07.29.2016 10:02 AM

I’m with her, but not so much that speech

Hillary had some tough acts to follow – the Obamas, Bill, Joe. The pressure was on. 

I looked at the speech as a speechwriter does. That’s how I started off in politics, after all. Writing speeches for Jean Chretien.

Here’s the good:

  • Her visuals were amazing – I don’t think she is capable of taking a bad picture
  • Despite a sore throat, she didn’t stumble or fumble – her delivery was good
  • She was best, I thought, towards the end – where she was talking about the rights of minority communities, and our collective obligation to defend them
  • The speech touched on every theme and issue that was out there

And the not-so-good:

  • That last point – touching on every theme and issue that was out there – was also the main weakness of her speech
  • It was a laundry list speech – written by a team of speechwriters, and likely run through a couple focus groups
  • Like all laundry list speeches, it kind of lacked a centre
  • The main challenge of the speech was not sounding like a president – we all already know that she has an unbelievably impressive CV and is eminently qualified for the Oval Office
  • The main challenge was addressing her greatest weakness – her persona, her personality, her humanity: she needed that speech to connect with people, and make them feel more comfortable about her
  • I don’t think the speech accomplished that – not because she lacks humanity and the common touch, but because they tried to cram too much stuff into one speech

That all said, I think it probably did what they wanted to do. It reminded people that she is thoughtful and smart, and that she is not a maniac. 

Therefore, the ballot question, for one of the most important elections of our lifetimes – even for those of us up here in Canada – remains the same: 

Donald Trump. That’s what this thing is all about. 

And, here we go. 

28 Comments

  1. Luke says:

    I tend to agree that the ballot issue for probably most people is Donald Trump. But is that a good things for the Dems?

    I ask because this thing seems to be shaping up such that you can either vote FOR one candidate, or AGAINST that candidate. Is the Clinton campaign going to essentially ride along on the fear of Donald Trump? The more they emphasize that, the more voters will think of a vote for Hillary as not being a vote for her, but a vote against Trump. Trump supporters, on the other hand, appear to be lapping up some portion of the shit he is spewing, and would thus decidedly be voting FOR their candidate.

    Both campaigns run the risk of being all about fear: Fear of the Other, or Fear of Donald Trump. Both campaigns have fear on their side. But Trump supporters will feel like they are making a positive choice for something they want, not a negative one for something they want to avoid. That seems like a better motivator. I hope I don’t know what I’m talking about anyway.

  2. G. McRae says:

    Both candidates have been in the public eye for long that people’s opinions about them are not likely to change. This election will come down to voter suppression (Sanders supporters on one side, reasonable/moderate Republicans on the other).

    • Steve T says:

      Bang on. I’ve never seen an election with more entrenched ideas than this one. I have yet to speak to a single person (on either side of the border – I have relatives in the U.S.) who is on the fence about who they support. The only thing I’ve heard that is in any way equivocal is “I’m not sure if I will vote at all.” That is quite rare in an election, and speaks to how polarizing these two candidates have become.

    • Kaplan says:

      Nah. What about entrenchment in 2001 (Gore vs. Bush), 2004 (Kerry vs. Bush) or 2008 (Obama vs. McCain)? The divide between decided was just as stark. Even 1992, with Clinton vs. Bush the elder, saw two sides that were completely entrenched. Really, there hasn’t been near enough cross-migration in decideds since 1980 (Reagan’s victory, in part by luring Dems).

      • Luke says:

        Your view makes sense to me. Basically all of the Americans I know all vote Democrat no matter what because the other option is simply too insane to possibly support. Perhaps to get out of this a generational shift is in order.

  3. PJH says:

    I watched the speech, and admired a master politician at work………I do have to admit that I admire these delegates defiance even more…….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQrH-cVwPuA

  4. MgS says:

    Talk about a ‘damned if you, damned if you don’t’ ballot choice.

    Elect Trump, and you are handing the keys over to the screaming sociopath faction; elect Hillary, and you hand the keys to quieter, but more devious group of people. It’s bad enough to make me think seriously that I’d vote Green in protest.

    I want to like Hillary, but in truth, I can’t. Where Trump is so obviously just doing whatever he thinks will get him votes in the minute, Hillary has always struck me as dead inside. Her facial expressions seldom include her eyes – making her smile look almost predatory at times. I’ve never been able to “forgive” her stance as one of the legislators who tried to point the finger of blame at Canada in the wake of 9/11. That was the worst kind of reactionary politics, and even when the evidence showed clearly that wasn’t the case, she still stuck to the position.

    She might be less awful than Trump, but I don’t hold much hope out for either of them as president.

  5. Michael Bluth says:

    The laundry list did seem a bit contradictory. One that particularly stood out for personal reasons was the promise to create good jobs on coal country then the very contradictory message of cutting GHGs. The contradiction adds to the disingenuous label. Perhaps tying them together and recognizing that cutting GHGs would necessitate job losses in coal country, but those people would be helped would make moe sense.

