Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two Candidates and a Sports Analogy

During Obama's Meet the Press interview, he was on point per usual. He gave articulate nuanced answers to Russert's usual rash of questions that must have kept Russert's research team up all week. Obama stayed on message and his unique message is going to drive him to victory as long as he controls the debate. Kingpin James Carvile sums it up, "He had the greatest fastball anybody had seen, and now it's 'Hey man, can you throw a change-up?' He needs another pitch in his repertoire." That ability to frame the debate, Obama's change-up, will decide this election.

George W. Bush and, specifically, Karl Rove are excellent at this. Watch Bush's appearance on Meet the Press in November of 1999 while he was running for president:

Granted, this was much earlier in the campaign, but Russert asked his usual type of questions. Bush not only answered them articulately and nuanced, but he had a simple clear message that he wanted the viewers to take away, "restoring honor and dignity to the office." He says about a half dozen times. This message resonated perfectly for the times following the Lewinsky scandals. He also did an excellent job of this in 2004. Remember "Steady leadership in a time of change"? I bet you do.

What was Obama's take away message? If someone asked me what I remember from Bush's Meet the Press interview (which I bet was exactly like every interview he did) I could tell you precisely, but if someone asked about Obama's interview I could give a convoluted series of policy positions which would probably be wrong.

If Obama's gunna strike out McCain, he's got to command the plate and you can't command the plate with just the high heat. Throwing 99mph fastballs all season will leave you with a worn out arm come time for the Fall Classic.

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