Saturday, February 16, 2008

Will Hillary focus her campaign energy on the plight of the middle class and working class Americans?

One of the key factors that will determine whether Hillary does well in Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania is the degree to which her "message" is laser-focused on "the plight of the middle class" and "addressing the needs of working class Americans." The progressives can focus all they want on Iraq, changing Washington and reforming politics, hope, and change, but a very large chunk of voters are much more concerned with personal economic issues. The issue is not the overall economy or overall policies or radically reforming Washington or refashioning politics in general, but the aspects of government and impact of government that "touch" people in their daily lives.

If Hillary can stay disciplined and simply ignore Barack and stay absolutely laser-focused on "helping middle and working class Americans get back on their feet and stay on their feet", thenshe can do quite well.

In fact, if Hillary can avoid ever even using the words "hope" and "change" or "Iraq" or "Washington" or "politics" or even hinting that she has a Democratic opponent let alone naming him, then she can do quite well. Every speech should come across as a personal chat with the voters, filled with empathy and resolve and strength. People should feel that she is talking to them rather than about policies and plans. She needs to focus on 100% positive that listeners will associate with having her in the picture after the election. She needs to stay away from the negative and laser-focus on her resolve to be the leader for "overcoming challenges [and criticisms]" rather than feeling compelled to "respond" to every criticism hurled her way by her opponents. She really does have a "high road" that she can follow if she will only resolve to follow it.

In short, Hillary will be screwed unless she sincerely and impressively comes across as having sufficient empathy and resolve to be "the leader" most prepared to deal with the fact that:

  • The middle class needs to be "restored".
  • The needs of working class Americans need to be met.
  • Pathways and "bridges" out of poverty into mainstream America need to strengthened, rebuilt, renewed, and even created anew.

She most certainly has no need to be defensive or attempt to defend herself against "charges" that the work that she and Bill were focused on for eight is old or irrelevant or outdated or inappropriate. Rather, she should focus on the fact that she (and Bill) have already built a foundation upon which they can be expected to build even greater successes. The progressives can argue all they want that the Clinton foundation should be disdainfully tossed aside, but middle and working class Americans already deeply know that they want to see the past work continued and completed rather than to cavalierly trust vague "hope" and dubious "change" to successfully replace it.

-- Jack Krupansky

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