    I think the election comes down to world events. If we, hopefully, get through the summer with no more terrorist acts than Hillary wins easy. Regardless of her experience, fear helps Trump.

  6. Jean A Paterson says:

    I only had a chance to see bits of the speech. I liked very much that her tone was business-like, intelligent but not elitist, and clear. I did not want her to be smiling and simpering like a Southern Belle, which she is not. I suspect that there are still white women who dislike her for her chutzpah, her courage and persistence, because those white women buy into the stereotype of a woman as a smiling and simpering prop and nothing more.
    Hillary seems true to herself as a lifelong outspoken advocate for her viewpoints and beliefs.

    • Mike says:

      I wanted Hillary as President 8 years ago and have not changed my mind. Shows how much more every woman has to accomplish to reach their goal.

  7. MississaugaPeter says:

    The line that she is the most qualified person EVER for president has got a free pass, and it just shows that Trump is doing this all alone and the MSM is really along for the ride. To suggest her 4 years as Secretary of State, 8 years as FLOTUS, and 8 years senator beats Al Gore’s experience or Walter Mondale’s or Joe Biden’s, is a little over the top.

    With that said, I totally agree that the speech was an attempt to get everyone needed on board. And seeing what happens here in Canada, promising a laundry list works. When she gets elected, maybe she will surprise me the way Justin has. She most surely will be ahead of Trump by double digits if not more by Tuesday. Simple reason: The Democrats did enough to get most of Bernie’s impressionable supporters. If polled, up until now, Bernie supporters would have not answered they will vote for Clinton. After the convention, a strong majority of them will.

    No, I definitely would not vote for Trump or Hillary if I was an American. You may be asking why? The reason is that I would fear that I helped elect someone I truly do not admire and if they ended up being a disaster, as I suspect both of these two choices would be, I would be guilty of the disaster. Thus, it would be easier to vote for Greens or not vote at all. And the Hillary love-in the past 4 days really has not altered my opinion of either devil. I see it what it was, a spectacle to move the movable to the Democratic Party patronage machine. My cynical nature says that Bill, Obama, and all Democrats have a vested interest in Hillary becoming president.

    • james elder says:

      I don’t think the Republicans care. As long as they can win downline and keep what they have they can throw their neverending tantrum for another four years and we’ll be right back here in deadlock.

  8. The Doctor says:

    One of the phenomena that’s really in play this election is the “hold your nose” voter vs. the “principled” voter, and I think it’s a fundamental personality difference in people. I have definitely held my nose and voted for candidates I don’t like all that much, for strategic reasons and because I often see some other candidate as the greater evil. But some people, quite a few, just can’t bring themselves to do that. If I were an American, I would hold my nose and vote for Hillary, while all too aware of her flaws. But I am blown away by the number of progressive, liberal, and very politically engaged people I talk to who are positively vitriolic in their dislike of HRC for all sorts of reasons (e.g., Iraq). And when Michael Moore, of all people, is predicting a Trump victory, that’s really sobering.

  9. Carey Miller says:

    A great quote from Michael Douglas, in The American President, stated that the job of President was “all about character.” As I listed the the speeches at the DNC Convention, the recurring themes were about her qualifications and her humanity. However, even in her own speech, one got the sense that she would be an effective manager. While that might be her strength, it is also a glaring weakness.

    Presidential candidates win based on their ability to connect with voters on an emotional level. Except for those at the fringes, nobody truly believes the campaign promises. They understand that reality will soon interfere. They look for a candidate who, they believe, will have their interests at heart and will make decisions with that in mind. That is how Obama beat Hillary the first time. He combined oratory with empathy, intelligence with vision. He became a person voters believed could sit in the big chair and have people execute for him.

    Hillary, with her great list of accomplishments, does not convey vision. She is the person you sic on a problem to get it fixed but not the person who sees the grander vision. She is the COO to another person’s CEO. That will be a big problem, as she is battling an actual CEO.

  10. Dan Calda says:

    The real quandry for the Republicans…

    The majority in the Senate is razor thin.
    The majority in the House is none too large.

    80% or there abouts of seats in Congress are in play…

    If Team Clinton plays this right…it could be a slam dunk.
    Depending on what level of faith one has in polling…the entire leadership of the Republican Party could be in for the fight of their lives.

    Its up to Team Clinton to close the deal.

    • Ron says:

      Congress is currently more of a check than a balance.

      Whoever wins the Presidency better hope that Congress is onside.

      Can you imagine the Gong Show if Trump won but Congress was hostile ?

      • bluegreenblogger says:

        I would not think it a gong show if the division of powers were to prove prophetic. We would get to see the actual working ( or failure) of the US Constitution. Don’t forget the Supreme Court! They are inherently hostile to a Presidency that decries Liberty and Justice for all, and would likely prove the real check.

