Hillary Is Toast

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

As much as I try to avoid the subject of politics on this blog, some things just aren’t meant to be. I always told myself that I’d be responsive to our readers, and since the inception of this blog I have largely made my editorial selections based upon our subscriber’s expressed topics of interest. Since I caved-in and authored my Super Tuesday Analysis post, the e-mails have poured-in soliciting my continued election coverage. I have decided to acquiesce and expand my commentary on the election as it evolves. In today’s post I’ll provide my thoughts on the last night’s Potomac Primary in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.  

You can feel free to listen to the news analysts and pundits hash and rehash daily movements in the polls, but from my perspective the primary election in both parties is all but over…Clean sweeps tonight for Obama and McCain in my opinion seals the deal in both parties. While the Republican party is much easier to call with McCain now only needing a bit more than 200 delegates to clinch the nomination, Obama has all but put a fork in Hillary. In the text that follows I’ll break down my thoughts as to how last night’s primary will impact the balance of both parties campaigns heading into the conventions.  

First the Republicans…Huckabee was mathematically out of the race after Super Tuesday, and poses no threat whatsoever to McCain winning the Republican nomination. From this point forward, McCain needs to focus on the following three items in order to continue to build momentum and favorably position himself for the general election:

  1. Raise More Money: McCain needs to show us the money. General Elections are expensive propositions, especially when his Democratic counterparts are money raising machines. McCain needs to focus on building his warchest to be competitive once the General Election rolls around. 
  2. Focus Forward on the General Election: McCain has the nomination in hand, and that in and of itself will eventually galvanize the Republican Party. The “Straight Talk Express” needs to avoid pandering to the conservative base and maintain its authenticity. The single biggest mistake McCain can make is to compromise his positions at this stage of the game. Rather he should all but ignore Hillary (Obama will take care of her) and he needs to immediately, and aggressively, start positioning himself against Obama. McCain needs to start making his case today as to why he is a better choice for America than Obama. If he does not do this quickly and effectively the general election may be over before it starts. 
  3. Make an Outstanding Choice for a Running Mate: McCain needs to narrow down his choice for a running mate and select a candidate for Vice President that will play well in the general election. In my opinion his selection should be younger and more conservative to give McCain a truly broad and blended appeal. McCain will draw much better from the Blue states than Bush did, and the right running mate would shore-up the South giving McCain a very viable shot at the Oval Office. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, natural choices could be: Mike Huckabee & Mitt Romney will be talked about quite a bit, but are not likely to get the nod; More likely selections would be Governor Hailey Barbour of Mississippi; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; Former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Former Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma; Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina; Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii; Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska; Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, and; Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. McCain should not make this decision quickly and save the moment for when it will create the biggest advantage. There is no reason to rush to a decision as the landscape will continue to change over the coming weeks and months.

On to the Democrats…Many observers have boiled down the Democratic Primary as Momentum (Obama) vs. The Machine (Clinton). I don’t think there is much doubt at this point that Obama has both the Momentum and the Machine. Hillary Clinton has run one of the worst campaigns I have ever watched, and the wheels have completely fallen off the Clinton Machine. Her constant flip-flopping and pandering to the perceived constituency de-jour have eroded her credibility and given her opponent reason to smile.

In addition to her struggle to match Obama’s fund-raising prowess, Hillary made perhaps her most critical error on Saturday when she replaced her campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle. I’m not necessarily debating the decision to switch jockeys, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. Regardless of the true intent behind the move, it appears to even the most casual observer that the switch was made as an attempt to salvage the African American vote that her husband had all but chased away. Even worse, for a candidate who has historically done well with the Hispanic vote, and who is for all intense and purposes making her last stand in Texas, to fire a Latino campaign manager was probably not the brightest move…  

The bottom line for the Democrats is that Obama has more money, more momentum, a superior campaign strategy, and has achieved nothing short of Rock Star status. Obama not only made a clean sweep last night, but his victories were decisive. It is likely that by the time the March 4th primaries of Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont roll around Obama will have won 11 straight races and amassed a large delegate lead. Moreover, by the time March 4th arrives Obama will have made huge in-roads in to Texas and Ohio. Unless Hillary gets her act together and hits very hard, very effectively and very quickly in a fashion that undermines Obama’s current status (which she is capable of doing), or Obama makes a critical mistake (which he is prone to doing), he should be the Democratic Nominee. 

Obama vs. McCain…Let the race begin, and may the best Republican win. 

Super Tuesday Analysis

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

As entertaining as the political landscape can be at times, I have for the most part ignored the 2008 Presidential campaign on this blog until now. While I don’t plan on a major editorial shift toward political content, some of the trends that presented themselves last night are concerning enough that I believe this post is merited. I apologize in advance for using this platform as a bully-pulpit, but there are simply too many possible negative repercussions if voters don’t wake-up and see things for what they really are. In today’s post I’ll share a few concerns that I encourage everyone to pay attention to as they begin to solidify their opinions surrounding the Presidential candidates…

As most of you already know my political philosophy is best represented by that of the Grand Old Party. That being said, I have clients that are republicans, democrats, independents, and even a political agnostic or two. While I try not to put my brain in neutral and blindly follow the party line, I find that in most cases the conservative agenda is most closely aligned with my personal views. There are certainly areas of conflict that I struggle with where the republican platform runs contrary to my personal value system. As an example I am pro life but against the death penalty. While this position seems very philosophically consistent to me, it nonetheless puts me in conflict with my party of choice, but I digress on to the Super Tuesday Analysis.

