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Cross Posted from MYDD on Behalf of January 20th

First I want to say that I'm happy to see Howard Wolfson coming forth with positive statements about our candidate, Barack Obama.  In an Op-Ed in tomorrow's Post, Wolfson finally awakens to the reality of Barack Obama.  That's not even my editorializing, it's the way he frames it.

Most of us never heard him speak in person. At work 14 hours a day in the war room, we focused on his perceived faults and deficiencies. Our time was spent sharpening and advancing arguments. Skepticism was critical to our efforts. Insulated from Obamamania, I met few Obama supporters and distanced myself from the ones I knew. I lived this way for 18 months.

The better stuff after the bump.

From the outside, our loss may have seemed inevitable for months, but inside the campaign we simply kept going. Each late victory brought false hope. We were finally doing too well to stop, but never well enough to win. We fought so long because we believed so strongly in our candidate; sustained by the passions of our supporters, we hoped that, as long as we kept moving, we could keep failure at bay.

Once we ran out of states and the campaign ended, we were like Rip Van Winkle. We awoke to a world transformed by political currents we had stood against. There was the neighbor in an Obama T-shirt getting the morning paper. Every parked car on the street bore an Obama bumper sticker. Had they been there along, or did they pop up overnight?

- snip -

Then came Thursday night at Invesco Field. During the campaign, we scoffed at events like this, mostly because we were not capable of producing them. A cross section of voters waited for hours to enter the stadium and take their seats. As one friend put it, it looked more like an American convention than the convention of any particular political party.

Clinton delegates greeted one another with tears and hugs and were greeted in turn by Obama delegates. Several Obama supporters took my hand to thank me for what the Clintons had said that week, urging that they stay involved in the campaign. Every so often, I would simply look around me, amazed at the significance not just of the day but of the entire campaign.

The setting raised the bar for Obama's speech. The task before him: Explain what change meant and how it would be accomplished while weaving his own biography into the fabric of America's and laying out an appropriate contrast with John McCain.

No one in recent history had attempted this kind of a political conversation with 75,000 people. Barack Obama pulled it off.

For 18 months, I listened to Obama on television, sometimes intently, often just barely -- background noise to a running series of conference calls and meetings and e-mails.

In person, my attention undivided, I saw something of what so many others had seen for so long.

I would have preferred a more direct endorsement of our Democratic candidate, but considering how strident Wolfson has sounded, this is pretty good.  In fact, the throw from the WaPo home page is Howard Wolfson: Clintonites for Obama I find the column give some interesting perspective on how he formed his analysis for Fox.

Update [2008-9-1 7:40:33 by Brit]: Penn too! I just found this from Mark Penn in the NYT:


Michele Obama and Hillary Clinton delivered a one-two punch that was followed by Bill Clinton and Joseph Biden. The four of them delivered the core message that Barack Obama detailed on the final night: we need a change. Even the on again, off again roll call vote did not in any way divide the convention and ended in a vote by acclamation.

- snip -


It was in 1996 that Democrats had a similarly unifying and optimistic message of "building a bridge to the 21st Century." And Obamaism and Clintonism came together Thursday night in Mr. Obama’s speech as a single idea for governing: a return to an activist president who will cut taxes for the middle class while cutting government waste, an optimistic president who can guide us in overcoming our dependence on foreign oil in 10 years and who will exhaust aggressive diplomacy before resorting to the use of force. The theme of renewing the promise of America was actually the theme that Hillary used in her first speeches in Iowa, and that both she and Mr. Obama wound up sharing during the primary campaign. And just like Bill Clinton who talked incessantly about opportunity, community and responsibility, Mr. Obama also put personal responsibility at the core of renewing the promise of the country. Barack Obama left few bases uncovered, but was careful to play down divisive messages.

- snip -


In issue after issue he sought to find the middle ground and bring people together around solving them rather than dividing them. His latest ads end with the slogan: put the "middle class first." And so the buses have left Denver with Mr. Obama and the Clintons on the same page, with the party enthusiastically supporting its nominees, and all united behind a largely centrist agenda that goes to the everyday concerns of most Americans angry with the Bush administration. For McCain, this was one tough convention to follow.

I still don't forgive Penn for his abysmal 'strategy', I believe that he deserves the brunt of the blame for Hillary's loss. Still, it's good to see the most pugnacious figures at the top of the HRC team publicly displaying their party stripes.

Originally posted to Brit on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 04:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks, that was great to read. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grumpy Young Man

    The repubs are very good at negative campaigns, but not so good at governing!!!

    by fhamme on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 04:53:58 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful piece by Wolfson (9+ / 0-)

    His message about how living in an echo chamber can make you miss the forest for the trees is something I think we Kossacks should keep in mind... for this election and the months/years to follow.

    He who shall not be named wrote a pretty good piece too.

  •  Shows where blind loyalty will lead (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and how pernicious it is.  (See: George W. Bush who wrote the hand book on the subject.)

    Welcome to get their votes, but don't invite them to the party too soon.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 04:56:31 AM PDT

  •  I found Wolfson's op-ed (6+ / 0-)

    particularly moving because he describes, in my opinion, as a genuine grieving process. Saying that he now supports Obama, not just because Hillary asked him to but because he now sees what we see, is a pretty strong statement.

    Welcome aboard Howard.

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix

    by on board 47 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 04:59:02 AM PDT

  •  Campaign Bunker Mentality... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that's how Wolfson explains it.

    I'd argue that it's not that they didn't hear what Obama was saying, cause they did; they simply weren't listening--they were locked down in the bunker, looking to launch grenades and advance their propaganda.

    As for Penn, well...I reserve a healthy bit of skepticism, as far as he's concerned.

    Believe In Change We Can. What are you gonna do about it?

    by vcthree on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:09:54 AM PDT

  •  In two minds on this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, kafkananda

    I buy that Wolfson has come around to supporting Obama, but Penn? Seems a tad cynical to me. Somebody is trying to rehabilitate their reputation...

  •  Hillary eerily silent except for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Her only public statement, on Aug. 30:

    "We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain," Clinton said. "While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate."

    ABC's Jake Tapper blogs:

    Hillary Rah-Rahs Palin
    I think it would be fair to say that the Obama campaign wishes Sen. Hillary Clinton's statement on Gov. Palin were harsher.
    There's still time for Clinton to pivot and point out that she and Palin disagree on quite a bit -- Palin opposes legal abortion even for victims of rape and incest, for example -- but the Clinton-Obama psychodrama is very much present in these comments from the junior senator from New York. Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Joe Biden, D-Del., risk looking like chauvinistic bullies when they go after Palin -- they need women -- especially Clinton -- to do that for them.
    Will she rise to the task?

    John McCain: Running for Attila the Hun's 666th term

    by plankbob on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:19:56 AM PDT

    •  Right, sound tepid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So when you're deployed for an attack, it sucks all the media oxygen.

      If she piled on in the early days, she'd just be another Democrat insulting the new veep choice.

      WARNING: There is a high probability that the preceding comment is snark. Use your best judgment (hopefully better than Senator McCain's).

      by Anarchofascist on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:33:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm just afraid (0+ / 0-)

        she'll stay silent and "above the fray." She could have easily, and nicely, included a sentence or two in her statement how she and Palin are miles apart in their view of the world.
        I don't trust Hillary all that much.

        John McCain: Running for Attila the Hun's 666th term

        by plankbob on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:59:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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