Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A few tips for a successful Hillary Clinton campaign.

Here are a few things for Hillary Clinton to keep in mind to guarantee a successful presidential campaign:

 1. Clinton needs to distance herself as far from president Obama and Nancy Pelosi as humanly possible.  Getting too close to either of them would require a political HazMat suit. It's best to stay away.  Say thanks but no  thanks to offers of campaign appearances. Though both will give endorsements they will  mean nothing.  And should be accepted  like a birthday kiss on the cheek from an aunt you think is weird and needs a shower and you hope goes home early.

Pelosi it should be remembered, was, in 2008, one of the engineers behind one of the most rigged and underhanded and dishonest Democratic presidential primaries since the politics of Boss Tweed. She along with other DNC officials tried to disenfranchise 1,600,000 Democratic voters in Florida and Michgan, two states where Clinton had beaten Obama by landslide numbers so their votes wouldn't count. Pelosi consistently lied about the role of super delegates to try and give Obama an edge, famously said Obama was ready to be president from day one and eventually sold out congressional Democrats , herself and the American people by capitulating to Obama's sell out of health care by dropping the public option which she at one time said was the "centerpiece" of healthcare reform and which eventually  led to Democrats getting wiped out of the House in 2010.

The Democrats are in serious need of a major house cleaning and the party is currently in shambles, much like the way Republicans were after 8 years of George W. Bush, the result of having to defend a duplicitous, unqualified and failed president who has probably told more outright lies and reneged on or did an about face on more promises than any politician in history.

2.  Ignore so called "progressive" support groups like Daily Kos, MoveOn, and ThinkProgress.  These groups have become Tea Party Left  but without the influence the Tea Party had on Republicans.    These groups support outcomes on domestic issues that are  traditional Democratic goals and worth achieving, especially economically,  but lie, distort and fabricate on a daily basis in support of their agenda  as much as the right wing Tea Party does, when its not necessary to lie.  And their foreign policy positions are and have been a disaster and usually based on ignorance since they are against anything that might be construed as actually standing up to a dangerous adversary.  It's one thing to have been against the war in Vietnam in 1968 and to have been right. It's another to think its still 1968.

As an example  MoveOn currently portrays Democrats skeptical of the Iran framework deal which is already falling apart, as " Pro War Democrats".  This in spite of the fact that Iran's take on the deal is the opposite of what Obama said it was. Clinton doesn't need to be associated with that kind of stupidity.

These groups take foreign policy positions that have no intelligent basis or facts to support them and seem to be willing to play Russian Roulette with a nuclear Iran.  These are the same  groups who rolled over and played dead for Obama while he sold out and undercut every domestic Democratic goal or promise and like the Tea Party on the right, they frame everything in partisan terms. If Republicans offered free puppies to everyone they'd accuse Republicans of running puppy mills.  They put all the onus of congressional skepticism  on the Iran deal on Republicans while most Democrats are just as skeptical. So Clinton will always run the risk of  being put in an embarrassing position if she is seen to publicly align with them to closely. 

While some of these groups boast multi-million member email lists, most people on the lists aren't influenced. When MoveOn circulated a petition for Obama to renege on his pledge of a military strike against Assad if  he used chemical weapons,  less than 2% signed the petition while 98% didn't.  And while Obama did finally decide to put his integrity to a congressional vote, (his integrity lost), MoveOn tried to claim it was their petition that stopped the missile strike against Assad's military (which in the end would have saved thousands of lives so if MoveOn wants to they can take credit for thousands of additional dead Syrian civilians).

Most importantly these groups cannot influence an election. They fell flat on their faces trying to defeat Rahm  Emanuel in the mayoral race in Chicago after calling him every name in the book including being a sell out of Democratic principles and in the pockets of corporate interests while conveniently ignoring the fact that this underhanded corporate sellout was Obama's choice to be his chief of staff  for four years  and  probably had a lot to do with Obama's selling out health care reform to corporate interests and Wall Street reform to the bankers.  Everything these groups had to say about Emanuel they could've said about Obama four years ago but were too partisan and dishonest to do. And didn't have the guts. So they are not only without influence, they can be accused of hypocrisy.  Clinton should  deal with them using the Crazy Aunt strategy. 

3.  Keep the national news media at arms length and don't overestimate their influence or underestimate their lack of influence.

This doesn't mean shut them out or not be accessible. That is impossible and besides, wouldn't look good.  But it does mean don't be afraid to throw some of their nonsensical and juvenile questions back in their faces or hoist them on their own petard. Most of the American people have little to no respect for them and they have little or no influence on anyone's opinion. They usually have their own agenda which is generally about  trying to impress their friends. Which, based on cable news ratings are about the only people they are impressing.

The days of Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, John Chancelor and Frank Reynolds are long gone. More recently,  Dianne Sawyer is gone too. CNN and MSNBC's ratings start with a zero and there aren't any Fox News viewers who can win an election for Hillary nor would she need them, though if the Republicans don't field a credible  enough candidate to oppose her (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio  not among them)  there are enough conservatives who praised her when she was in the senate ( John Mc Cain and Peter King of New York to name two) along with a liberal independent like Sen. Bernie Sanders, to put together a rare coalition.

