We all knew this day was coming. Yesterday afternoon, Hillary Clinton formally threw her hat once again into the ring as a candidate for president. And like last time, she’s “inevitable”—a force to be reckoned with.
Her campaign announcement video is different from the 2007 version but is not particularly special. It begins with individuals representing different interest groups she’ll need to get elected talking about their plans for the future and ending with her campaign announcement.
It’s very clear who she’s targeting and why. While a couple of women over fifty-years-old make a cameo appearance, there doesn’t appear to be anyone in the video enjoying their golden years. In fact, watching it, you wouldn’t know that there are elderly white men still living in this country. Perhaps it’s because she’s ceding their votes to Republicans or maybe she just doesn’t believe they have much of a future. Either way, it’s interesting.
Obviously, she’s attempting to eliminate her own errors in her last campaign by carefully following Obama’s playbook. Not only is she pursuing the same constituency that won him two elections, but she’s even adopting the first letter of her name as a logo. The funny thing is that the arrow in the letter “H” points to the right. I’m not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean. Perhaps it’s designed to be a subliminal message to more centrist Americans that she’s not really all that far to the left even though she’ll have to play the part in order to win progressive votes. Then again, what self-respecting progressive liberal is going to want to sport a sticker on the back of their Tesla with an arrow pointing in the right direction?
I’m guessing by this time next year either the “H” or the arrow is gone.
While I’m sure she’s spent a fortune putting this strategy together (and we all know she’s rich after pulling herself out of the depths of debt), I’m not sure her message of why she wants to be president or why she’d make a good president is coherent at all.
For instance, part of her bona fides to be president is that Bill Clinton served as president during some very successful economic times in this country. Using that same logic, however, one has to imagine that Grace Coolidge would have made a great presidential candidate during the Great Depression. Also, back in the nineties, Bill cast himself as a “New Democrat” meaning that he wasn’t the old tired liberal Democrat that hadn’t worked out so well in the previous decades. Behind the scenes, people in Washington described Bill as a pragmatic politician while Hillary was more of an ideologue to the left.
Taking credit then for the economic success of the nineties is problematic for her. First, there are the Republicans who will argue that a tech boom and a Republican Congress were an important part of the equation in Clinton’s success. Given what we know about Hillary, would she have been as eager to make deals as Bill was in those days, and if not, how would all of that worked out?
Boom or bust?
Also interestingly, her video seems heavily targeted to voters who were in diapers if they were even alive in the nineties. If anyone is going to give the Clintons credit for the good old 1990s, it’s going to be the people she seems to be writing off in this election.
And if she’s not going to try to cash in on the success of the ‘90s, what else is she going to say? Yes, she was a United States Senator, but what were her achievements? Secretary of State? The world appears to be a bigger mess than when she started. How will she spin that?
As someone who worked on a presidential campaign and who loves history, I have to admit that this upcoming presidential election cycle is quite interesting and the Hillary factor is a big part of it. But part of the reason it’s so fascinating is the rest of the story not covered in the two minute campaign video and that’s her husband, Bill Clinton.
What role will he play in the future? Will his past come back to haunt her?
Let me digress and share a little story.
I served as National Chairman of the Young Republicans from 1997 to 1999. While there were several scandals during that time, smack in the middle of my term came the mother of all Clinton scandals and her name, like mine, was Monica.
Trust me when I say that presented a bit of a problem for me.
Yes, there were jokes. I laughed them off, but it was still a bit mortifying, particularly as the details of Bill Clinton’s lurid affair with the intern came to light.
For the most part, I think I handled it quite well. Still, there was that one event that is etched in my memory that I can’t quite let go.
We were hosting a luncheon event featuring the Weekly Standard founder, William Kristol. As Chairman, I was thrilled Mr. Kristol accepted our invitation and was eager to meet him. In my position, it was my job to introduce Kristol at the meeting and also to eat lunch with him at the dais.
Greeting him, I shook his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Monica Samuels.”
He looked at me and a big wide grin spread across his face. He laughed and said, “A Republican Monica? Now that’s funny!”
I share all this because I know the coming months will include more rehash of that entire scandal. This will include an analysis of Bill Clinton’s role in a Hillary administration as well as revisiting how she conducted herself during and after that publicly humiliating event.
Face it, we all want to know why she stayed with him. Republicans have their theories, but I’d love to hear what Democrats have to say.
In any event, I know what’s coming and I must admit I’m not looking forward to it.
The Republican National Committee initiated its Stop Hillary campaign before her announcement even aired. As a Republican, but especially as a Republican named Monica, all I can say is sign me up.
I’m totally on board.