The fantastic recommended diary Obama to Pull a Big Switcharoo (w/poll) <updated>Made me think about the intelligence within the top of the Obama campaign, bot the candidate and top advisors. So much so that a comment I made got so big it really needed to be put in its own diary.
If you think you are smart, there's some ridiculous trivvial bull just beyond the jump. If you think otherwise, then you might be in for a bit of learnin'. If you think George Bush may be a great President, I've got a way for us to get in on that free money for "fixing Iraq" scam. If you think George Bush might be our greatest President, quick, the terrrrist are coming, hide in here!!!
Most of us here at DKos are pretty smart people; after all, it's a natural fit. I will gladly include myself in there. Not bragging, but I qualify for Mensa (haven't sent in the paperwork yet; smart & lazy is a terrible way to go through life). Put those facts together, there's certainly going to be a fair amount of political prognostication on the site. Maybe a little one-upsmanship, just as a distraction from the drudgery of the primary season that won't end.
What I have learned, on doing this since last fall (being an Iowa Precinct captain really jumpstarts the process), is that every time I think I have it figured out, the Obama campaign does the one thing that I didn't think of, that looks one more move ahead than I did, one more hand ahead in the cards. Chess and poker are the best analogies, and both for the same reason. Those two contests involve planning ahead more than any other competitive endeavor. It's also good to recall that Obama is an experienced poker player (could you imagine the leader of the free world making the final table at the World Series of Poker?).
In either chess or poker, it's about thinking of your next move, anticipating the opponent's counter, and then planning anew based on the anticipated reaction, in a recursive loop that can quickly begin to boggle even the most bright player, if there is a lack of focus. (This is also true in the game of "which goblet holds the poisoned wine?" but we know Wesley beats Vizzini by having built up a resistance to an irresistable poison, iocaine; sounds like Kirk in the Kobayashi Maru--but I'm losing focus.) But the Obama campaign has several good examples of keeping that focus.
First, the leaked delegate spreadsheet. It has been remarkably accurate, and missing as much from Operation Chaos effect as anything. The top of the Obama team knew long before the Iowa caucus that the math was there; math that some now claim the Clinton hired guns still can't see (or at least those "ardent supporters" at other netroots communication centers). It shows that the Obama team had a full-game strategy, for all the primaries, from the get-go. Compare that to the redundant analysis given regarding the Clinton team's supposed lack of a plan past Super Tuesday.
It's been suggested (sorry, I can't think of a good way to search for a link to this), that Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright knew long ago that his fiery preaching might be a distraction for Obama's Presidential campaign. In hindsight, looking at the timing that this story broke, and how we now talk about how this primary race was essentially over even as it broke, it would be genius for the Obama leadership to have helped that along a little, so that it would be a tired, worked-over dud of an issue by the time the general campaign got going. Not that I'm actually saying it went down like that, but it would certainly make sense. What is clear is that the Obama campaign was prepared for it, and able to take the right steps to counter the story and avoid the fallout.
They've really done that on several points; that's why his poll numbers look like that of the teflon candidate. The only things that stick are the things that are ducked, and this campaign won't duck this stuff. That shows a second skill of the master gamesman; the ability to throw an opponent off their game. The media keeps missing on these distractions, ABC looks foolish for mishandling a gotcha debate, Faux Noise looks impotent in their attacks, and the Clinton campaign can't give away any argument to the superdelegates, let alone sell them, regarding her superior viability to his. Before they can strike, he has already initiated the counter.
Third, the absolute theme of this campaign, reduced to a single word, is "Change." The Obama team has had this theme since 2007, and have not wavered in it once. They understood quickly what the electorate was looking for, and delivered it, consistently and clearly. This is one of those times I like to brag, because I said to my wife about a week before the Iowa caucus, that Clinton was linking to experience, Obama and Edwards to change, and the winner would be the one who had picked the public mood; I thought it was for change as well, but wasn't sure. But I know Barack Obama's inner circle had figured this out months before me, and with certainty.
We might sit here today, wondering why the Obama campaign doesn't do X, or does do Y, but true understanding of how this campaign is run will likely only come in hindsight, once all the moves have been made. Only then will this masterful gameplan become apparent for the fortunate bunch of us who get to watch it unfold. It's like the ant-covered bulbous mass that opens into an enormous peony blossom.