As I watched the results of Super Tuesday unfold last night I became very unsettled as two of my biggest fears quickly transitioned into very real threats; 1.) That the conservative portion of the Republican Party is having difficulty getting behind John McCain, and; 2.) The emergence of Barack Obama as the likely nominee of the Democratic Party. It is my opinion that these two points comprise the worst of all possible scenarios.

Let’s begin with my analysis of the current status quo in the Republican Party…Super Tuesday gave John McCain a decisive lead over both Romney and Huckabee, with McCain amassing more than twice the number of delegates than either of the other two candidates. Furthermore with Romney and Huckabee splitting the party’s conservative vote moving forward, baring a major debacle, there is simply no way for either of them to overtake McCain. The party needs to recognize McCain as the clear front-runner, and rally behind him as quickly as possible to build momentum and energize what is now a very fractured Republican Party.

If you think about what I’ve described above you’ll see that the current goings on in the Republican Party are very reminiscent of 1976. Check you history and you’ll note that it was the Republican Party’s less than enthusiastic support of Gerald Ford as the nominee that resulted in a poor GOP voter turn-out which ultimately put Jimmy Carter in the oval office. It was a fractured and apathetic Republican Party in 1976 that allowed Jimmy Carter to lose Afghanistan and Iran as allies, and permitted radical Islamic extremists to move from a fringe element to the mainstream in the Mid East. It was also during this time that we saw 19% interest rates, rampant inflation, job losses and labor strikes, oil embargos, and gas rationing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want 2008 to mirror 1976 in any way, shape, or form. 

I am fearful that many of the conservative Republican pundits, influencers and mouthpieces are majoring in the minors. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, James Dobson and many of their peers are so vehemently opposed to McCain for his moderate stance that they have lost site of the real issue…Romney and Huckabee can’t win the nomination. They can either continue to pick at some of McCains moderate positions (which by the way are the same positions that will bring back the Regan Democrats, and appeal to young voters and independents alike) and undermine the strength of the Republican Party, or they can let the rhetoric go and serve as catalysts to reunite the Republican Party by supporting McCain. Do I like all of McCain’s positions? No, but I clearly prefer McCain to either of the Democratic candidates.

Let’s now turn our attention to the Democratic Party…If you paid attention to Barack Obama’s positioning prior to Super Tuesday he was doing everything possible to manage expectations downward. Just days before Super Tuesday Clinton had double digit leads in virtually every poll. While Obama was showing some momentum even he didn’t believe it was enough to overcome Hillary’s dominant position in the polls. At the same time, most of the pundits thought last night would be the evening that Hillary Clinton locked-up the nomination. What we see this morning is that as the final tally is rolling in, Hillary Clinton not only won’t have locked-up the nomination, but Obama might actually be within 100 delegates of Hillary going into the next set of primaries. Clinton’s hopes will ride on Texas and Ohio while Obama will show very well in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. As the Democratic race hangs in the balance, so does our countries future.  

This circumstances described above constitute the worst possible scenario for Republicans. Every poll to date shows McCain clearly defeating Clinton in the general election. These same polls also show McCain losing handily to Obama in a general election. The best thing for the Republican Party would be for Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee. She will unilaterally serve to galvanize the Republican Party and turn-out Republican voters in droves. It has been my contention all along that she is simply not electable in a general election. The same may not be true of Barack Obama. Senator Obama if nominated, would in my opinion be very competitive in the general election. No Republican candidate matches-up well against Obama, and Obama has that x-factor that we haven’t seen in a presidential candidate since JFK. The potential saving grace for Repbulicans is that Obama is very prone to major tactical errors. He and his wife can tend to speak before they think and as the media places more scrutiny on Obama’s positions and with a few well timed mistakes on Obama’s part some of his luster may start to fade. One can only hope…

Republicans need to immediately coalesce behind John McCain and pray that Hillary wins the Democratic nomination. If these two things don’t happen I’m afraid we are in for a very rocky road ahead…

Personal Branding Magazine

By, Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

Most of you who have read this blog for any length of time know that I’ve written often on the topic of personal branding (see “The Power of Personal Branding“). Over the past few months I have been assiting Dan Schawbel who is the publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, which is a new publication that just released its third issue. This post is going to be quite short, as I simply want to introduce you to this new publication, which I believe is worthy of your attention if you are interested in the subject of personal branding.

Personal Branding Magazine is obviously a new publication, and as such, is only available online for download at this point in time. That being said, I have been truly impressed with the quality of the information and the strength of the brands that have been willing to associate themselves with a new magazine. As the publisher, Dan’s passion for the subject of personal branding clearly shows through. Donald Trump was on the cover of the first issue, Jack Welch was on the cover of the second issue, and this issue has the founders of Google on the cover of the magazine. In between the covers, the current issue you’ll find more than 25 articles and interviews on the topic of personal branding. In this issue Dan was kind enough to publish an article I authored on the relationship between a strong personal band and the influence that a strong personal brand carries.

I would encourage you to grab a copy as there are great contributions on the topic of personal branding from a number of experts in the field. The big plus is half your subscription goes to fight cancer. I hope you enjoy the publication.