.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clinton at the Debate

I've read the commentary out there I can't fathom how people are missing what I see as the major point: Clinton was not Presidential.

She was inconsistent in her persona.

She was clearly flustered at seeing those clips played of her three different personas, and she should be. I don't think that works in Ohio.

One thing about folks in the central part of the country, in my view as a midwesterner, is that midwesterners value civility and are circumspect, if not dubious, about attacks. However, that doesn't mean attacks aren't fair game, you just need to be consistent in substance and tone. That is, if Clinton is going to be upset about something, or make fun of something, then she sure better have a good reason for doing so, because you don't want to make a big deal about something in public one day and then not make a big deal about it the next day. If you are a politician and make an attack in the midwest, your supporters are expected to sign on to that attack....now, I think that's true all over...but especially in the midwest where you kind of personally endorse your candidate and hence your candidate must be able to fit into your public persona.

"I'm for Hillary." "I'm for Barack Obama."

Consistency, then, in political personas is highly valued in Ohio.

What one personal quality, among other factors, allowed Bush to win in 2004? What personal strength did he have? Exactly that. If he got angry about something, and he did, he stayed angry about it and had reasons to explain why he was angry about it. If he said something one day, he kept saying it the next day. George W. Bush is actually quite good at that. (Horrible president.) If he made an attack, he stuck with it. If he made a joke, he didn't back down. Bush the candidate always gave his supporters someplace to hang their hat.

Clinton's complaining about the debate rules is a big deal in that context. It means, implicitly, that if you vote for her in Ohio you are voting to endorse complaining about the rules. That has real implications in people's every day political lives.

You go to your hair dresser or your drugstore now and say you support Hillary, it means you have to stand by her complaining about the debates, complaining about the media, complaining about the mailers.

I think that's just a very big deal.


  • I agree. Clinton has been wildly inconsistent in tone and message over the past few weeks, a reflection of the own turmoil within her campaign. They don't know how to go after Obama and it's left them without a message and without a chance.

    By Anonymous Andy, at 8:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home