Thursday, March 06, 2008

Barack's campaign problem

Some interesting thoughts from Newsweek about Barack Obama's strategy in the aftermath of the disappointment for his campaign in Ohio and Texas:

Behind the scenes, the Obama strategy is twofold: to start fighting against the GOP opponent, and to amp up the fight against Clinton. Both are crucial in getting Democrats—especially the superdelegates who will decide this nomination—to focus on what lies ahead. With McCain the GOP nominee, the Obama camp is convinced that the party will not want to endure several weeks of hand-to-hand combat.

If that is really Obama's strategy, he and his campaign are taking a huge gamble. There is little doubt that Barack Obama could turn up the heat on Hillary Clinton or he could start actively campaigning against John McCain, but he will not be able to do both effectively at once. His campaign is very well-financed, but even a campaign with loads of money cannot effectively run two campaigns at one time, which is what Newsweek is declaring that Obama will do. It is to avoid running two campaigns at once that generally cause candidates to concentrate almost exclusively on their intra-party opponents during the primaries and then turn to the nominee of the other party during the General Election. Running what amounts to a double campaign will sap just enough resources and energy from both sides of the campaign to keep Obama from clearly coming ahead on either one.

Clearly Obama now embarks on a series of primaries which favor him before Pennsylvania April 22, and after that time. The map of the country is in his favor, but all it would take would be one close race in a State he was supposed to carry easily, or one loss where he was seen as supposed to have won to sway the race in Clinton's favor. Barack Obama can combat John McCain with great energy or he can up the ante against Hillary Clinton with tremendous zeal-but he will not likely be able to do both and have enough energy to win.

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