A few years ago there was a popular movie out called Mean Girls; a mildly humorous satire about high school drama. During the Democratic presidential candidate debate on October 30 in Philadelphia, Senator Hillary Clinton continued her strategy of dodging questions and focusing her answers on what the current administration is doing wrong. She tried to turn every issue into an argument against President Bush. She said Bush’s name 25 times — more than all six of her rivals combined. To borrow a phrase from the movie, I wonder when Senator Clinton is going to release her “burn book.”
Senator Clinton somehow believes she can win this election by degrading the current sitting president. Yes, President Bush’s approval ratings are in the gutter, but the school yard tactic of building yourself up by putting others down is a petty and poor method for showing leadership. And no matter how good or bad a job a sitting United States president is doing, candidates should not center their campaign around others’ works. Instead, they should focus on their qualities, their ideas, and their opinions. Senator Clinton and her colleagues should focus on themselves for one simple reason: it’s the best strategy for winning! That is, unless there is not much to focus on.
A presidential candidate needs to be direct with the public; this Mean Girls strategy is unsustainable. Critics and proponents alike must realize she is not telling the public anything new. It really makes you wonder how strong a president they will be once the incumbent is out the picture. We have no idea what a Hillary Clinton administration would look like should she be elected, because she rarely discusses her own agenda.
Here’s what we do know: Hillary doesn’t like President Bush, and she enjoys riding her husband’s coattails. As far as Social Security, illegal immigration and the war in Iraq, she shows no “substance” there. Her ambiguous answers leave us only with our imaginations to figure it out. But if left up to our imaginations, some might believe that the Clinton’s return to the White House could be a prescription for scandal. As of this writing she has even started playing the “gender” card. What a hoot!
In Philadelphia, Clinton was railed by her colleagues during the debate and pretty much by everyone after the debate. Polls by CNN and the Rasmussen Report showed her lead slipped immediately after the debate – probably because of her evasive answers, tired tactics, and lack of ideas. At least supporters can be thankful that Clinton realized her strategy needs fixing. In an interview this week she said, “I wasn’t at my best the other night," Clinton told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “We’ve had a bunch of debates and I wouldn’t rank that up in my very top list.” Yeah right!
During the debate, a question was asked of candidates about whether or not they support a plan in New York to offer drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Clinton’s response was brutal from the beginning when she said that it’s a question that doesn’t allow a candidate to answer simply by “raising their hand.” Then she went on to say, “It depends upon what state they’re in, it depends upon what [governors] think the risks are,” Clinton said. “The governor of New York has a lot of immigrants, many of whom we know are not there legally; [he] has to worry about security. A governor of another state where that’s not a problem doesn’t. This issue has been so politicized,” Clinton continued, “and I understand that, because you can score points, you can score all kinds of political, demagogic points.” The fact is as she knows all too well you can lose them as well depending upon your geography, which thus explains her answer.
Its no surprise considering she’s managed to defy all odds when people have been trying to determine where she stands on Iraq, national security, and Iran developing a nuclear arsenal. But what’s more scary than her answer if you’re a Clinton supporter is her delusions that she is in fact being straightforward most of the time. “I’ve answered probably, I don’t know, more than 5,000 questions over the last 10 months and I have been very clear about where I stand and what I want to do for the country.”
Are you kidding me? If that is truly the case, then why does she keep harping on President Bush and why can’t most people tell you where she stands on the crucial issues facing our country today? The fact is that Senator Clinton started with a big lead in this campaign because of her name and her husband’s legacy. And slowly but surely she is losing that lead because she refuses, over and over again, to be open and honest with the American people. And also, the public is beginning to judge her based on her character, responses to the tough questions, and the fact that she continues to reinvent herself every week. That loud noise you just heard is Mrs. Bill Clinton’s stock continuing to plummet in the polls. Only time and the American voters can determine where it truly lands her. The White House anybody?
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