Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"I'm Real. Really!"


Have a certain ring to it...?

It ought to. Much of the article about John in this week’s Newsweek reflects the points I’ve been making - and the way I've been making them - on this blog for some time now. All of them in a bid to help make John the 'real' Candidate he says he wants to be.

Indeed, the parallel between the Newsweek article and OneJohn: Courage, Conviction and Calculation is uncanny.

Well, the good news, John, is that you seem to be accepting the fact that ordinary people are beginning to see the credibility disconnect between the TwoJohns – the ‘real’ John you say you want them to see, and the carefully-protected John they are actually being allowed to see.

The bad news is that you think regular folk will buy that they are seeing the ‘real’ you just because you tell Newsweek you’re trying harder. Real people will know they are finally getting to see the 'real' you when you actually let them do just that.

The funny thing is that, without any prodding from me (or maybe it was because of that prodding – who knows?), you set out both the problem and its solution in this same article. They are there, for all to see, in the following excerpt:
Still, Edwards' new commitment to authenticity may have real roots: in 2004, the candidate learned the hard way that too much caution can be fatal.

When the Kerry campaign faltered, Edwards and his wife were convinced that a broad swath of competing consultants, offering conflicting advice, were largely to blame.

"Consultants can make it hard to tell the truth," Edwards says. "They want you to be so cautious it makes it hard to say anything."

Aides, who didn't want to be named discussing their boss's internal thinking, say he walked away from 2004 convinced that only strong, centralized decision making works in presidential campaigns.
I agree there should be strong, central control of your campaign organization. The Great Blogging Scandal underlines that very point. But not by you - at least, not any more.

You say it yourself: if there’s going to be control of the campaign, and you’re at the center of the campaign, it follows that you have to be subject to that control, too. And that's the very thing we are both agreed gets in the way of real people seeing the 'real' you.

If ordinary folk are going to believe that they are seeing the ‘real’ you, then they have to see something uncontrolled. And you can only do that by separating yourself from your own hugely-choreographed campaign.

I can’t help but feel there should have been an ergo in there somewhere…

So John, one more time. Leave the controlling to Dave. Get away from your campaign. Lose a little control. Go and meet some real people. In real settings. Without too much advance work.

And when you really feel ready to reveal the ‘real’ you, as opposed to hiding it in Newsweek, I’ll be here, waiting to help you do just that in a real, genuinely-revealing, grass-roots, radio interview.

Real questions. Real feelings. Real credibility.

Really.

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