How He Did It: A Diagrammatic Analysis of the Obama Campaign

"All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia." ---George Orwell.

The audacity and speed with which Obama railroaded the stimulus bill through Congress took Republicans by surprise. It shouldn't have; it was a logical extension of his campaign tactics.

Like the spear-carrying soldiers of Ethiopia, overwhelmed by Mussolini's tanks and poison gas in 1936, the Republicans simply don't know what hit them in last year's election. Some felt that they had conducted an old-fashioned 20th century campaign while Obama mounted the first truly information-age 21st century political blitzkrieg. Others blame the blatant media bias, the race issue, or the unprecedented scale of fund raising and spending.

The first month of Obama's regime has provoked a similar bewilderment. A dazed Congress hastily authorized a huge document, filled with hidden booby traps like RAT, that none of them had actually read, let alone comprehended. Republicans are now cowering in corners, wondering what atrocity will come next

Anyone hoping to launch a successful counterattack must first analyze Obama's campaign and assess the factors that contributed to its success. To assist in such efforts, I have constructed a block diagram [1] of the post-nomination campaign's components, interactions, and successive stages [2]. A study of this diagram will, I think, reveal interactions that are too complex to be sorted out and comprehended from a verbal description alone.

The Diagram

Obama diagram

The diagram is colored according to the phases of the campaign, which, like a military campaign, can be divided into the resources provided by the terrain, available forces and weapons, strategy and tactics, and objectives to be taken [3].

The resources, which Obama, or any other black liberal candidate, had to start with, were:

  • voter dissatisfaction with the prolonged war and the economy, which the Democrats had for years redirected and focused on George Bush,
  • the decades-long liberal domination of our education system and the consequent liberalization of the last two generations of the voting public,
  • the consequent liberal bias of the media, with regard to both journalists and entertainers,
  • traditional liberal guilt about racism,
  • the racially polarized outlook of the US black community and its radical leaders; an asset which any black candidate could count upon,
  • liberal special interest groups, such as the gay rights and abortion lobbies, and especially the financial, strategic, and organizational support of George Soros and the numerous political action organizations he controls, such as Acorn and MoveOn, and
  • experience and contacts with corrupt political machines such as (in Obama's case) the Daley organization in Chicago.
The forces and weapons that Obama had at his disposal, both from his personal attributes and from his access to the above resources, included:

  • his own personality and image as a young talented black liberal,
  • his consequent value to the media as a "hot" newsworthy topic,
  • his consequent personal attractiveness to the liberal elite in politics, journalism, entertainment, and finance; in particular, his suitability for backing by George Soros, who may well have been the eminence grise of Obama's campaign-the "man behind the curtain", as he has often been characterized,
  • this popularity, in conjunction with his persuasive and oratorical skills, gave him the opportunity to raise abundant campaign funds, which in turn caused Democratic party leaders to look favorably upon him,
  • the effect of his image {i.e. youth, dramatic appeal, charisma, and assuagement of guilt about racism) in arousing an enthusiasm that his revivalist style of oratory encouraged and amplified,
  • for the same reasons, his persona and newsworthiness, which induced journalists to give him favorable media coverage to the point of blatant bias,
  • in addition to these external advantages, his experience with the Daley machine and flamboyant Illinois politics, which developed his organizational skills and gave him access to numerous political contacts,
  • his natural audacity, as enhanced and trained by these same associations, and
  • familiarity with the arts of evasion, deception, and fraud, as learned from the same sources.
Thus armed, Obama, and/or his associates and mentors, employed the following strategy and tactics to exploit these assets:

  • aggressive and well organized fund raising and lavish spending at an unprecedented level,
  • the extensive use of the Internet for organizing and mobilizing activities,
  • an intense effort to attract and utilize young people,
  • the development of a grass roots network, based on both enthusiastic youthful recruits and money-bought hardcore organizers such as ACORN, to carry out registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns,
  • additional use of the Internet for aggressive purposes by his famous "dogs of war" and by the 527 groups of Soros and others,
  • the use of these resources and his media connections to attack and villify Bush and opponents, such as Sarah Palin, while appearing to be personally above such tactics,
  • an intensive appearance and speechmaking campaign focusing on emotional and charismatic appeal, publicly centered on vague platitudes while on a more private level making mutually contradictory promises to every special interest group,
  • emphasis on terms such as "hope" and "change", which were veiled allusions to criticisms of Bush and the current regime,
  • an unusually drastic post-nomination shift from far left to right of center,
  • domination of a docile media, so that issues favorable to Obama were spotlighted while unfavorable issues, such as his lack of experience, faded into the background (the equivalent of the military tactic of seizing the high ground) while Obama's gaffes, contradictory promises, and questionable associations were effectively obscured or covered up.
Finally, the attainment of the following objectives, or harvesting of votes:

  • a massive voter registration campaign aimed exclusively at young, Hispanic, and black voters, thereby changing the Democratic to Republican ratio of the voter registry,
  • a corresponding increase in young and black votes,
  • the development, by intensive media and 527 group attacks, of a substantial anti-Bush backlash vote,
  • the use of biased media coverage to divert centrist swing votes to Obama,
  • reliance on tradition and anti-Palin sentiment to keep feminist and traditional Democrat votes within the Obama camp, and
  • the use of questionable political forces, such as Acorn and the Daley machine, to allow indiscriminate and unchecked registration of new voters, who often turned out to be illegal aliens or frauds, and reliance on loyal Democratic state and city officials to sanction and abet voting "irregularities"; also the use of street money and other fraudulent tactics.
  • Another critical advantage the Obama campaign received was a decisive "October surprise"---a tactic similar to Napoleon's practice of reserving a hidden force to throw into battle at the most decisive moment. In the present election, the spectacular mortgage-market collapse in October seemed to be a fortuitous coincidence. However, some of us, bearing in mind George Soros' previous financial coups and the dictum that in politics, there are so such things as coincidences, are wondering what really happened. For the present, however, this item is colored black and its source is marked as unknown.
This diagram is herewith presented as a starting point for further discussion and study. It is by no means complete. Some factors, such as reactions to the Republican campaign and threats to potential McCain donors, have been ignored since they shed little light on Obama's overall strategy. In other cases, links have been omitted because of the limitation of a static two-dimensional diagram. For example, the links from "audacity" and "Soros" to other elements of the campaign are so numerous that their complete insertion would make the diagram difficult to decipher.

