Executive Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

How to Endorse a Democrat

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (Democratic, as if it needs mention) endorses Hillary Clinton.

By what criteria does a governor in a strongly Democratic state choose who to endorse? Politically, there is little that distinguishes Clinton from Barack Obama.

Electability is a biggie. As I have mentioned before, however, even a landslide by Clinton might result in a trouncing in the general election. There are better analysts than myself, so it could be O'Malley is in the know. After all, he picked Howard Dean to be president in 2004.

Leadership. This is a complicated term. Lead who? Other Democrats? Personal staff? A bipartisan congress? International coalitions?

Wisdom. This is a combination of public perception, reputation, and political perspective.

Bridge-building. Like leadership, the term is amorphous. At first glance, Clinton has not shown this capacity, but neither has Obama. Clinton's been fire-branded as a liberal lightening rod, but her ability is likely stronger behind the scenes. Is it more than what Obama brings to the table?

Commitment to message. This, ultimately, lost John Kerry the presidency. He wanted to be president more than he wanted to be a leader. Say what you will, Bush is solid here, while Bill Clinton was less so. While the male Clinton never could be called a conservative, he did flex more than Bush has. This comes off as either wishy-washy flip-flopping, or, as skilled negotiating. Bill Clinton proved he could be effective here. Bush has stuck to his message from day 1, showing he never played the political lie-to-be-elected game, but, has earned a tag of inflexibility. As far as Obama and Hillary Clinton, both seem to more like Bush than Bill Clinton. They are, for now, just trying to win a primary election, and, need to look as a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.

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