How to respond to Hillary Clinton

Read this, the headline is "Obama: I’m no V.P.".  That’s not just the biased framing of the journalist, it captures Obama’s words.  My unsolicited advice is this: if you are a political candidate, proclaiming "I am not X" is not much better than admitting "I am X."  Either way it frames the debate.  And avoid phrases like "If I’m not ready [for the Presidency]…"  Why not punch back with: "A President needs to do at least two things.  First, read the will of the voters.  Second, figure out which country in a region is winning the race for influence and which country is coming in second.  This kind of talk is a sign that Hillary Clinton can do neither.  I’m running for President, while she is busy failing arithmetic."

I know I promised, way back when, no candidate blogging, but alas every now and then some things just bug me.

Comments

I disagree. Clinton is just portraying Obama as a natural number 2 while she is naturally top-dog -- she's been around longer, he's a new face, so there. That's the frame she wants.

Obama is trying to restore the frame in which they are going head-to-head for the nomination and he is solidly defeating her (your response tries to do the same thing). I personally think "I don't understand" is a brilliant reply. Of course it's perfectly clear what's going on -- Clinton wants to win, Obama has too much support for her to win, so she sticks him on the bottom of her ticket while claiming he's too inexperienced. "I don't understand" gets right at that. Moreover, his more subtle response gets his supporters a little more outraged -- why is Clinton putting down their candidate? The schemer! She's trying to bamboozle them! Meanwhile you're talking about her math skills.

Assuming that he would in fact accept the VP slot, the only danger in Obama's argument is that he might have to eat his words if he does in fact lose the nomination. With the strong position he's in at this point, he probably figures it's worth the risk to settle this matter. Media narrative be damned, the reality of the situation is that Obama has nearly closed the deal, and that he just needs to take control of the narrative long enough to accomplish something that will push her over the edge into irrelevance. Since there are no contests after today for several weeks, he's not going to accomplish this goal electorally in the near future, so his best option is to appear to rise above Clinton's level of politics by loudly declaring that he won't play the game, then throwing in just a few key forceful punches when it's most opportune.

I think that he's right to frame the argument as he is doing, simply because the Clintons have been so wily. They throw everything they possibly have at him and see what sticks, but he has shown that he can be equally effective without having to defend himself on every point, and without having to attack her constantly. The more that he makes it look like she's dancing around just looking for an opening and that he is being forthright and honest, the more that people are going to realize that Hillary's team looks absolutely silly parrying in every direction and hoping they can draw some blood.

Somehow I don't think your retorical advice to Obama is going to be picked up.

I think he missed the point of the offer. It wasn't aimed at him. It was aimed as superdelegates. It said to them that Clinton was interested in uniting the party, sinking her differences with her rival. His curt refusal didn't counter that message. He would have been better off saying that he intended to be the Presidential nominee but that later, when she recognized that, he'd want to talk to her about her being his vice-president.

Um, I was on board until the proposed alternative...

Not to rain on the parade, but let me point out that people are discussing politician's blah blah blah on an economics blog. Is there any greater reason for being for economics than to discard and cut through all the politician blah blah blah? Okay, I feel better, go about your business.

I voted for you in Colorado, now I wished I hadn't. Quit attacking Obama. He was referring to 45 minutes of stupid questions that were meant to be of tabloid quality to mess with him and you. They had no relevance to what is really important. You are coming across as a mean, little person. You are better than that.

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