Hillary, Do Yourself A Favor

Hillary, I don’t even want you to win and I’m still going to give you some honest and good advice that, truthfully, I hope you don’t take.

Thing is, people liked you in the Las Vegas debates.  You were much better off when you were campaigning as the benevolent and gracious incumbent, and negativity coming from anywhere in your campaign only does you more harm.  There’s almost a whole years worth of data to back this up in polls, and I think if the past four months had any lessons to give, it’s that going on the attack has not helped your cause much.

So, my advice to you; fire your husband.

Bill Clinton is fast becoming the primary attack dog surrogate of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and I’m afraid he’s having the opposite impact that the Clinton camp I’m sure intended him to have.  When he campaigned on Kerry’s behalf in the 2004 election, he did so with the political expertise and grace that made him still something of a rockstar in the party even after all the scandals and rumors.  He was eloquent and positive, with an almost perfectly honed hard edge that stung at Bush without being flagrantly antagonistic.

But the former president seems to be increasingly ham-handed in both his delivery and in his choice of battles.  The very latest incident comes from the Bay Area where Clinton was campaigning on his wife’s behalf and ran into a reporter that insisted on getting answers on the Nevada Lawsuit that seeks to put an end to the nine at large caucus locations intended to allow the Culinary Workers Union a chance to participate in the event on their busiest day of the week.

Clinton not only defended the lawsuit, but he apparently lost his temper as he did so.

He rightly makes the point that the Clintons did not bring the lawsuit, but he commits a grave error I believe in defending it, especially with such anger.  From a purely political standpoint, doing so is just bad politics.  The lawsuit is far too easily characterized as an attempt to disenfranchize voters, something that is not exactly favored by the Democratic party.  The other thing that makes this particularly treacherous ground is that the indignation coming so soon after the CWU endorsed Obama seems too convenient to be believable.

The right way to play this politically is to separate yourself from expressing an opinion on the specifics of the lawsuit and the controversy, and take a public stance that all you want is to make sure the Nevada caucus is fair for all Nevadans (or whatever it is they call themselves).  You let the court decide, since that’s their role, and you back up what the court says no matter what and if that means you have to take a loss in Nevada, you take the loss and move on.

The problem with the Clintons, and in this instance Bill, is that what could have been a story about union turf wars has now become a story about the Democratic frontrunners moving to disenfranchize voters, and that just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.

But as I’ve said, this is looking to be yet another incident in what is a growing chain of political missteps on behalf of the former president, and I think maybe it’s time for him to not be such a big part of the campaign anymore.

2 Responses to “Hillary, Do Yourself A Favor”

  1. terry says:

    Can you believe he said ”What happened is nobody understood what happened..they uncovered it.”

    What does that mean? No one in the state Democratic party or the national Democratic party understood what they voted on last March? No one?

    If the teachers’ union wants to be able to caucus where they work, then let them go thru the same process that the culinary workers’ union.

    very depressing…

  2. Very depressing indeed. And, in a few minutes, I got another revelation that kind of points out the hypocrisy Clinton displayed during that entire exchange.

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