Why Obama Won the Election

2008 Election Results AKA Jeffrey's View of the World

2008 Election Results - the Growing Democratic Possibility

I voted today in California using my absentee ballot because I am headed for Europe and will miss the election. Absentee voters sometimes think they are not counted on election day. This is a myth. Because I am missing the celebration, I am declaring the results now, two weeks in advance of Election Day.

The election is over for a five glaring reasons:

1. The War – Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton largely because of one issue: he voted against the war. He has singularly differentiated himself, and against McCain, it is a more stark difference.

2. Change – McCain is the Faux-Maverick. Both the mavericks in both parties won their nominations, an encouraging fact. That signals the electorate wants change. The problem for McCain is Obama owns the Change mantra, and has proven in the Campaign Death March, he means it.

3. Sarah Palin – is an embarrassment. Most Americans think Bush has done enough damage, and it’s time for strong leadership. Palin represents another poorly prepared politician who will need to be propped up by advisors. McCain blew this Big Time. This weekend, my die-hard Repulican brother-in-law said he was changing to Obama because of Palin. This man was recently worried about Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright and his strength on terrorism. Palin trumps all these issues. She is not a statesperson deserving of high office.

4. The Economy – Warren Buffet supports Barack. Game over. Buffet is not just esteemed as a brilliant investor. He is one of the few trusted financial figures in this unstable economy.

At a large dinner in Silicon Valley filled with hundreds of venture capitalists and financial people at a swank country club last week, one of the smartest VCs I know said, “Invest in Buffet’s company. Don’t buy GE. Don’t buy Goldman Sachs. Regardless of their price right now.” Here’s a man in a room full of folks who might often fall for the No-Taxes-Republican-Head-Fake. Not this time (as Obama often says). This room of financiers was full of Buffet and Obama supporters.

5. International Leadership – I have yet to meet one person overseas, in numerous trips, who likes George Bush and supports the war. Who cares? These people don’t vote here? In fact, this is telling. America sometimes ignores common international logic, but the preponderance of international support for a different direction says a lot about where our country needs to go. Leaders in this country want to re-establish the country globally; these leaders largely support Obama.

The War, Change, Sarah Palin, The Economy, and International leadership. These are the glaring reasons Obama won.

He won’t win of course unless every one of you American readers gets to the polls and makes your vote count. I have had a dream for some time: that Obama beats McCain decisively by a minimum of eight percentage points, that he wins states like North Carolina and turns the Democratic vote into a wider base, that the election is a clear signal to Change. We need every vote cast. This is the best opportunity we have had since Kennedy to have a Real Leader.

McCain will not win. Not this time.

21 responses to “Why Obama Won the Election

  1. Excellent post, and I hope your prediction becomes an accurate prophecy.

  2. Not being an American, I initially hoped that McCain would win as Obama’s supporters gave me the impression that they’re just a bunch of fanboys blindly wanted a change.

    Then, Palin changed my opinion.


  3. Jeffery – great point about international leadership … speaking as an outsider to the US, I can tell you that we would be very grateful if you all voted the Democrats in … McCain is Bush3

  4. Well said. Your most important point is the last. He won’t win if his supporters become complacent.
    My biggest fear right now is the Bradley effect (or the New Hampshire effect). Obama was polling well ahead of Hillary in New Hampshire before the polls opened and even in exit polling. Nevertheless she beat him.
    It takes more than a great man to make a great President. It takes, in my view, great problems in urgent need of being solved by a great leader to make a great President. This is the best opportunity over fifty years to have a great leader make the tough decisions and to bring together diverse constituencies to become a great President.

  5. Jeff…you said it well but nobody said it better than Collin Powell did this past Sunday on Meet the Press.

  6. Learn more about how voters are making their decisions. Visit http://www.thetruthabout.com/public/294.cfm?affID=and16

  7. From an Atlassian Confluence end user:

    First, 3 cheers for voting! Sadly, it is a right that too many Americans do not excercise, and I’m glad you have promoted this activity by example.

