Friday, February 12, 2016

What Makes Hillary Clinton's Campaign so Radical

 I argued recently that her very pragmatic realism in terms of a campaign message is radical in that this is not how Presidential candidates normally run.

Most candidates run as Jimmy Smith Goes to Washington. They eschew and scoff at the 'ways of Washington' as they at the same time ask to be the elected to the top of it.

Most recent Presidents have run against Washington, against power, etc, even in seeking it. Jimmy Carter was an outsider, Reagan was in spades, George W. Bush ran against Clinton infidelities, Obama ran against Washington and a pledge to bring an end to politics.

I love President Obama, but notice how his trope of anti Washington never faded. He is still resolutely running against Washington.

Washington, he declares in a recent interview, is depressing.

"It’s always good to get out of Washington, which can sometimes be a little depressing,” the president told Ellen DeGeneres in a taping of the eponymous TV show."

"At another point in the extended sit-down interview that stretched over most of the show's hour, Obama detailed the benefits and drawbacks of living in the White House."

"The great thing is that you don’t have to go anywhere to get stuff done. You don’t have to run to the dry cleaners, you don’t have to shop for food," he said.

"The bad part of living as the president in the White House, he griped, is that "it’s a bubble, and you don’t leave. Or if you do, then the bubble follows you everywhere. And that’s something you never get used to."

"For Obama, the "bubble" has also meant the loss of "spontaneous interactions with people." He got fairly specific in describing a particular imagined scenario, remarking of the things "you do on a Saturday morning, you put on some sweats, you don’t shave, you go to the Starbucks and you run into somebody and you have a nice conversation—that kind of stuff. "

"Or just taking a walk, which is the kind of thing that probably I miss most about being president is just take a nice walk on a nice day," he said.

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See, that's what makes Hillary different. Does she find Washington 'depressing?' I'm not so sure that she does.

And I think that this is almost scandalous in terms of the Jimmy Smith meme of American politics. Even in seeking power, you are supposed to seem to revile the very idea of it. My take is that the Clintons don't hate Washington.

Obama, certainly has learnt a lot in what has certainly not been an easy 7 years. He's accomplished a great deal and in many ways his supposed 'lame duck' period has been him at his best.

In many ways when he ran in 2008, he ran not just against George W. Bush, but in the primary at least, against Bill Clinton.

In the first two years, for Obama and his advisers, the best thing you could say to recommend a course of action to them was this is not what Clinton would have done. But after the disastrous losses in the Tea Party landslide of 2010, the President begun to rethink Bill Clinton, who begun to rethink Obama.

Obama had, on the other hand, always liked Hillary even from their first meeting way back in 2004.

Obama has learned a lot in 7 years. He has admitted that while he's had some historic accomplishments, he was not able to achieve post partisan politics. He now feels that a good deal of Hillary's critique of him in 2007-2008 actually was legitimate.

He realizes that what is most important is getting things done.

What makes Hillary so radical is she isn't running against Washington. And who knows, maybe as Americans have been so disappointed in candidates who have run for being sent to lead Washington on a platform of how terrible it is, maybe it's time to give a shot to the one candidate that doesn't feel it's the worst place on earth.

Her argument has to be that if you want to change the rules of Washington, maybe someone who actually understands these rules and how to navigate them might be the way to actually achieve this goal. Rather than more rhetoric.

Why not try the road less travelled?

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