The Change

During lunch today, I turned on the television (a pretty rare event around here) – and started flipping through the channels, when I caught a broadcast of “The Tim Russert Show” on MSNBC.

I’ve always been impressed with Russert, and I was pretty impressed by Tim’s guests too. And I was fascinated with the topic, Barak Obama vs. Hillary Clinton.

I was absolutely hooked by this segment – it’s highly recommended viewing:


  • About 33 seconds in, Tim reflects on an Obama/Winfrey rally (I think in SC?) about how they asked the audience members, that all had a cell phone, to text 5 of their friends and tell they needed to get out and vote. Tim’s exclamation – “what a way to communicate! what a way to organize!”
  • About 1:03 in, Norah O’Donnell talks about the power of “viral marketing” – which we all know to be true – but how this is really helping to drive the Obama campaign’s success.
  • At 1:20 – O’Donnell says that she is struck about how Hillary is instructing folks in speeches that they can log on to Hillary’s website. And she says “I thought to myself, ‘How 2000 that is’ – because everybody knows if you’re interested in a candidate – how to find their website”
  • And my favorite part – at 1:45 – Eugene Robinson begins talking about the Obama campaign, about how paid staffers, all the way down in the organization, operate with a “sense of agency” that they are a “thinking part of the campaign” – at 2:06 “it doesn’t seem to be strictly hierarchial; it could be a newer, more networked kind of organization” It’s a hypothesis, he says, but that’s the organization’s appearance.

How amazing, a networked organization, staffers that seem to be able to operate with latitude and make decisions, the use of viral marketing and ubiquitous technology, running up against a command-and-control, top-down, “How 2000” type of organization.

Obviously there’s a lot at play here, Obama has a charisma that Hillary doesn’t have. And the same kind of organization doesn’t seem to be doing Ron Paul much good on the Republican side (Ron Paul is certainly no Barak Obama either).

Hillary’s talking points might be right though, speeches without action don’t really work. So who’s action is working the best here?

p.s. Obama has won 10 states in a row. What a way to communicate, this newer, more networked kind of organization.

**[updated to add…] **

I really wanted to find this clip online when I saw it on MSNBC. Did I go to MSNBC or CNBC first? No. I went to YouTube. YouTube went down today, so I had to go to the *NBC sites. Did I find it there? No. “The Tim Russert Show” doesn’t even seem to have a web prescence. Where did I find it? YouTube, courtesy of a French-speaking Canadian Blogger – whose own commentary I eventually read after writing my own. Using Google Translate. What a way to communicate. This newer, more networked, technology. How NOT 2000.