Meanwhile, there will be thousands of campaigns just getting going in the months to come. I wonder how many of them will expend, combined hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign managers and experts without tapping the most powerful message transmitter humans have ever known-- stories.
As the campaign wore on, once Hillary moved Mark Penn from foreground to background, she began to share more of herself, but she never really did delve deep into her heart to find the personal stories that defined her. When I originally wrote the article, Hillary supporters suggested that I was proposing that she talk about her experience of the Monica time in her life. I hadn't necessarily been thinking of that, but if she HAD discussed it, her shock, pain and how she'd coped. she would have absolutely reached people's hearts instead of their heads. Showing her vulnerability and the strength with which she faced such painful moments might have been a lot to expose, but it would have been incredibly powerful. But even without going "there," she could have disclosed some of the private, personal stories in her life that truly showed who she was. Unfortunately, she kept them untold.
Before there were words, there were hand signals and grunts to tell the story of the successful hunt or escape. Human language is composed of syllables, words, phrases and stories. Stories have moved armies, started wars, established religions and, even today, the story business, including lawyers, ministers, marketers, publishers, movie studios and politicians is one of the biggest enterprises and perhaps the most important one in the world. If ever oil and technology disappear, there will always be stories.
Obama is an oratory genius, but it wouldn't hurt him to spend a few hours nailing some life stories to weave into his stump speeches and debates. These stories are ALL about touching, connecting with and finding a place in people's hearts. Reaching a person's heart and establighing a heart connection trumps expertise on issues, the use of fear, the use of cold, prickly negative campaigning. Story is the most powerful force humanity has ever invented. Mark Penn and the rest of Hillary's consultants failed to tap it. Hillary thought she knew all she needed to know to come up with her own stories. The proof is now before us. She had it to lose and her failure to grasp that she held, within herself, the power to reach and capture voters' hearts was what cost her the election. And let's hope Obama doesn't think he's too smart to do without those life stories.
Those who tell the stories rule society.