As a supporter of Hillary Clinton, it is frustrating to see her campaign bogged down with the same questions for almost two years now. Any objective assessment of her ability to do function as a president will show that she is more qualified than the best that the republican party can ever produce, at least for now. It doesn’t matter whether it’s John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or anyone else. President Obama was absolutely correct when he said that there has never been anyone more prepared and qualified for the office of the President of the United States than Hillary Clinton.
But her campaign is bogged down by this hunker-down mentality, trying to wait out the election, and thus, giving Donald Trump – the most reviled, racist and xenophobic candidate of our lifetime – hope, albeit a faint one, that he could demagogue his way into the oval office. For someone with an army of brilliant legal and politically-savvy minded strategists, it is political stupidity to continue to follow this flawed strategy that has damaged her political brand. If her campaign is properly managed, she should be up by as many as 20 points by now because her opponent is a bumbling idiot who does not know what he’s talking about and whom she has properly branded as unfit for the office of the President of the United States. You will think that with so many republicans pledging their support to her, this race would have been out of reach by now.
Of course, the main reason why there seems to be a race is that she has unwittingly ceded the airwaves to the media and Donald Trump. Both have engaged in erroneous criticism of her emails and in distorting the excellent work of the Clinton Foundation. The facts of the emails have been established. She has apologized as well as explained the so-called conflict-of-interest with her Foundation. Where the campaign has gone wrong is in allowing herself to be defined by Donald Trump and the Press. Providing two, three or five-minute interviews, as a way of addressing these issues with the Press (with members who believe that their over-sized egos have been hurt), will not cut it. She needs to confront these issues head on and share a little bit of her vulnerability in making such bad judgment. That might actually help the public to connect with her instead of the way they see her now. Otherwise, the Press will continue to run with Donald Trump’s talking points, thus allowing the perception of her as untrustworthy to erode her poll numbers.
When revelations of her husband’s infidelity threatened to derail his presidential run in 1991, she went on 60 Minutes and spoke about their marital difficulties. She challenged those who did not believe them and who felt otherwise to vote for someone else. That interview was credited with resurrecting and saving Bill Clinton’s presidential hopes. And the rest is history as they say. The reason that worked then was because she spoke from her heart and did not come off as calculating as she is mostly viewed now. She showed then that, they are willing to lose the election if possible, rather than walk away from the reality of their marital life. That was gutsy, sincere and human. She needs to reach for that kind of humanity inside herself again.
Granted that she and Bill have faced an unprecedented amount of unjustified political animosity from their opponents, that does not justify her penchant for resorting to caginess and refusal to speak. The politics surrounding the investigation of her use of personal email and server is clear for anyone to see. But not addressing it openly makes it worse than it really is. She should, therefore, schedule a conference immediately and invite as many journalists as possible and plan to take questions until she exhausts all their questions about this issue. Given her marathon performance at the Senate Select Committee on Benghazi, we know she has both the ability and mental stamina to do it.
It is unfortunate that our political media is bought and paid for by big money and their preoccupation with false equivalence reporting is indefensible. That said, she needs to take positive action, not just to limp thru the finish line in November, but to win decisively, helping Democrats in down-ballot races prevail and give her a governing mandate. Anything less will weaken her and give her right wing political enemies the opening to continue their attack. If that happens, it will cripple her administration and make it ineffective.