Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What the Press Gives... 

...the press takes away. It is amusing to watch the current media bash for Senator Barack Obama. Reporters have fallen for his image: They don't know the man. I don't know the man either, so this is not criticism of Obama as a candidate. What is happening, however, is a human condition -- reporters become excited about a candidate before they fall out of love with him. Obama is riding an early wave of the quadrennial horse race called presidential elections. It won't last and his fall may be hard when reporters get around to asking tough questions.

I wonder how aware Obama is of his perilous position. Any good PR person could tell him he is in for a rough ride, and it would be best for him to be lower key in his appearances and speeches. That is what Hilary Clinton, a far more experienced campaigner, appears to be doing. She is lining up support, resources and followers. When she starts her campaign, she will be closer to a machine rolling through primaries and winning elections.

In other words, real PR is not press clips but votes in one's pocket. Press clips help but at the right time. Now is not the right time for one to be leading in straw polls.

Obama is a young politician and, for all I know, unseasoned. Aspiring to the highest office is a relentless grilling that lasts for months. One has to demonstrate an ability to hang in as a campaigner and to mobilize forces across many states. It will be interesting to see if Obama can make this happen.

But now, if I were him, I would work hard at being a good senator and work more behind the scenes.


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