December 31, 2007

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have a similar thorn in their sides.

For Mr. Obama, adversaries and the media -- even those who really ought to be his philosophical and political supporters -- have tried to tell his story, in third-person narration, with him in either the role of the black African-American candidate, or the under-experienced candidate.

But Mr. Obama has done well time and again taking back the telling of his story, narrating in the first person and casting himself as he really is: a candidate competing in the Democratic presidential primary with equivalent experience as the current front runner, Hilary Clinton.

He's a loyal American who loves his country, reveres the Constitution. Mr. Obama is leading an exemplary life of preparation, professional achievement, faith, selfless service and fidelity to his family.

I like that. Both his attribute set and his will to tell his story on his terms.

And isn't Mr. Romney doing the same thing? The media and his adversaries narrate his story casting with him in the part of the Mormon candidate or the candidate who has flip-flopped on some opinions.

Mr. Romney narrates his story as he really is: a candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination who has changed his opinion and several topics -- changed his opinion with no more frequency or no greater significance than any other national candidate that I am aware of.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney also has fealty to America and the principles of governance upon which our polity is founded. Mr. Romney has an admirable life of preparation, professional excellence, faith, service and devotion to his family.

At this point for Mr. Obama, the finger pointing for being under-experience has eclipsed being identified by race. Mr. Romney is still pushed and shoved by those who incessantly call him the Mormon candidate who has changed his mind.

I admire and respect Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney for having the will to tell their respective stories in the first person and on their terms, and the composure to skirt questions that would allow others to stick an inaccurate label on them.

(In as much as effective marketing is defined as truthful, genuine story telling, Seth Godin nominated Ron Paul and Barack Obama as the marketers of the year for their ability to tell their stories sincerely and persuasively using the New Media. Each has emerged from obscurity to capture a large fraction of the national attention share. I agree with Seth Godin, at least in the political segment. There have been other compelling marketing stories in 2007, however, and Mr. Godin himself ranks in the top 10.)