by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
This isn’t about campaign advice. For thousands of genuinely important reasons, I don’t give campaign advice. I’m not advocating on behalf of making the campaign more interesting, either. It just seems to me, having covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008, the book tour she has just launched—and the book itself—has the same repetitive dullness and penchant for pablum that hamstrung her first bid for the White House.
Instead of getting trapped in the economic glue of pretending to having been “dead broke” after leaving the White House, why not, Hillary, go to every city on your tour and identify the woman there who ought to consider running for president? What could be the harm?
More important, what could be the gain?
First, it would take you off your self-built pedestal of inevitability. Nothing is inevitable. See ’08.
Second, it would suggest you know you’re not all that and a bag of chips—no one is, by the way. Humility was a characteristic Hillary only showed when she was way behind in ’08. And crowds ate it up. The feisty, down-on-her-luck, and battling Hillary had something utterly absent from her campaign appearances in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina—all the way through Super Tuesday. That Hillary’s humility came too late is axiomatic. The point is, Hillary became reachable, touchable, and even lovable (somewhat) when she stopped buying her own noxious inevitability myth.
Third, it would give Hillary something she’s rarely developed in her public life—a reputation for being clever. There’s nothing more disarming in politics or life than a powerful person shedding that power in favor of the flattery of others. The best weapon a seemingly inevitable politician can employ is to shed the aura of inevitability. There is no other politician in America for whom this is truer than Hillary. If Hillary says lots of women—right now—are ready to be president she doesn’t make herself weaker by comparison, she makes herself stronger by speaking on behalf of qualifications.