LeBron James should be Mitt Romney’s role model.

LeBron’s talents were recognized very early, and his personal success in high school and in Cleveland dazzled all observers. Then, with Jim Gray’s assistance, he became deeply unpopular. Finally, he emerged a champion.

Governor Romney’s trajectory was much the same. His intelligence and leadership were noticed early, at prep school and then Harvard Business and Law schools. His success at Bain Capital earned him a fortune, and helped make him Governor of Massachusetts. But, with...

September 11, 2012

Do campaigns matter? Or do historical forces determine the outcome of presidential elections? The title of The Bigger Hammer comes from McCain strategist Fred Davis, talking about the larger, uncontrollable factors that shaped the 2008 election. But is it really possible that billions of dollars and endless strategic maneuvering by campaigns doesn’t really matter?

The answer is, of course, a deep shade of unsatisfying gray. The daily gaffes that attract media attention like melted ice cream drawing a column of ants almost certainly don’t...

August 24, 2012

Everything about political ads is carefully considered, so it’s interesting to interpret the meaning of the photos chosen by each candidate to appear while they’re saying “…I approve this message.” Since that picture appears at the beginning or end of each of every ad, it's an important part of a candidate's brand.

President Obama’s picture is actually a video, a slow motion shot of him ambling down a colonnade outside the White House. He is looking down at the start, but raises his gaze and looks beyond the columns. His expression is...

August 23, 2012

In 1988, I was on the staff of the Dukakis campaign and spent a sleepless week in Atlanta at the Democratic National Convention. During the day, along with whatever else I was supposed to do, I’d barter for a pass to see that evenings proceedings in the convention hall. One of the first nights, I was only able to get an uncomfortable seat near the rafters and endured a very long speech by the Governor of Arkansas, an early hint that Bill Clinton had trouble limiting his remarks. But on subsequent nights, I managed – by trading lapel pins or...

August 16, 2012