1.20.2007

Hillary Enters Race and Asks to Chat

As expected, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) today announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for president.

Declaring that there are big questions (re: ending Iraq, cleaning the environment and fixing social security), Senator Clinton invited everyone to join her in a series of on-line "chats" to talk about them.

Showcasing her strategy for winning the democratic nomination against a field of men, Senator Clinton made stressed these points:

- she opposes President Bush
- she grew-up middle class
- she fought for children and she's for education
- she's for health care--especially contraception without a prescription
- she's for adoptions
- she's for women's rights
- she's for opportunities for all types of families

Furthermore, she asked listeners to join her in "breaking barriers" because it's "our chance to say 'we can' and 'we will'."

A few observations:

1) Announcing an exploratory committee when everyone knows she's beyond exploring and has actually been running now for a couple of years is pretty silly. Some will say yes, but this allows her to raise money without officially announcing that she's running. Then what have all of those "committees" about that have raised $70,000,000 been about?

2) It's probably smart to be the women's candidate in the Democrat primaries. The thinking is that her opponents will split the male vote and none will be able to contest for the liberal activist female vote--which Hillary has locked up. The problem is in then appealing to a general public which is not so keen on supporting someone simply because they're the darling of NARAL, Planned Parenthood and NOW.

3) While the "chats" strategy worked in New York State because she really didn't know the state, it seems odd to use it for a national run. Afterall, she was First Lady and has toured the country extensively "chatting" with people. The other is that while all candidates want to "chat" with voters in order to sell their candidacies, reaching out through the use of impersonal Internet "chats" seems to only solidify Hillary's less than warm persona.

Finally, I can't help but think that as someone perceived to be cold, calculating and ruthless, to set-up today's announcement by first taking a below-the-belt swing at your lead opponent and colleague, Barack Obama, is stupid. I'm referring to Clinton's suggestion that there's something torrid about the fact that Obama attended school for two years as a boy in Muslim Indonesia.

In contrast to Hillary's harshness, note what Latino, Governor and presidential hopeful, Bill Richardson, had to say this week about Senator Obama: He's an “exciting candidate.” Here, here!!!

Thank you, Governor.