Next Hillary reboot: Planning to be spontaneous, and manufacturing authenticity

Get ready for Hillary 4.0! Or is it 5.0, or 6.0? Hillary Clinton has tried any number of reboots in order to shore up her flailing campaign, and none of them has stuck. Now Team Hillary wants to recast Hillary as a spontaneous, authentic personality, the New York Times’ Amy Chozick reports, and they’re planning every moment of spontaneity they can:


There will be no more flip jokes about her private email server. There will be no rope lines to wall off crowds, which added to an impression of aloofness. And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious. …

In extensive interviews by telephone and at their Brooklyn headquarters last week, Mrs. Clinton’s strategists acknowledged missteps — such as their slow response to questions about her email practices — and promised that this fall the public would see the sides of Mrs. Clinton that are often obscured by the noise and distractions of modern campaigning.

They want to show her humor. The self-effacing kind (“The hair is real, the color isn’t,” she said of her blond bob recently, taking note of Mr. Trump) has played better than her sarcastic retorts, such as when she asked if wiping a computer server was done “with a cloth.”

They want to show her heart, like the time she comforted former drug addicts in a school meeting room in New Hampshire.

It’s so crazy it just might work! Or more accurately, it’s the one strategy they haven’t tried yet, at least not on purpose. It’s worth noting that Hillary’s attempts at spontaneity — the “wiped” comment and the jokes in Iowa about Snapchat and e-mail — are precisely what panicked Democrats about Hillary’s campaign last month. That was the “authentic” Hillary: sarcastic, condescending, and entitled.


And actually, Team Hillary has attempted similar tactics before, with no success. “Previous attempts to introduce Mrs. Clinton’s softer side to voters have backfired amid criticism that the efforts seemed overly poll tested,” Chozick writes. The results have Clinton plunging in the polls and voters unconvinced that she understands or cares about their problems.

Besides, as Andrea Tantaros asks, just how spontaneous and authentic can Hillary really be when her campaign is floating out the remodeling plans to the New York Times?

In an effort to boost her spontaneity, Hillary’s campaign has booked her on a series of fluff appearances on television — with Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, and other “non-traditional outlets.” That’s not a bad idea, but it ignores the context of her campaign. She’s not an incumbent coasting on prior emotional commitment. Barack Obama used non-traditional outlets as a sort of booster shot for the emotional connection he had established with lower-information voters in 2008, and even then only narrowly succeeded, losing four million voters in his re-election. Hillary has no emotional connection to these voters, and at the same time faces serious questions of malfeasance in her time as Secretary of State. These fluff appearances will look like exactly what they are — an attempt to avoid answering tough questions.


That actually may be the “authentic” Hillary Clinton, but … it’s not the image Team Hillary wants to manufacture in its latest reboot.

This whole idea puts me in mind of a Michael Ramirez cartoon we’ve featured in the past, perhaps even more appropriate than when the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner penned it for Investors Business Daily:


Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

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David Strom 5:30 PM | March 04, 2024