Monday, May 14, 2007

Bill Clinton's Advice to His Wife

The New York Times on Sunday ran a story about Bill Clinton's role in Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign. This is a quote from that article:

Advisers say his advice to her can be boiled down to a few broad themes. He urges her to remember that the biggest person gets elected (in other words, the one who rises above political pettiness) and that the most optimistic candidate wins. He has encouraged her to talk about average people who work hard and play by the rules, classic Clintonian language. And she has, using those phrases and other themes in talking, for example, about regular Americans who are “invisible” to the Bush administration. (Advisers say Mr. Clinton did not devise the invisible line.)

Note that absent in those themes is anger at the Bush Administration. Indeed, according to the New York Times quote above, Bill Clinton thinks that anger is counter-productive politically. He believes that optimism is more appealing to the American electorate than anger.

The problem for Hillary Clinton, though, is that a lot of Democrats who vote in the primaries are really mad at the Bush Administration. The war in Iraq, reckless tax cuts for the rich, gutting of environmental laws to help campaign supporters, the politicization of the U.S. Department of Justice, just to name a few of the wrongs done by the Bushies, is enough to tick off the mildest mannered Democrat.

So here is the dilemmna facing Clinton and other 2008 Democratic presidential candidates: How do you satisfy the activists in the Democratic Party while appealing to independents and Republicans in the fall campaign? Keeping in mind all the while that if you don't win the nomination all the appeals in independents don't mean squat.

The link for the NYT article is in this entry's title. The site may require registration before you can read the article.

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