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When asked about his lack of executive experience, Obama often says, "look at my campaign" -- which combined unmatched analysis of the delegate map with equally impressive execution when it came to getting out the targeted vote/caucus. Others have countered that historically, running a brilliant campaign does not correlate particularly well with governing effectively.

This campaign is unprecedented, however -- in length, in candidate exposure, and in the relative strength of the opposition that Obama first overtook and then held in check. And while the campaign's vote-targeting tactical brilliance is not in itself sufficient to predict effective use of executive power in office, a more fundamental aspect of Obama's performance in this most gladitorial of nomination fights bodes very well for the way he's likely to govern.

What we've seen is the way Obama handles aggressive opposition. Now, in the credentials fight, we've had a good look at his negotiating style. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Obama had the votes to force an even split in the halved Michigan delegate delegate count. Instead, he instructed his supporters to allow a split that gave Hillary a proportion reflecting her "victory" margin against unnamed opposition. Obama also authorized a means of splitting the Florida halved delegation that cost him an extra handful of delegates.

Obama gave up something he could afford to lose.: a total of 19 delegates, which won't slow his march to the nomination. That gave him a strong majority for halving both delegations. How many negotiators willingly leave something on the table? By doing so, Obama may have closed out the match. He undercut the basis for any Clinton challenge and exposed, to the point of absurdity, the self-serving sophism of the Clinton campaign's continuing crocodile tears over disenfranchised voters. Set off against Obama's magnanimity, Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy's continuing carping looks simply unhinged:

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.

Obama allows Clinton her 'victory' margin in a vote that wasn't suppposed to count, in which no other name appeared on the ballot, and which can never be reconstituted to reflect the will of the Michigan voters as an untainted contest would. And the Clinton camp begrudges Obama the remainder.  Yes, there's illogic in the way the votes were allotted. But to count Clinton's votes with no counterbalance is the sound of one hand clapping.

The same soft-touch mastery is clear in Obama's decision to actively discourage his supporters from demonstrating outside the RBC meeting, leaving the unleashed Clinton partisans to make an hysterical spectacle of themselves. earlier, in wildly overcharged rhetoric Hillary had equated failing to seat the full Florida delegation with cutting off the Florida recount in the 200o election. Yesterday, her supporters, with their cries of Denver Denver, and McCain in November, evoked the Bush camp's goon squad deployed to intimidate the election officials executing the recount in Florida's contested counties.

Those who fret that Obama lacks a "killer instinct" take note: he has beaten the Clinton machine. He is diminishing the authority and credibility of her continued oppositionevery day. And he's doing it in a way openly calculated to bring all but the most intransigent Clintonites back into the Democratic fold.

Somehow I get the feeling that he'll handle multi-directional opposition to the health plan he unveils with rather more nuance than Hillary mustered in '93. And I'm comfortable with him going eye-to-eye with whatever world leaders, rogue or otherwise, he determines it makes sense to meet.

Originally posted to Asp on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:16 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's really been something to see. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Urizen, serrano, revgerry, MTmarilyn

    Auntie Em: Hate you. Hate Kansas. Taking the dog. Dorothy

    by haremoor on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:25:31 PM PDT

  •  agreed. obama is playing a higher form of (8+ / 0-)

    politics. with a different (and better) definition of winning.

    by continuing to argue now, the Clinton campaign is looking pettier and smaller and Obama is looking, well, presidential.

    We can't change the Washington game until we change the players.

    by txdreamer on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:26:08 PM PDT

  •  The sports anaolgy is Ali's rope a dope (5+ / 0-)

    where he let the younger stronger boxer do his thing until he wore himself out, then caught him with a quick combination and knocked him out.  Ali often boasted that he never beat anyone up, just beat them.

  •  Great Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Urizen, serrano

    The decision by Obama to take the less better compromise under the circumstances is indeed another tactical victory in support of a strategy.  He, and/or his campaign, sees the big picture and takes the longer view, which is really encouraging.

  •  Can't agree with this: (0+ / 0-)

    And he's doing it in a way openly calculated to bring all but the most intransigent Clintonites back into the Democratic fold.

    I don't see this.  In fact, he seems to be doing exactly the opposite.

    I am a Clinton supporter.  But I plan on voting for Obama, baring whatever, in the GE. But I don't feel as  if he has asked for, or even wants my vote.

    Those "most intransigent Clintonites" are a larger group than you think.  And, frankly, I understand their feelings.  

    I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. -- FDR

    by Moresby on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:49:16 PM PDT

    •  Ok....so what should he do?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2questions

      Should he keel over , bend and lick people's feet???

      "Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere"

      by soms on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  compare him to Clinton (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      Compare the way she leaped on his bitter comment w/ his controlled response to her assassination reference.

      •  Okay ... (0+ / 0-)

        just checking.

        You guys aren't interested in getting the Clinton voters.

        Good luck with that.

        I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. -- FDR

        by Moresby on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:09:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hillary is great and we worship (0+ / 0-)

          her at her feet. She has been virtue and positivity personified throughout this campaign.

