clinton : a well-oiled machine . . . maybe

I go to my local library to, among other things, get free copies of discarded magazines such as Time. Last week, I found a mid-January edition of Time and, in it, Joe Klein discussed how Bill Clinton can help Hillary. Of the three ways Bill can help, the one that caught my attention was how the former President understands “the dramatic arc” of campaigns like no other.

Put simply, Bill Clinton has great timing. He knows what presidential candidates must do, when they must do it, who they need to connect with, and how to go about doing things.

An example of the Clinton Team’s great timing revealed itself yesterday. In addition to discussing an endorsement by a prominent feminist organization, an AP article mentioned that Billie Jean King and Geraldine Ferraro also recently endorsed Hillary. So, it’s not enough to get the press to announce N.O.W.’s endorsement; Team Clinton follows up with feminist titans of the 70’s (BJK) and 80’s (Ferraro).

Wave after wave after wave of reinforcing messages linking Hillary with women’s struggle for equality.

And . . . all this is perfectly timed to counter the white-hot (and positive) media focus on John and Elizabeth Edwards, to mute whatever chord Elizabeth struck with women across America.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

That’s why Clinton’s campaign is so far ahead of the game. Love her or hate her, no one has a machinery as sophisticated as Hillary’s for framing, timing, and rapidly responding to issues and perceived threats (to paraphrase Klein).

Time will tell if the other campaigns will be able to quickly put together similar machines — and don’t forget that there is plenty of time to go! Having said all this, I think there is a chink in the armor and, while I’m not going to elaborate since it’s been three weeks since I last saw the data, it has to do with standard deviation, a low-level statistical tool. I will follow-up later.

(ps: I know rummaging through the discard bin is pretty . . . uh . . . frugal. But, whatever. . . . Speaking of frugal, my s.o. and I went to Spenger’s in Berkeley last Sunday [now part of the McCormick and Schmick chain] with a $25 coupon [expires: March 31 : you also have to place a reservation on-line]! Twenty-five bucks off at a decent restaurant; check to see if there is one near you. Yeah, yeah: it’s not Chez Panisse — but it’s still good and 25 bucks is 25 bucks.)

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