Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Howard Dean comparison

Some bloggers and commentators have compared the Obama candidacy to that of Howard Dean in 2004 suggesting that the senator's campaign might face the same fate.

There are, of course, some valid comparisons. Both opposed the Iraq War, for example. Both were supported by a large number of younger and "activist" types. However, there are a number of reasons to think that things could end very differently this time:

* Although Dean lost he eventually did find himself a place in the party. He became head of the DNC, the head of the Democratic Party. When he first announced he would run everyone thought he didn't have a chance, but the same people who supported him during his presidential run got him through. When Dean ran the establishment people opposed him because they thought he was too far to the left. Now Dean controls much of the establishment, although he still has significant opposition in the party apparatus. However, because of Dean's presence, things will be smoother for progressive candidates like Obama.

* Obama's team has the opportunity to learn from the Dean campaign's mistakes.

* Obama made national headlines during the 2004 convention. He was featured nationally for months before that time. By the time the primary rolls around he will have had more than three years of national coverage. In comparison, Dean was practically unknown nationally a year before his primary election.

* There is of course no reason to think Obama will have a screaming incident like Dean. I'm sure he'll have his share of gaffes, but the Dean thing was a bit unusual even in the world of politics. Just not the right time I guess.

* The opposition to the war is deeper now than during 2004. Many people think the Democratic victories in the Congressional races last time were indications of a growing desire to end the war. People are also tired of traditional politics and traditional politicians.

* Howard Dean was a great speaker and had great views, but I think it is clear that Barack Obama has a rare type of charisma. He has "rock star" appeal.

There are probably some other reasons I'm not thinking of now, but I should also mention that while Dean had bloggers, Obama has both bloggers and social networkers. The latter are the people who drive websites like Facebook and MySpace.

Bloggers are sort of like media and publicity people, while social networkers are person-to-person like canvassers and phone-bankers. There are many more social networkers than bloggers so if you can utilize them properly it certainly will pay off at the ballot box.

No comments:

Popular Posts