  11. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    To win, Clinton has to go back to the future – – to the 2008 campaign. Clinton wells up: this is very personal. Check it out on YouTube. She is at her best, authentic and brilliant. She absolutely needs more of that and quickly. Agree?

  12. !o! says:

    I’m starting to get very very nervous about this election.

  13. Francis says:

    How do you address something you cannot fully understand?

    If her main challenge is her lack of reliability or her appearance of seeming robotic and less natural, that those are issues that Hillary can only work so much on. At a certain point, she and her advisors are going to have to accept that for the most part, Americans have made up their mind about her personally. There’s little I think Hillary can actually do to change that. I think the speeches by Michelle, Bernie, Obama and Biden were largely meant to paint Hillary in a more appealing way and they succeeded. But when Hillary hit the stage herself to give a speech, those qualities (or lack thereof) just weren’t visible.

    The problem is that Hillary Rodham Clinton has been in the public eye for decades now and its very difficult to re-introduce her as someone other than what she’s been seen as. I was watching an episode of the Sopranos the other day and there was a scene in which a group of women discuss her: what starts off as disdain for insistence to stick by Clinton ultimately turns into respect for her resilience and independence. I think that is her strong point; she is someone who rolls with the punches and is nothing like a typical victim of difficult circumstances. What makes her appear less vulnerable or “human” is what makes her appear very resilient. Hillary Clinton is an incredibly empowered women and has been ever since she hit the public eye as FLOTUS. She’s never been the prototypical wife and has proven herself to be much tougher than most of her opponents.

    I would argue: if her power and machine-like determination is a strength, then why take that away from her?

    Ironically, Donald Trump suffers from the same affliction. He too has been in the public eye for decades and what we know of him is the image he has cultivated for himself for years. The difference is he’s playing up on this perception of being a tough, ruthless boardroom executive with enough money to not give a shit. Oddly enough, these are qualities that Americans are drawn to at the moment. Either way, he’s selling it and people are buying it.

    For Hillary to compete with Donald, she would need to lean into her calculated image a bit and challenge Trump on the same scale. Where she looks pragmatic, calculated, intelligent and experienced, Donald Trump will looks indecisive, incompetent and way in-over-his-head. I don’t see the point in Democrats trying to construct a sympathetic attitude towards Hillary because the saleability of that commodity doesn’t exist amongst those who have already made their minds up about her. Same can be said about Trump: you just can’t make that idiot look smart. But unlike Hillary, Donald’s stupidity appears to be sincere and thus voters are drawn to it someone who is genuinely horrible — but nonetheless genuine.

    I think the best time for Hillary to shine will be on the debates. That is her turf and I’d be looking for any opportunity to go one-on-one with Trump if I were Hillary. So far she’s struggled with people like Bernie who seem loveable, but Trump is very hatable. If she’s able to make him look weak and disorganized, she can plant the seeds of doubt about him while simultaneously making herself appear genuinely knowledgeable. What she needs is some of that Joe Biden “I’m sick of this shit” attitude. The more burning her criticisms on Trump are, the weaker he’ll look. Plus, theres nothing worse for Trump and his legion of male followers than having a women scathingly chastise you in front of the whole world.

  14. James Smith says:

    POTUS-BO Campaigned on HOPE & CHANGE & at least got some Health Care. Two years later, despite their commission that essentially said “We got the message” The GOP in 2010 & ever since has turned that to NOPE, NO CHANGE! So HRC has a tightrope to walk between attracting Independents & some GOP supporter and getting down ticket support. For HRC to win, and win big this needs to be seen a tight race causing many GOP voters to vote for her out of panic or stay home.

  15. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    If I was Paul Manafort, I would be studying the Justin Debate prep. Justin got schooled in domestic and foreign policy – – for Trump it has to be foreign policy and defense. This election isn’t about Trump. Rather, it’s a referendum on fear, both rational and irrational. That’s why he’s ahead.

  16. Jon Evan says:

    What a wild USA presidential campaign! Yeah, it’s about Hillary, it’s not about America, it’s all about her!
    Can this woman even answer a question? Is it little wonder why so many Americans hate her. Not dislike her but actually hate her?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dY77j6uBHI
    After watching this… I like what is this? She takes no responsibility for anything she says. It’s all about Hillary and nobody else.
    How can anyone in good conscience vote for her except to do that thing you know ‘hold your nose’ and vote because you are scared stiff of the alternative. With Hillary at least you know what you are getting: more of the same. With Trump I suppose it’s questionable except I like what someone said Trump at least is a CEO but Hilliary is more of a COO but not all that good at that either.

  17. bluegreenblogger says:

    ROFL, reads like an obituary. he ain’t dead yet.

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