          "Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere"

          by soms on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:13:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  but the question? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soms, mischief

          Obama's been raining bouquets on Clinton - he doesn't make a speech these days w/out paying tribute to what a great campaign she's run, etc. etc. Frankly I find it a bit fulsome. But to repeat soms' question, what would you have him (and his campaign) do? Our chatter is frankly neither here nor there.

    •  sort of disagree... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, elmo, SciVo, soms, mischief

      In terms of not attacking Hillary, Obama is definitely working to untie the Dems.  Just take the PBC meeting as an example... in the end, Obama's camp was working WITH both sides of the MI and FL Dem parties to get the issue resolved rather than against one or the other.

      However, I can understand your viewpoint.  And here's my theory why you don't feel you've been "reached out to" by Obama just yet...  

      Hillary has not left the field of play (metaphorically)!

      As a result, Obama and his supporters have not yet been given an opportunity to pitch for your vote IN THE CONTEXT of party unity.

      Sure, Obama could pitch for your vote in the context of issues, which he did, and you sound like you agreed with Hillary on most of those.  

      The sticky issue of pitching for party unity before Hillary leaves would be as if a player on a team up by four touchdowns with 2 minutes left walked up to an opposing player and said, "hey, it's allright... let's team up and we'll go to the Superbowl".  This probably wouldn't work because A. the game isn't over  B. feelings are probably a bit raw and C. it may not actually be possible for both to advance.

      Therefore, any current attempts to pitch for your vote on grounds of party unity are often misconstued as "diminishing" to the person receiving the pitch.  Even worse, given the "sexism" charges that Hillary's camp alleges, the risk of blowback is even greater.  Something that should disturb all Dems is that Clinton seems more than happy to play it up that way.  Hence, all of her rhetoric about "some say your votes don't count" or "some say I should quit".  As long as Hillary fuels this fire, it's tough to reconsile the party (even if she's not "attacking" Obama anymore).  The best Obama can do is not antagonize you, which I don't think he has ever aimed to do.  

      (By the way, speaking of antagonizing supporters... I can not recall that Obama has ever gone as far as Hillary in that respect... Do you recall the Hillary camp's early argument that Obama supporters were drinking the Obama Kool Aid??? I mean, Bill actually came out and called Obama's younger voters naive!)

      But in the end, the goal is unity... so as an Obama supporter, let me tell you that I'd like to see your vote go for Obama and I think we'll do well to unify for November.

    •  I, for one, really do want to know what you think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      No snark, no taunting.

      What would Obama's asking for your votes look like? I ask, in all honesty, because it's something he needs to do, and I think he will do in some fashion, but I don't think it is at all obvious how he can do so effectively, given the hard feelings all around.

      "I knew a Buddhist once, and I've hated myself ever since." -- Hunter S. Thompson

      by apulrang on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:28:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't it odd that "real" HRC supporter NOT able.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      ...to answer a very simple question...What should Mr. Obama do to help you be more comfortable voting for him...what...?

      Confront all issues in a timely manner...

      by 2questions on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 06:10:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When elephants fight, its the grass that suffers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, SciVo

    I believe Clinton has underestimated the lingering bitterness from this campaign.  I don't think she's given enough thought as to how burned her supporters may feel.  The rhetoric she and her surrogates have been using only serve to exacerbate those feelings.  She may be able to pivot on a dime and graciously and enthusiastically support Obama next Tuesday, but her supporters are going to need some time.

    These over the top, divisive tactics are part of what makes me so angry about how she's run the campaign.  After PA I couldn't imagine anything that would let me happily support her.  I was hurt, bitter and very depressed.  I'm sure many of her supporters now feel the same way.

    And Obama supporters need to understand that subtle and overt sexist comments (what's this fixation with pant suits and why the overuse of the word hysteria?) doesn't serve our cause.  I don't think Obama or his campaign have been sexist, but the media coverage and the blog comments certainly have been and I find them offensive.

    So I ask, what do both candidates and their supporters need to do to move this party forward?

    The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.

    by mischief on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:29:07 PM PDT

    •  Well first, one of them needs to concede. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      Then our intra-party dynamic can change to forging unity. However, it would be absurd for the one who's winning to concede; and as far as I know, the one who's losing is committed to play out the contest to the bitter end, clinging to hope no matter how foregone the conclusion.

      Ha, that was fun. My goal is to eventually write a post entirely composed of nothing but campaign season buzzwords.

      McCain '08: because a magical money fairy will keep us from having to tax rich people! And if you believe that, I have a country to sell out from under you.

      by SciVo on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:57:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think there is anything we can or need to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Asp, mischief

      do beyond treat them respectfully and tell them the truth. Hillary mades some fairly servere tactical errors in her campaign and there were not sufficient policy differences to overcome the tremendous lead he was able to build in the face of her blunders. Recogizing that Hillary could not win on the merits she resorted to some pretty polarizing tactics. In short he ran a better campaign and built a better coalition. He raised and spent better, picked better people to help him, and despite his flaws, he won this thing fair and square. Now, Hillary needs to tell her people the truth stop spinning them. Some will seek and face the truth, others will continue to blame Barack, or the media, or sexism or whatever but the fact is that between two fierce competitors, one won, one lost. I don't think there is much we can do other than give them time to seek the truth themselves.

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