Friday, September 2, 2016

Hillary and the Ron Burgundy Strategy

I certainly hope that Hillary is not playing the prevent defense when she is ahead, which has been known to prevent victory.  It’s important for her to appear restrained, adult, capable, knowledgeable, and safe for the electorate.  She’s not really very maternal, and it’s hard for a woman to be paternal, which usually gets a male candidate pretty far.  So I’m not sure what the image should be.  Capable and sure-handed for sure.  Looking for an image here and not coming up with much.  Maybe it’s because I’m so ambivalent about the whole mother thing.  And maybe football also isn’t the right image.  Maybe tennis.

She’s come a long way.  She doesn’t shout much anymore, although I still hear her as strident in a large forum.  She still can’t bat away problems like the emails very well; I don’t get the impression she would be a very good net player.  So I guess she needs others at the net while she strokes the ball back and back and back, sometimes with a decent angle.

Her problem is control, which she feels she needs.  That’s OK for tennis.  Her problem is warmth, which she doesn’t have much of – too much in control, at least in large groups.  Her problem is that the press can’t wait to get at her when she’s at net, so she stays back because she hates them, and truthfully, I wouldn’t like to face them if I didn’t have a good net game, which she doesn’t.  JFK did, for sure, but he banked on charm and did that all of his life.  He could get away with it.  Her, not so much.  

So what should she do now?  Don’t play defense, don’t overplay offense, stay away from crowds and shouting, appear competent and safe.  I would use some underspin, be a little subtle.  Try the back courts sometimes; no need to be center court all the time.

Play to your strength, which for her probably is the long, low shot from her forehand the other corner’s forehand.  Not showy, just consistent, issues rather than personalities; issues are her forte. She should take a new issue every two weeks.  Choose them carefully, but don’t make them look too easy.  Infrastructure has already appeared; that’s good.  Tie education to infrastructure – the future is our people.  Go into the details, personalize it with people.  Fernando F. is good with his hands, OK at math, isn’t that much of a student.  A match for him is skilled work.  What we need is technical academies where he can learn technical arts – building things, using computers to do so, etc.  We can do this!  Mary G. doesn’t have much money in her background, but she is an excellent student with strength in science.  She needs college to have a few different choices – here’s what the country needs to offer her.  Etc.

I would also play in regional tournaments; every day doesn’t need to be the Open.  I’d take what I call the RON BuRGUNDY STRATEGY.  Every community in the country has its local news anchors, and local weather-people, and local sports people – the local club champions whom everyone knows.  Get out and meet them!  Drop in like Stephen Colbert did in Minnesota, or schedule a session with two or three of them together from the different local stations – but without long preparation, more like popping up.  Dropping in with the locals will humanize her, and won’t tempt her to look like a blowhard.  She could push the issue of the two weeks at these shows, and be prepared to volley well when emails and Libya come up.  These volleys will be easier to handle than at the Open.  They won’t have many follow ups, or if they do she can compliment the questioners and tell them that’s what we need, involvement with the issues at every level – thank you!  The local format would bring out her warmth, I think.  Just calling the local people by their first names without being patronizing would work.  The national shows would pick these up and voilá – free media! 

The Ron’s of the world will bring up the emails.  How should she volley that back?  Hey, Ron, I made a mistake!  I wouldn’t do it that way again – by the way, Ron, have you ever made a mistake?  If you did, I hope you apologized and learned from it, because we all make mistakes, and that’s all we can do, is to make sure we don’t make the same ones again.  So, it’s true, I made a mistake. 
But one thing I have learned in my public life is this: consult widely.  I have this policy I’ve been talking about recently, and there will be others.  One of the reasons I’m coming here to Charlotte, and I’ll be going other places, too, is so I can get input on these issues.  If we don’t talk about it, we won’t come up with the best approach.  One thing about the news industry in this country is, it’s independent.  So I’m hoping to get the fullest reach of opinions I can so we can make good public policy.  Ron, I hope that if there’s more discussion about this, you’ll get in touch with me and let me know what everyone’s thinking.  Now, do you want my personal or my campaign email address?  (Joke Ron!)   Or do you want me to come back and we’ll talk again?  Maybe if I’m elected, we’ll have a whole bunch of local newscasters come to an event in DC – waddya think?

Ron might also ask: What do you think about all that negative opinion about you out there?  Doesn’t that make you feel bad, or nervous?  Volley back: Ron, I think everyone likes to be liked, and I’m sorry about those numbers, it kind of hurts my feelings, you know?  But here’s what I’ve learned about that.  In every public job I’ve had – senator and Secretary of State – as I’ve worked at it, the public has always come around to appreciating that I’ve done a good job.  I might not always have pizzazz, but one thing I do have is persistence.  I’ll work at something until we have it right!  I really will.  And in a way, those negative ratings motivate me, kind of like some athletes feed off of being underrated.  I think it gives me extra incentive to work hard and do a good job – and that’s exactly what I intend to do, if I’m lucky enough to get this job I’m applying for.

Those are good answers, I’d think, and tearing up Trump to Ron Burgundy and friends won’t work.  But getting the surrogates out there tearing up Trump – that will work just fine.  Then she can just refer to the others’ anti-Trump speeches and say, I agree with him or her – did you see that speech she made on Thursday?  I thought it was pretty good.

Even a baseline player has to come to net sometime, and the debates will force her to do that, to think on her feet.  But she is steeped in knowledge of the issues, and she’s very smart and a good debater, so I think she’ll do well, especially if she can flash some humor.  If Donald goes after her as “crooked Hillary” or something else very demeaning, I’d just call him on it.  I’d say, look Mr. Trump, when you make that kind of schoolyard personal attack, it just demeans us both.  So I’m not going to respond in turn.  I’ve stood up to bullies in my life since I was 4 years old, and I’m not going to stop now.  So just stop it and grow up and talk about things you believe or you know.  How about that?

Anyway, that’s what I’d do.  That and go back to central Pennsylvania as she did in 2008 and do shots with the guys.  That's always fun in the middle of a tournament.  The great Bill Tilden said, don’t change a winning game.  He also said, it’s fine to go after an opponent’s weakness, but if you really want to destroy him, go after his strength.  When that collapses, he’s totally done.  If she succeeds in getting the moderate Republicans over to her side, maybe she can make the Democrats into that party people have been aching for, one that occupies the great center while the opposition splinters and fights among themselves.  It could happen.  I wonder what she’ll do.

And on the other hand, this might all just be a load of crap.  Maybe she's just as happy hanging out with rich friends, and there's not much else she can do but wait for time to run out and become President with all the honor and glory and power, because that's all there is there.  Who knows?

Budd Shenkin

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