Monday, December 03, 2007


Hillary's Faded Anthem

My friend Dan Gerstein writes in Monday's Wall Street Journal about the implications of Oprah's big endorsement of and campaigning with Barack Obama -- and Hillary's response by bringing in Barbra Streisand.
So how did the Clinton campaign respond to the news that Oprah would be stumping for Sen. Obama this coming weekend? Instead of sticking to their core message, and showing the confidence of a true front-runner, they fell into the tit-for-tat trap of countering with the endorsement of the polarizing, '60s-studded Streisand--in essence, the anti-Oprah. In doing so, the Clinton camp did not just fail to blunt or dilute the O-factor, they managed to accentuate it by unwittingly suggesting Mrs. Clinton stands for--like the Streisand anthem--the way we were.
Wow. "The way we were."

Contrast linking that song with Hillary Clinton with the exuberant tune that Clinton-Gore '92 adopted as its anthem, Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)." Temporally speaking, the two '70s songs are just a couple of years apart. In a cultural-political context though, they couldn't be further apart.

One song looks optimistically forward, the other wistfully backward. One is upbeat, the other downbeat.

Regardless of how nostalgic they may be at a given time, voters tend to go for the candidate who best paints a picture of the future country. Bob Dole effectively ceded the 1996 election to Bill Clinton, when he promised at the GOP convention to "be a bridge to a time of tranquillity." That opened the door for Clinton at his convention acceptance speech to promise to build a "bridge to the 21st century."

Oprah is always forward-thinking. Oprah is all about optimisim. If she "sells" Obama as having that same sort of optimism, she may well convince Iowa (and other voters) that he's the candidate most thinking about tomorrow.

Oprah. Obama. Optimism.

Oh, oh, oh!

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