by MARK HALPERIN, The Page, TIME magazine
Without superdelegates, Clinton trails Obama
’s February momentum, favorable press coverage, surging delegate totals, immunity from “Obama Fatigue” (particularly when compared with the unexpected, intense levels of Clinton Fatigue and Clinton animus within the Democratic Party), and still-viable donors are getting a lot of attention, but what else does he have going for him (that campaign watchers are not appreciating to the fullest)?
1. A clear, consistent, constant message frame — change — that is patently inspirational and plays most favorably in the current media and electoral environments.
2. A strategic vision of how to win that hasn’t changed since day one – almost exactly a year ago.
3. The ability to arouse unqualified pride, excitement, and righteousness in his supporters (new voters, old voters, and superdelegates alike), who enjoy feeling fashionably forward-looking and passionate about politics.
4. A coalition no one has ever put together before in a Democratic nomination fight – the most loyal Democrats (blacks) and the least loyal ones (Volvo suburbanites).
5. A candidate with the skill to both write and deliver moving, eloquent, historic-feeling and momentum-inducing speeches at pivotal moments (victory speeches, major rallies, crucial battlegrounds).
6. A tight-knit staff that never fights with each other publicly and rarely in private – who respect and like each other.
7. No single, dominant strategic thinker who sets the campaign agenda, inspires eye-rolling and resentment among colleagues, and whose decisions are second-guessed.
8. A candidate who trusts his staff — and never wonders if they are working hard enough on his behalf, or questions their devotion.
9. A candidate with an uncanny natural sense — rare in someone so new to national politics — of timing, pacing, rhythm, and tone.
10. A candidate who generally has fun on the campaign trail — and shows it (even when he is tired).
11. Less bureaucracy.
12. The ability to control most leaks, and roll out endorsements and other announcements on the campaign’s own terms.
13. The ability to raise millions without requiring precious time from the candidate.
14. True grassroots organizing, often without direction from headquarters — both on the Internet and in real life (including canvassing and “visibility” activities).
15. A home base in–there are far fewer political distractions in Chicago than in Washington.
16. An electorate that seems oddly indifferent to conventional norms of preparedness for the job of commander-in-chief — and which appears even more indifferent to the existence (or absence) of detailed policy prescriptions despite the grave problems confronting the nation.