Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Advice For Hillary

Where would Hillary be without my advice? Talk about priceless, that's what my advice is, totally without cost to her, and probably to me even if I err, despite the fact that I have tens of readers (actually, my best post has over 1,000 page views, but mostly they vary and a good one gets 100+ page views. My Hillary page views, perhaps not so much.)

So, today, three points.

The Server and the Emails

She's in a pickle. Comey really skewered her, and she deserves it. She shouldn't have done it, and then she shouldn't have attempted the equivalent of a coverup, saying it was “convenient,” etc. It's obvious she wanted to hide stuff – and given the way she has been attacked in the past, that is certainly understandable. But, still, she did something she shouldn't have done, Clinton-style, and then lied, Clinton-style.

I think I'm an outlier, but I look for chances to admit I was wrong and to be humble. I think, so should she, and this is the perfect opportunity. If she does that, she gives people the chance to be empathetic, and to view her as human. If she is always defensive and I was right and I have a plan and I will be your champion, well, who can be empathetic? So, my advice is, take the heat and do a real mea culpa – although, truthfully, could she do this? But, if she could – she is enormously self-disciplined, except when she isn't (I suspect her lack of discipline comes from her melding with Bill, the Southerner, who allows himself a lot, the way Southern scamps do) – she should say,

It was a stupid thing to do. Even smart people do stupid things, and that applies to me. I wish it weren't so. Human beings make mistakes, and that includes me. Being human is an exercise in being humbled. I'm so sorry I did this stupid thing.

I wish I could say I'll never do anything stupid again, but we all know that's not true. I did learn from this, however. I won't do something stupid like this again. The next stupid thing I do will be completely different. (OK, she shouldn't say that, but I couldn't resist.)

But, when you do a stupid thing, you really should learn from it. Here is one thing I learned from this episode. I did this on my own, and I didn't have anyone to say, 'Don't do that, it's stupid.' If I am elected President, I pledge this: I will not be a Lone Ranger. I will work with a team, and make sure that the people I work with are smart and well-informed, and also that they are not afraid to speak up and challenge me. It will be up to me to make sure I have strong, independent voices around me, and I will do that. I'm going to involve a lot of people I appoint, and I'm going to involve people in the Congress – even Republicans. I'm going to make sure that when we take steps, that as many people as possible are on board with it. Because nobody has a monopoly on intelligence and judgement.”

I figure that's the best she can do. Mea culpa, eat humble pie, make a pledge. Be human and not defensive. Let the Republicans rail against her, and sympathy will be on her side. Give herself a chance to be human. Then let it die down prior to the convention.

Vice President

So, that's the emails. That's defense. Now to offense, to the convention. Hillary needs to create some excitement. Just because she's a woman, that's not enough. She needs some pizzazz, and she needs it from somewhere else. Not Bill, please! He's past his sell-by date. So, do what?

I think she needs to bring on Elizabeth Warren as her VP running mate.

I didn't think it was a good idea before now. I thought it would be unbalanced, somehow, too out there. But now that I've seen them together, I think that's who it needs to be. Balance, schmalance. Her husband Bill didn't go for balance, he went for fellow young Southerner Gore. They were a great electoral team! Young, dynamic, exciting, not paying off this one or that one or getting this state or that state, no John Sparkman to offset Adlai, not at all. I think she needs to double down. EW is great on the stump, and Hillary can be the sage and experienced part of the team, the one who knows well how things work. And EW can not only bedevil Trump, she can excite the young and the jaded for turnout, and I don't think she will overshadow Hillary, because she will know and respect her place. No Sarah Palining for her.

They say that there are July, November, and January VP selections – to get the nomination, to get the election, and to govern. That's what they say. My wife Ann worries that they wouldn't get along for the January part of the deal. She might be right, but I think there's a chance that they would. EW is fiery, but she's very smart and mature, and I don't think she will threaten Hillary. The potential pothole for EW, and for any VP who would want to be included in governing, is Bill. After all, the biggest trouble Gore had with governing was Hillary, who kept edging him out. Would Bill do the same thing?

He would try. He would certainly try, entitled as he feels he is – and he does have some entitlement legitimately, he is a former President. I can see him edging in, or barging in, or fighting his way in, completely ruining things for Hillary. The Big Dog comes back. I can see it. I can see him undermining EW, or any VP who wants to do something in governing. That's the big unknown. That's something EW would have to have assurances about before saying yes. But for sure, I think EW would be a great November VP selection. Pizzazz! And a show of confidence from Hillary, that she will follow through on her promise to be open to strong people in her innermost circles.

A few months ago I speculated on what the December meeting between Hillary and EW was about. We still don't know what went on there. I doubt very much it was VP talk. But EW sure has played her cards well. Myself, I'd put her right on the ticket and tell the Big Dog to stay a vegan – no eating meat, Big Dog.

Good luck with that.... But it's what Hillary needs to do.

Running with a Message

Hillary is about substance, Trump is about appearance. Hillary needs pizzazz, but she needs a program. She has a lot of programs, but she needs a Program. Put America To Work would be a good one. She actually has taken my advice, I notice! Over a year ago, I suggested that she concentrate on infrastructure. It's a winning argument. Now columnist Carl Leubsdorf reports that in responding to questions on her priorities, her first was: “In my first 100 days, I will work with both parties to pass a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good-paying jobs. The heart of my plan (Hillary, would you stop saying 'my plan' please? It's a 'me' statement, not an 'us' statement, and it's bureaucratic. Say “We should thus and so.” Tin ear.) will be the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades.”

Good! Build on this. Push the details, push the vision, emphasize how well this is thought through. This is your strength. Add all the other good stuff that is coming out, taking stuff from Bernie, etc. That's great. All of it will show off how smart you are, how you can govern, where you want to go. But “infrastructure” has a lot going for it, I'd say. It sounds so workmanlike.

And it can be in speeches, not in emails, thank God.

Budd Shenkin

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