The PJ Tatler

Campaign playbook: Obama 2012 looks like...Perry 2010?

Is Obama’s re-election campaign emulating, of all things, Rick Perry’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign? I think so, or at least, they appear to be ripping a page out of the Perry playbook. Here’s an Obama email that went out today.

Friend —

The 2012 campaign is just getting started — and our goal over the next year and a half is to throw out the old political playbook and work with you to build something new.

Run by volunteers and based in local communities, this campaign will be the largest grassroots effort in the history of American elections. It won’t be special interests in Washington, D.C., that drive it — it will be neighborhoods like yours. …

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be holding hundreds of these sessions across the country, online and off, because no one knows how to organize your community like you do. And what works best in Des Moines or Cleveland might not be what works best in Austin. These meetings are a crucial part of the strategy to make the 2012 elections volunteer driven — attendees will discuss effective communication tactics, talk about how to build neighborhood teams, and commit to future house meetings.

Interesting, that he mentions Austin, the blue dot in Texas’ deep red sea.

They’re using the language of community organizing to connect the operation to the president’s (sordid, socialist and as yet unmined by the MSM) past, but the actual structure sounds familiar. For readers outside Texas, here’s how all that stuff above resembles the Perry campaign of last year. Rather than do all of the traditional campaign tactics — yard signs, bumper stickers and so forth — the Perry campaign established “Home Headquarters.” What that meant, was that while the campaign did have a statewide structure of field reps and so forth, it relied heavily on volunteers to recruit voters and maintain contact with them to make sure they voted. That doesn’t sound innovative by itself, but the Perry camp added a whole lot of social network emphasis and even incentivized the Home Headquarters operators for meeting recruitment targets and goals. Armed with those incentives (cash money in a lot of cases), the HH went about systematically identifying and recruiting the potential Perry voters around them. So while the state of Texas was not inundated with Perry 2010 signs and stickers — in fact, most people probably saw more Bill White signs and stickers than any for Perry — and while the Home Headquarters system didn’t always work perfectly, Perry’s campaign had a strong sense of where their votes were during early voting and on election day. And they won easily, while Bill White never really got his act together.

That home based approach also helped turn out Republican voters for state House, where the Republicans now have a massive majority. The Perry Home Headquarters were by no means the only reason the Republicans won so big, but they were a part of the overall win.

If Obama ends up ripping off the Home Headquarters model, and if Perry ends up running against him as the GOP nominee, well, it will be a very interesting campaign to watch.