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January 25, 2007

A Kinder, Gentler Hillary in 2007

Katie Nash

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D., NY) official web announcement that she is running for President in 2008 has set the tone for the Senator's upcoming campaign. Smoke and mirrors, mostly.

However, if one were to listen (however distasteful it may be) several times to the announcement. There are a couple key conclusions one may make.

First and foremost, Senator Clinton is hoping to ride the coattails of the 2006 interim election's wave of anti-President George W. Bush sentiment. The Senator's voice inflection when she mentions the president indicates absolute disgust and underlying anger.

Well, one can never say that Senator Clinton and her husband lack the flare for the dramatic. Not that this is necessarily a surprise. Clearly this is a tactic that has proven successful. She does, after all need to get through the primary season.

On her website, immediately below her announcement that she is forming her exploratory committee, is her explanation on her vote supporting the Iraq incursion. The spinning has begun and the senator refuses to answer the question on whether or not she believes voting for the Iraq war was a mistake.

In fact, the image of Senator Clinton skirting the question reminds the viewer of another time when a politician bearing the same name looked into the camera and vehemently denied having sexual relations with an intern. At least the senator keeps her finger-pointing figurative when she blames President Bush for her vote.

A second conclusion is that she, similar to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., CA), is working overtime to soften her image. The New York senator appears relaxed and approachable in her Southern Living-esque background.

After reminding the viewer of her middle class upbringing, she repeatedly says she isn't just starting a campaign, but is rather "starting a conversation." Her marketing firm is clearly top-notch and her demeanor is undoubtedly meant to convert some of the followers Sen. Barack Obama (D., IL) recently earned by watching Oprah.

A third conclusion indicates that Senator Clinton will be following the centrist platform her husband used in his victories. She indicates in her announcement that she will launch a moderate platform. She cites her intention to move away from reliance on foreign oil and universal health care, as well as tackling the national debt.

Senator Clinton discusses renewing "the Promise of America," which she says is "our basic bargain that - no matter who you are or where you live, if you work hard and play by the rules - you can build a good life for yourself and your family."

Interestingly enough, it appears that the Democratic Party is simply using spin-off phrases from Republican strategists and calling them their own. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," created by Republican strategist Frank Luntz, sounds surprisingly similar to that of the Democrats' "Promise of America." But, hey, whatever works. We can be proactive and entitle Sen. John McCain's (R., AZ) platform the "American Guarantee."

Hillary Clinton will no doubt continue to dominate the media in this election season. She is used to the attention, however, and clearly performs well under pressure. She has played the role of southern gentlewoman, voracious First Lady, jilted wife, seasoned New York politician, and most recently, middleclass American woman on her way to a lunch date with friends.

Expect more of this new Hillary until the primary is directly upon New Hampshire voters. It will be an interesting demonstration of political prowess when two politicians with greatly hyped up images meet on the battlefield of the Democrat's primaries.

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