Posted by: George | September 12, 2016

Hey Hillary, stop doing dumb sh*t, part two

Being with Hillary is frustrating. I do not mean “being with” as “supporting.” We are all “with” Hillary, whether we are a supporter or a hater. We cannot avoid it, anymore than we can avoid being “with” Donald Trump, which is not easy either, but I’ll save that for another post.

What is particularly frustrating about Hillary is that nothing is ever resolved. Her supporters want scandals to be settled or drift into obscurity. Her haters want her in jail. We are all stuck in some kind of vicious loop where nothing seems to change.

She can apologize. She can explain. Congress can put us through weeks of hearings. The FBI can assign over a hundred agents to investigate her. Nothing is ever resolved. We all keep slogging through six inches of mud.

Why?

Other politicians are able to move on. That doesn’t mean that they move beyond having some kind of hint of scandal that loops around from time to time. But they don’t seem to live with their scandals the way that Hillary does. And, also, Bill. It seems to be a family thing.

A number of pundits have said that the Clintons think they are above accountability or that they can game the system. There’s some truth in this.

Hillary once referred to a “vast right wing conspiracy” to undo her husband. At times, she seems to hint that she still believes in the conspiracy, which is now directed at her. There might be some truth here also.

Since Reagan, conservatives—especially the one percent—seem to think that this is their country. I don’t think that the chants of “we want our country back” are entirely racist. The sentiment also reflects a belief that core American values are essentially conservative, even narrowly Christian, even more narrowly evangelical. The Clintons have been the biggest threat to their America.

Public Relations experts, like Donnie Deutsch, say the Clintons do not get out ahead of their scandals. They let information dribble out. They are slow to apologize. There’s some truth here also.

Let me my part to the existing explanations. I think the Clintons have a complex world view, and that conflicts with how the pubic views truth.

The Clintons are smart people, probably two of the smartest people in the history of American politics. Smart people like complexity and grey areas.

They have also been active—very active—in politics and charity work for a long time. There is a lot of history to their public life. In other words, there’s a lot of complexity.

Look at, for example, the Clinton Foundation. The foundation has raised an incredible amount of money and has had a profound positive effect on many issues. It is doing great work. One might argue that the Clintons have tried to be transparent about who the donors are and how the money is used. At the same time, you cannot raise that kind of money without giving something to donors. That “something” might have been fairly benign, like a short meeting or a phone call with Bill or Hillary, but there is going to be a “something.” In other words, there are a lot of “dots” here.

This is not unlike being president or being Secretary of State. These jobs entail a lot of meetings. There are a lot of “dots” here also.

So, the Clintons have a complex and long history with a lot of “dots.” Draw a line through some of the dots. Any kind of line. Straight. Squiggly. Angular. Make a story from the dots that you connected. Bam, you have a scandal.

In some ways, I have been surprised that we haven’t had more stories about more Clinton scandals. You don’t need a top-notch investigative reporter. Pull some third grader out of class for a few hours. Have the kid draw some lines through dots. Ask the kid to write a story. Hey, a new scandal.

At this point, you may be thinking that I am trying to defend the Clintons and say they are much aligned.

That’s not the point I want to make. Here is the point: The Clintons are complex people who have led complex lives, and they want to talk about complexity. However, complexity doesn’t make scandals go away. Simplicity and repetition of a simple message is the only strategy that works, and it is the only strategy that the Clintons are unwilling to try.

The Clintons have made mistakes. Hillary admitted that she made a mistake to have an email server in her home, and she even apologized for it. Good. Now, walk away.

She doesn’t walk away. Instead, she keeps talking. She talks about the complexity of how Top Secret documents are labeled. She talks about the administration policy. She talks about all kinds of things. Don’t do that. Walk away.

Whenever reports ask Hillary about the emails, she should say she made a mistake and apologize. That’s all. If the reporters ask follow-up questions, give the same simple answer. Over and over.

If Hillary cannot control herself, if she has to go into complexity, do it on a website. Or, let surrogates talk about complexity.

Hillary should just say she made a mistake, apologize, and then shut up.

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