••• The International Writers Magazine:Reality Check USA
Madam Shoo-In: Daily Crisis
Hillary Clinton on Defense
It was pretty much expected, even by his supporters, that Donald Trump would have little to no idea what he was doing on a campaign trail – having never considered such a thing until mid-summer of 2015. This has been on glaring display now for months. Hillary Clinton is another story. She has been campaigning for some three decades. She has been trolling around Washington since Nixon was in the White House, lived in the place throughout the 1990s, ran and won a senate seat twice in New York, and was Secretary of State for the first Obama term. Yet, it appears by every indication (beyond the cadre of ridiculous cash and a ground machine that would rival Sherman’s obliteration of the South) that she is lost in this game.
How is this possible?
First off, Clinton stinks at this. She is a wonk. She is a “figure stuff out/get in the weeds” candidate. She also hates this. Hates it. At the time of this writing, she has not held a formal press conference since December 5, 2015 – 270 days or so, and none in the calendar year; a year, by the way, that she is running for fucking president. Now, the Clinton Campaign will rightly claim that she’s had press events and taken questions from organizations, spoken to voters, and made herself available for impromptu discussions on press planes and hotel lobbies, and she goes on cable news shows occasionally, but to not hold a single traditional press conference is not only nuts but it tells you quite a bit what the campaign thinks about having its candidate standing in front of a microphone for any length of time.
Next up, she has zero-to-negative personality. Who knows what she thinks about anything, really. When she does get to “expressing herself”, it sounds eerily as if she works on the thin line between condescension and aloofness. There is very little she says, when she does say anything, which resembles the actual subject she is ostensibly addressing. This leads to charges of her being “crooked” or the Clinton staple – flat out lying. She and her multi-million dollar team knew this was already baked into the Clinton brand, but she has done absolutely nothing to correct it. If anything she has enhanced it by spastically bumbling through the delicate art of deflection.
More crucially, on a daily basis, there is something akin to blatant scandal (State emails/private server), weird political whitewashing (Benghazi), or a quasi-icky and wholly inappropriate masquerade (Clinton Foundation/State Department connections). It is truly astounding how much the current Clinton presidential campaign mirrors the first one; Big Bill, in 1992, wherein there were new and improved shenanigans rolled out every week, as if a circus tent – draft-dodging, pot-smoking, serial philandering, shady land deals, odd associations. All the while, Clinton fobbed it off as scurrilous rumor or the work of the infamous “Right Wing Conspiracy”. And because his opponent underestimated him and Ross Perot sucked up 16 percent of the vote, he became president. Hillary will too, of course. Because, it appears, the white noise that is Clinton scandals just don’t matter anymore.
Well, that’s not entirely true. If we are going to live in the cold world of numbers, then things have begun to plateau in Clinton-land. The latest mid-August revelation that major donors to the Clinton Foundation had gotten an audience with the Secretary of State – according to the AP report, 85 of 154 meetings were with donors – was the beginning of this latest crack in the façade. Although the story was later criticized by other news organizations for conveniently or sloppily leaving the full 1,700 meetings during the same period, which changes the startling figure from over 50 percent to five, the Clinton team seemed to think a viable defense was that the Clinton Foundation “does good work” and is the “world’s leading charity”. Then it released statements that both she and Mr. Clinton would cease relations with the foundation once she is president.
So, “not good” if she’s president, but “okay” when she is Secretary of State? This is as preposterous a response to a major accusation as possible. Nobody bought it, not even her constituents, who began back-tracking within minutes of hearing this nonsense. This neatly explains why the polls have tightened and why what looked like a total annihilation of her Republican opponent will now merely be a comfortable victory.
But as continually stated here, unless she is indicted for an actual crime, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be president. We’ve been on this for a couple of years now, so we see no reason to waver, but this does not excuse the above issues. Madam Shoo-In cannot shake all of this crap the Clintons seem to wade in as a matter of principle. It has actually further tanked her already historical low approval rating and strengthened the notion that she cannot and should not be trusted. Her only salvation is that this number is bested by Trump, who appears daily as less corrupt than mad.
His hour-long “Immigration Plan” roll-out this week was so factually inaccurate it is probably fair to call it fiction, which underlines his completely made-up excuse for not releasing his tax returns because of an audit – a man whose only claim to doing the job he seeks is his business record not releasing financials is like if I tried to get a book deal without presenting a manuscript.
So when people ask me how a woman whose approval ratings blow, who is a shitty candidate, and has a daily crisis hanging over her head could become president, look no further than her opponent and the party for which he stands – antiquated, racially insulated, unrealistic and tone deaf.
The question should be how does a candidate with an iron-clad coalition that twice elected her predecessor, overwhelming dominance in voting demographics, flush with four times the money, and twice the campaign infrastructure only hold a modest lead?
© James Campion September 2nd 2016
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James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.