Monday, January 27, 2014

Some Are Ready, Some Not

Twin stories today in Buzzfeed and the Washington Post cover the ground I skipped on the Ready For Hillary event in Des Moines, and I think my decision to do the credentials crunch of post-caucus collating was time better spent.

Bleeding Heartland is making much of the presence of Jackie Norris, one of the permanent political class who was in Obamaworld last time.

The political professional class (see also old Clinton hands, Crawford, Vilmain, Campbell) is signing up early.

But the electeds are more cautious-and smarter.
During another meeting with elected officials and candidates, state Sen. Jack Hatch, Iowa’s likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee, also asked the group to get involved in the midterms. “We want you to play in the 2014 elections,” Hatch said. “What we need is money and volunteers and cooperation.”

Janet Petersen, a state senator who supported Obama over Clinton, said she’d heard similar comments from Democrats. “What you’re asking in terms of creating lists is not what Iowans want,” Petersen said, sitting next to Oldson. “You guys want a list. Iowans want a sense of engagement and conversation and dialogue like they got on the Obama campaign.”

Smith responded to Peterson. “You mean engagement with the candidate — which is the one thing we can’t produce,” he said.
Drop the pretense, PACman, and carry the message.

Sending staffers and cutting checks might help, but not enough. What the elected class wants is Hillary, herself, in state, this fall, drawing gigantic crowds and big bucks for Iowa candidates.And that's a reasonable thing to ask.
Another frustration emerged during meetings. In spending time and resources on a candidate who isn’t even in the race yet, some said, Ready for Hillary stages a “total inversion” of the traditional primary, as state Rep. Jo Oldson put it.

Iowa, Oldson said, likes its candidates to beg voters — not the other way around. “This is just a different twist on how Iowans view getting into presidential campaigns,” she said. “It’s Iowa asking her to run, rather than the candidate asking Iowa to elect her.”
A nicer version of what I've been saying all along.
There was plenty of advice: Come early and come often. Slim down your entourage and ignore your consultants. Ditch the big rallies in favor of more intimate coffee shop visits. Be nimble and authentic. Listen, listen and listen some more. Embrace your potential to crack the proverbial glass ceiling, but make your campaign about much more than putting a woman in the White House. Most of all, don’t let anyone view your nomination as a coronation. You will have to earn it.
Which, I concede, Clinton doesn't HAVE to do. She may hear the advice and decide Iowa isn't worth the hassle, and let whoever's playing the Bill Bradley role in 2016 go to the barbecues and diners.

Just don't be mad at us if we think about voting for the one who showed up.

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