Hillary Clinton hasn’t had much success on the circuit lately. In fact, it’s gotten so bad, she’s been asking voters to sign a “loyalty pledge” before they enter one of her rallies. There’s no word yet on what happens if you defect to Bernie Sanders, but most of the people who attended the rally are about to find out – of the “youth outreach” crowd, most were there to see Bill Clinton. The rest were dedicated Berniacs.
So like many of her robotic brethren before her, Hillary Clinton is taking a time-out to rework her campaign persona. According to her staff, once she emerges from a self-imposed cone of silence this week, she’ll be kinder, friendlier, funnier, more personable, and just an all-around better person. Hillary 2.0.
There will be no more flip jokes about her private email server. There will be no rope lines to wall off crowds, which added to an impression of aloofness. And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious.
Hillary Rodham Clinton declared her campaign for president nearly five months ago, before the startling rise of Senator Bernie Sanders, the volcanic candidacy of Donald J. Trump and the very public exploration of another White House run by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
In extensive interviews by telephone and at their Brooklyn headquarters last week, Mrs. Clinton’s strategists acknowledged missteps — such as their slow response to questions about her email practices — and promised that this fall the public would see the sides of Mrs. Clinton that are often obscured by the noise and distractions of modern campaigning.
They want to show her humor. The self-effacing kind (“The hair is real, the color isn’t,” she said of her blond bob recently, taking note of Mr. Trump) has played better than her sarcastic retorts, such as when she asked if wiping a computer server was done “with a cloth.”
They want to show her heart, like the time she comforted former drug addicts in a school meeting room in New Hampshire.
Her staff also says that she will “relentlessly” contrast herself with Republicans, since it’s doing her no good to contrast herself with other Democrats. According to her team, there have just been far too many targets for her to concentrate on a single one, and she’s been confused. She’s old, remember?
But the problem may be bigger than Hillary Clinton not showing her “softer side.” It may be that Hillary Clinton doesn’t actually have one that isn’t heavily polled and artificially constructed, and when it appears, it’s a terrifying, zombie apocalypse-style event, as she woodenly wobbles around the stage pretending to care about something that’s come up in the news recently, like minimum wage jobs, a Syrian refugee crisis, or the impossible repeal for Citizens United. She can’t speak credibly on much of anything. As far as Citizens United goes, for example, it’s difficult to come up with a compelling reason to trust someone who deleted thousands of potentially classified emails off of a private, unsecured home server to dedicate her life to transparency.
Frankly, I’m just scared of her latest iteration. So hopefully it launches right around Halloween.