Readers are encouraged to modify the present diagram by adding boxes or links. Further analysis would be greatly facilitated by converting this diagram into a Muckety map, which would enable flexibility of arrangement and the tying of links to references. This might enable the construction and interpretation of a more detailed diagram, such as the one that James Simpson has constructed to show how Obama, in conjunction with his radical associates and Soros' organizations, has orchestrated a strategy of manufactured crisis.

A Possible Interpretation

Two people can look at the same diagram and come up with different interpretations. I herewith present mine, fully aware that others may legitimately disagree. I seem to see the following major strategic trends:

  • 1. The exploitation of dissatisfaction with the Bush administration, as demonized by the Democrats and the media in a seven year long campaign, by a combination of (a) attacks from newspaper-radio-TV journalists and commentators, (b) mockery by TV personalities such as David Letterman, (c) vicious attacks by 527 groups, and (d) more subtly, by Obama's own emphasis on "change". This hate campaign was so successful that even Republicans distanced and disassociated themselves from Bush and claimed that they were for "change" too. The similar campaign of hatred and mockery that was launched against Sarah Palin made the venom and brazenness of this tactic even more obvious.
  • 2. The skillful double-edged use of the race card by embarrassing white voters into refraining from criticizing Obama, lest they be considered racist, while obscuring and downplaying the obvious (if forgivable) racial bias of the black community.
  • 3. The equally skillful "choosing of battles", i.e. refraining from activities that might do more harm than good. Note that no arrows lead away from the "black vote" resource box. Obama had this asset safely in is back pocket and, aside from intense voter registration, refrained from public activity in that sector. In the same manner, after defeating Hillary, he made no overt attempt to assuage feminist resentment or to publicly counteract the effect of Palin's nomination. Instead, he kept quiet about feminist issues and counted upon them falling into line by election time.
  • 4. The audacity of outrageously outspending his rivals while avoiding the accusation of "buying" the election, or of having been bought
  • 5. The audacity of claiming to offer all things to all voting groups and of making numerous mutually contradictory promises, such as the drastic left-to-center shift after his nomination.
  • 6. The enlistment of youth for the formation of a grass roots network (now maintained and mobilized by MoveOn) and its use for the massive voter registration that gave the Democrats a new voter advantage.
  • 7. The complete domination of media coverage, so as to present voters with a highly biased slant on the issues and to cover up Obama's numerous gaffes and contradictions.
  • 8. The use of misdirection and deception to conceal Obama's contradictory statements and scandals; also, the apparent use of fraud in registration and balloting and the sanction and cover-up of such frauds by Democratic state and local officials.
Some of these strategies, such as the intensive fundraising, made effective use of TV, the Internet, and other tools of modern information technology. But this is mere technological adaptation. Every one of the above strategies has been used, albeit in a more primitive form, in previous presidential campaigns. Jefferson used most of them against Adams in the notorious campaign of 1800.

To determine what made Obama's campaign a success, we must look deeper to identify the basic psychological qualities that underlie these strategies. I perceive them to be:

  • a finely developed skill in strategy, worthy of a great general [4],
  • a tremendous audacity, enabling him to succeed in risky or controversial tactics that his opponents would not dare to attempt [5],
  • a stage magician's skill in misdirection, compelling the public to perceive only what he wishes them to see and ignore what he wishes them to overlook,
  • a penchant for evasion and concealment---the very opposite of his much-vaunted desire for "transparency"---often achieved by saying one thing (such deploring "negativity") while inciting others (such as 527 groups or his "dogs of war") to do the opposite,
  • utter ruthlessness: a willingness to resort to, or at least tolerate, deception and fraud to achieve desired objectives.
These are the qualities that I perceive in the person or persons who planned the Obama campaign, whether it was Obama himself, an associate or mentor, or a combination thereof. However, there can be no doubt that Obama at least assented to the use of the aforementioned strategies and therefore must to some degree possess the qualities that engendered them. Indeed, these qualities virtually define the sort of narcissistic personality that has been attributed to Obama.

If, as I contend, these are the root qualities that created the Obama campaign, then we should expect more of the same from the new Obama administration. For starters, the stimulus Trojan horse is a convincing example.


[1]  I am deeply indebted to Richard Baehr, Ed Lasky, and Dagny D'anconia, who reviewed a draft of this article and pointed out several omissions and vagueries.

[2]  The present diagram applies only to the post-nomination phase of the Obama campaign. The campaign against Hillary Clinton had a somewhat different and more orthodox set of strategies and tactics.

[3]  Because of the fuzziness of the analogy between military and political campaigns, the difference between resources and forces is somewhat arbitrary. (I drew the line at the basic resources available to any black liberal Democratic candidate). Some boxes could be colored either red or purple. Similarly, intermediate objectives might be colored either blue or green.

[4]  Unfortunately, political or military strategic skill doesn't always guarantee presidential skill. As in Grant's case, one can be a great general and a terrible president.

[5]  Similarly, as Kennedy demonstrated, successful audacity in a political campaign is no guarantee of statesmanship or good judgment in dealing with foreign powers. 

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