaign strategy). It should not be debated in public. It should not be shared with the media. Why? A.) You might as well send your playbook to your opponent and B.) You’ll leave voters with the impression that they are mere tools in some sort of grand manipulation game, which will undermine the credibility of your message and policy proposals.

I’m reading too much about Obama’s campaign strategy because Obama’s people are talking too much about Obama’s campaign strategy.

The more I read about his strategy the more incoherent it looks. He’s going to turn the election into a referendum on his jobs bill…but yesterday the number two Democrat in the Senate said there are not enough democratic votes to pass his jobs bill.

He is moving left in order to fire up his “base,” Obama’s people said last week. Today I read that he is now trying to figure out how to do that while still appealing to some small slice of wealthy independent voters in a few select swing states.

I should not be seeing this stuff as all. Not in a newspaper. Not on talk TV. It makes the President look weak, manipulative, calculating, and insincere.

Yesterday I met with a client to put the final touches on his reelection strategy. There were five key people in the room. After three hours we were all in agreement on what needed to be done, what it will cost and how it will be prosecuted. That is what good campaigns do. I can also guarantee that nobody who was in the room will be running to the newspaper to telegraph the strategy to the opponent or air it in public.

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