But how to deal with the news media who are still smarting from the way Bill gave them enough rope to hang themselves and look stupid on Whitewater  will be Hillary's biggest challenge. Treating them with thinly veiled contempt when its deserved is not a bad strategy since most Americans have contempt for them to begin with. Remember, not one of them, not one, has the courage to stand on their own on anything. They run in herds like mindless water buffalo and will only attack in groups and if they feel it's safe. Stand up to them when they're being stupid,  and make any one of them look ignorant and they'll all back down and look for something else to hunt. 

A recent case in point: the so called email "scandal".

Since the email nonsense became an issue the State Department and White House email servers have both been hacked and her server wasn't. So to anyone who wants to make a security issue out of her use of her own email server, it looks like a pretty good decision now since her server was more secure than the State Department's or that of the White House.  She can always joke that given the hacking, if she is elected president she will bring in the same people who maintain her email system to do the same for the White House and State Department.

Case in point #2:  News media opinion. 

In discussing the Clinton announcement Peter Beinart on CNN said that Clinton must run on a continuation of Obama's policies otherwise she will seem " inauthentic". You will have to go pretty far and wide to find a political assessment as blatantly stupid and out of touch with reality as this one.  Of every point Beinart made, the precise opposite is true.

Obama sold out health care reform to the big corporate health insurance companies by dropping the public option, sold out Wall Street reform to the big banks, touted Yemen as one of his big foreign policy successes before it collapsed into chaos, called Isis the "junior varsity", rejected Clinton's advice and the advice of 3 secretaries of defense who all quit over Obama's refusal to take the same advice of arming the moderate Syrian rebels to stop Isis in their tracks before they got bigger,  was rolled by Putin in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and so far is looking foolish on the Iran negotiations since Iran is now saying everything Obama claimed is part of the deal isn't part of the deal which Obama said "was not a surprise",  but yet had no trouble getting  into a war of words with Netanyahu. Add to that the economic recovery is tepid, the ACLU has called Obama's  record  on civil liberties "disgusting" , even sycophants like MoveOn accuse Obama of offering cuts in Social Security to Republicans, and a continuation of all of Obama's inauthentic policies is something  only a lunatic would do.

Clinton distancing herself from that kind of record is not just common sense,it's vital.   The only thing that would be "inauthentic" to use Breinart's word, would be to pretend Obama was a success and some kind of  strong leader that the country wants more of  in the name of partisan politics when everyone, including Democrats,  knows he isn't. In fact, there is more buyers remorse among those who had supported Obama than with any Democratic politician in history. 

The only authentic thing for Clinton to do is what she's already done to an extent when she pointed out in her book the rift between her and Obama on Isis and arming the Syrian rebels and that Obama's credo of "don't do stupid stuff" was, in Clinton's words, not an organizing principle. 

As long as Hillary doesn't take anything the news media says seriously, remembers their bias, dishonesty and ineptitude in 2008, and acknowledges Obama's failures by promising to fix what needs fixing, she will be authentic. Anything else would be inauthentic. So in all cases ignore any and all opinion coming from the news media and their ignoring good vs bad policy wanting instead to focus on personality and rifts.

Republicans are already trying to portray Clinton as a continuation of Obama's failed polices. Rejecting those policies which in every case has  led to failure, and putting real distance between herself and Obama is not just easy, it's credible. Clinton can point to disagreements with Obama when she was secretary of state and make clear she will improve on or change policies both foreign and domestic she disagrees with and thinks needs changing.

But Clinton needs to realize what she is dealing with when it comes to the news media.  They are not her friends.  Clinton had not even made her announcement when Brianna Keilar on CNN was already criticizing "the Clinton campaign"  even though there was no campaign yet. Clinton's announcement was still hours away but it wasn't too early to start bashing with CNN running a banner that read "Clinton  campaign grinds to a start" which would be an uncharacteristically clever line for CNN  if it were true. It wasn't.

Which leads back  to the best strategy in dealing with the news media:  Crazy Aunt works  here too.

Limit accessibility to national media  which has no influence anyway, while doubling the number of interviews given to small town and local news outlets in both TV and print. Local news outlets are apt to have more integrity than the national media, and less likely to be trying to impress their friends  by asking stupid questions.

If the  national media complains about the emphasis on local media over national,  accuse them of elitism. Cable news' influence with voters is zero and their reach is small.

According to Nielsen ratings,  on a day last July, Wolf Blitzer's flagship Situation Room on CNN between 5 -6 p.m. had a national audience of 28,000.  That  would be considered a lousy crowd at Yankee Stadium much less a national cable news network who, like other news media,  will try and cover her presidential campaign by playing their own game.  But to sparse crowds and empty seats. 

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

Another tip - Not all of her supporters from 2008 are coming back. It would be wrong to take them for granted. Some of them have changed their minds about her, and others just think her moment has passed. The last two presidential elections made some of them look more seriously at the Republican candidates, and what they saw wasn't scary. Many, many of HRC's supporters weren't reflexively Democratic voters to begin with. There are a lot of writers out there contemplating whether she can keep Obama's coalition together, but none of them are speculating about whether she still has her own.