    However, while it’s always interesting to include personal opinion and commentary in a blog, and I think in this specific instance, stating HOW you voted is a big mistake. Remember, even if one candidate wins by a “land slide” (classically defined by a victory margin of 10%), this can mean that up to 45% of the electorate voted for the other slate. Assuming Atlassian’s North American customer base is large enough, you can assume you have now annoyed roughly 45% of your North American customers with either your presumptiousness, your expressed views, or both. Even worse, you have distracted people (certainly me) — from your insights into the enterprise software world. In fact, to my astonishment, your post fails to provide an analysis as to why your chosen candidates would be better or worse for the software industry/Atlassian than the others. Now THAT would be an interesting and relevant post to read (given that there is already an endless supply of *generic* political punditry)!

  8. Fair points, Joe, but I would ask you if it’s appropriate for John Chambers of Cisco to be a Republican fundraiser or for Eric Schmidt of Google to be a Obama fundraiser? Eric is not representing Google nor am I representing Atlassian.

    Also, I love debating politics with intelligent, informed people with different views, and respect people who chose different candidates. I was just sitting for 8 hours on a plane next to a Agri-business executive from Wisconsin who grows soybeans in the Ukraine, and who was great to debate politics with. He is a McCain man. I am glad we have this type of diverse thinking in this country.

    Your answer to your last question is unclear. Generally Democrats nationally have shown more leadership in technology, but the current candidates have not staked out any strong positions. Because Eric Schmidt is the kind of person Obama would lean on, and because I see more visionary thinking from Obama, I would give him an edge relative to our industry. But it’s unclear.

  9. To answer your question about the appropriateness of business leaders announcing their personal support for one candidate or another:

    In the end I think the answer is “no, it’s not appropriate” for two reasons. First, there is the potential customer impact that I noted above.

    The second is a more localized concern; namely, the impact on the leader’s subordinates. When the boss announces their enthusiastic support for candidate/party A, employees who support candidate/party B are instantly left wondering if their support for B will be detrimental to their career prospects. For that matter, depending on the depth of support the boss has for candidate A — a AAA level let’s say — a minimally “A” employee could also conclude they are also at risk.

    In summary, call me old fashioned, but when it comes to politics in the work place IMHO discretion is the better part of valor.

    Enough about all that — I’m looking forward to your next posts on executive recruiting experiences, managing corporate growing pains, and travelogue artwork!

  10. Congrats, you, America, everyone!

    Let there be real change.

  11. Another plumber...

    Jeffrey – I agree with Joe. I enjoy your blog, and I agree that the election is basically over already and that Obama has won, but Atlassian customers and your readers are more interested in your thoughts related to your work than your thoughts on politics, and you may have isolated yourself a bit. Best of luck.

  12. Dear Another plumber and Joe… I am glad you expressed yourself. One reason this medium is wonderful, is you and I can openly comment. And in this case not always agree.

    As I said to Joe, when I sit next to a guy like the Wisconsin Agri-business Exec on a long flight and have a rich and fun political discussion, I feel fortunate we can have this discourse and respect each other, and even be friends.

    Joe mentioned the possible concern of subordinates threatened by this. One of my dearest friends is a brilliant woman I mentored in the 80’s when an IT consultant in Boston. She is a lifetime Republican. I think she would say otherwise about political differences as a subordinate.

    My role models for stepping into this are Meg Whitman (Ebay), John Chambers (Cisco), and Eric Schmidt (Google), and only one shares my political views.

    I also respect that you choose to be Another Plumber and not reveal yourself. Again, our choices may be different but we can respect the discourse.

  13. I keep hearing the word “change” but never any specifics.

  14. Today is the day! I’m totally counting on the citizens of the US to make the right choice: Obama.

    If you are in Amsterdam, drop by for lunch!

  15. You were right! Well done.

  16. Yes, We Could!


    Yes, We Did!

  17. What about McCain? He is too old to be pres. if he dies there would be problems with a 72 year old pres dieing and a woman pres

  18. Alie — Water under the bridge at this point, to some degree. I don’t see his age as nearly as important at the points above. His age was “buried” in the change phenomenon. Also, I _totally_ disagree on a woman president being a problem. Hillary’s candidacy proved this country is ready for a woman.

  19. Obama is in over his head.

    You can complain about Palin, but there is no way that McCain would let anyone other than himself be the boss. Palin would have been a PR mouthpiece to social conservatives for McCain and that is all.

    But, instead we elected someone with about as much credentials as Palin has.

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  21. The global economy has been hit world.We must be alert to developments year.Business advancement, marketing has mastered the world economy.

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