Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hillary needs to do something. NOW. I have a plan...

She's losing it.
Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, putting her on par with Donald Trump among registered voters.
Clinton’s rise in unpopularity follows renewed focus on her use of a private email server and alleged conflicts of interest regarding her connections to the Clinton Foundation while she served as secretary of state. This metric rose among some of her core support groups, including women, postgraduates, Hispanics and liberals.
Suggestion: Hillary should deliver a half-hour long televised talk to the voters.

Maybe more than one. Maybe a weekly series.

This tactic was used unsuccessfully by George McGovern and successfully by Ronald Reagan. Hillary should use the Reagan address as a model

The purpose of her address, at least the first one, would be to expose the lies.

Exposing the lies. That's how to frame it.

Begin with a precis of some of the most ridiculous fabrications told about the Clintons over the years. Ask the viewer: "Why have so many people lied about us? Why have they told lies about us that go way beyond the things said about other candidates? There's only one possible answer: Because I am the only one who truly threatens the entrenched power structure."

Hillary needs to sound that populist note.

It's an easy argument to sell because it makes sense: How else can we explain all of the many anti-Clinton lies we've heard?

At the same time, she needs to rip apart Trump's reputation as a populist. If anyone is a consummate insider, it's Donald Trump, who -- in order to get what he wants -- has always played ball with politicians and mobsters. He considers himself superior to people who were not born into his class. He is the living embodiment of what Hamlet meant when he spoke of "the proud man's contumely."

(I'm not suggesting that Hillary should use a non-populist word like "contumely.")

And then she needs to take a stark, direct, no-bullshit look at the many current lies told about her emails and about the Clinton Foundation.

She needs to explain that Trump is hardly in a position to complain about national security, since his ties to Putin are obvious.

She needs to explain that the Clinton Foundation is a charity, from which she derives not one dollar of profit. She needs to explain that the Foundation is not a slush fund, and that the many people who have called it a slush fund are damned liars.

(I am suggesting that she use the phrase "damned liars." A minor profanity will make the point stick.)

She needs to explain that the Foundation saves lives. She needs to explain that the Foundation is certified as honest and above-board by Charity Watch and other organizations.

She needs to compare the Clinton Foundation to the Trump Foundation, which really does seem to function as a personal slush fund, and which -- being completely private -- goes un-watched by Charity Watch. She needs to distinguish between the Clinton Foundation's total transparency versus versus the Trump Foundation's total lack of transparency.

She needs to emphasize that nobody created a firestorm of propaganda about George H.W. Bush's "Points of Light" charity, which operated while he was President.

She needs to emphasize that Colin Powell also had a private email server and also participated in a charitable foundation.

She needs to ask the viewers: Why did the Powers-That-Be ignore what those Republicans did while damning the Clintons for doing the exact same thing?

I am sure that advisers will tell her not to sound like a whiner or a conspiracy theorist. She should ignore that advice. It can only help her cause if she states that she and her husband have been conspired against.

Again: She needs to sound the populist note.

McGovern's "infomercials" (a term not in use back in 1972, although that's pretty much what they were) were simple affairs, visually. I recall them well: He spoke directly into a camera. Reagan's long-form ads were similar, but a little more visually interesting -- as I recall, he walked around in what looked like an upper-middle-class home office while talking to the camera. His reasonable, folksy delivery erased the suggestion that he was too extreme.

(I suppose that, in an American context, the form began with Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech -- which, as many people now forget, proved to be quite effective.)

I think Hillary should upgrade Reagan's long-form format for a modern audience. More graphics. more cutaways to video footage, perhaps snippets of interviews with other people. What I'm envisioning is something a bit like John Stewart's Daily Show format, but with no audience and a much more serious tone.

That said, some humor will be helpful. Highlighting the most absurd anti-Clinton conspiracy theories would surely induce a few giggles. If these Clinton addresses become a weekly affair, people will tune in just to hear her dismiss the most outrageous claims with a well-crafted zinger.

The audience will appreciate Hillary if she displays genuine wit while exposing Trump's foolishness. Trump cannot return fire in a battle of wits; he's not bright enough. He's too low. His idea of humor is a schoolyard taunt and a thumb in the eye.

Will these presentations get high ratings? No. But they will appear on YouTube, and they will present Hillary's direct words. Viewers develop empathy with their favorite YouTubers. People tune into someone like Matthew Santoro every week just to watch him act silly while spouting interesting trivia -- but after a while, they ask themselves: What is he really like? He becomes a welcome visitor, someone you might invite to dinner.

The long-form format would allow Clinton to explain each and every point at length, without being sidetracked and interrupted by "gotcha" interviewers seeking to make a name for themselves.

The format will also allow her to mention what she actually proposes to do as president. On policy issues, most of her positions are more popular than Trump's.

Hillary Clinton certainly needs to do something now. Now is the time for her to start running as if she were behind. Because -- mark my words -- within two weeks, she will in fact be behind.

(That prediction comes with one caveat: I am presuming Trump will somehow manage to keep himself from doing or saying something incredibly foolish. With Trump, that's a rather hefty presumption.)

And for those of you who tell me to relax, stop worrying, look at the electoral college, yada yada yada -- I say this: Ostriches, do you still feel comfortable with your heads lodged firmly in terra firma? Don't you get sick of eating worms? 
I still think you worry too much, but I agree that your suggestion would be a good thing for Hillary to do.

I think you worry too much for two reasons:

(1) I suspect you have spent so much time researching the conspiracy culture that you have, however unwillingly, begun to think in similar fashion to its denizens. I do not deny that intrigues sometimes play singificant roles in world affairs, but I suspect you overestimate the number and extent of those intrigues.

(2) You have stated, IIRC, that economic misfortune compels you to dwell among the white lumpenproletariat. Perhaps this leads you to overestimate the number and importance of such people. They do remain significant, but they no longer compose a majority of the populace. The blind greed of the Owners, great and small, for that sweet, sweet, cheap labor has caused them to open the borders for decades. This has, at last, resulted in a vast increase of non-white, native-born, adult citizens--whom Orange Julius seems to have gone out of his way to offend.

Right now, my only real worry is that Tsar Putin's gremlins might hack the voting computers. I do hope our intelligence community--which does not seem to want Orange Julius Caesar in the White House--has prepared the appropriate counter-measures.
I disagree. Not that I know much about this but the HRC team have been doing a decent job of painting Trump as a racist. I think that has been a persuasive message and they should stick with it. I think more HRC exposure will just highlight the lies/memes which have been hurting her.

I don't buy 80% of the criticism of her but I do have problems with some of her/his choices. I don't think I'm alone in thinking some of those actions are not ok, even if they were not illegal.

But that's not the point. The point is focusing on those issues will drive more attention to the negatives. It's almost impossible to unwind that effect now. Better for her to focus on her strengths and her opponents weaknesses than her own weaknesses.


"She needs to explain that the Foundation is certified as honest and above-board by Charity Watch and other organizations."

That's terrible PR advice. It would be better if she dragged the names Roger Stone and Steve Bannon through the mud.

It would be peculiar, in a country where it's well known that few people without large-scale financial backing ever get anywhere in mainstream politics, for the presidential candidates from both major parties to present themselves as anti-establishment.
Ostriches don't actually bury their heads in the sand.

Hillary doesn't have a "reasonable and folksy" delivery. She has a shrill and unpleasant delivery.

It's not a good idea to bring more attention to the allegations against her and legitimise them by going on the defensive.
I think the real problem is that Hillary's lost the media.

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