Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Clinton machine finally rumbles to life

She's had a few good days, maybe she can string together a few more before the debate next week.  First: Saturday Night Live, Val the bartender, and her imitation of Trump.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's starring role on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live," as usual, comes down to the same old question: Did she do herself any favors? "I've had a hard couple of 22 years," her double, Kate McKinnon, told the real-life presidential candidate. A hard couple of 22 months as well.

What was unique about Clinton's role on "SNL" was in fact that it was a role: Val, the bartender. Usually the idea is just to play a funnier, nicer, more human and more ironic version of one's self.

If at all possible.

Coming from an incorrigible Clinton non-supporter, she managed it.

She, or Val, even tried impersonating Donald Trump, and it's fair to say most viewers had seen or heard better.... But that didn't mean the skit didn't work for Clinton. It actually did because it broke down a standard go-to joke, of having the politician come face to face with their alternate-universe "SNL" version. That's almost always guaranteed a quick laugh. Not much else. Recall Tina Fey and Sarah Palin, or Amy Poehler and Clinton.

And turning the joke however very gently back on Clinton -- as someone late to her convictions on issues such as gay marriage or even the Keystone XL pipeline -- didn't hurt her, either.

Viewers got to see Clinton laugh, too. They don't see that often either. There hasn't been a lot to laugh about. "I wish you could be president," said the Hillary-McKinnon character. "Me too," said Hillary-Val the bartender.

Critics will argue that Clinton got a free campaign commercial (they won't be wrong). Or that she diminished her stature as a serious candidate (wrong -- many politicians eventually find their way to Studio 8H, including President Barack Obama in 2012).

"Millennial pandering" was the rap she got recently from a Salon Daily Beast columnist for doing an interview with Lena Dunham and her "Lennyletter" newsletter. (But don't all politicians pander?) She even introduced Miley Cyrus -- who was on her best behavior Saturday for the occasion -- for the show's first musical performance.

OK, pandering.

This is really all we've come to expect from our politicians.  Contrast her performance with one Bernie Sanders might make on the show in the near future.  Maybe he can be funnier, or more warm, and compared to his gruff Brooklynite demeanor, it would be hilarious.  We'll have to wait and see.

More importantly, the prohibitive favorite to replace John Boehner gave her a gift and she's using it to full advantage.

Hil­lary Clin­ton doesn’t want voters to for­get that a top Cap­it­ol Hill Re­pub­lic­an last week cred­ited the House Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Benghazi with hurt­ing her pres­id­en­tial cam­paign.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign is launch­ing a new na­tion­al cable TV ad that high­lights the re­cent com­ments by House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy—re­marks that Demo­crats call proof that the GOP-led pan­el is de­signed as a polit­ic­al weapon against her.

“The Re­pub­lic­ans fi­nally ad­mit it,” states the nar­rat­or of the ad that will be­gin air­ing Tues­day. It then shows the re­marks last week by Mc­Carthy, who is seek­ing to be­come the next speak­er of the House.

“Every­body thought Hil­lary Clin­ton was un­beat­able, right? But we put to­geth­er a Benghazi spe­cial com­mit­tee,” Mc­Carthy said on Fox News late Tues­day night. “What are her num­bers today?”

The ad’s nar­rat­or then states: “The Re­pub­lic­ans have spent mil­lions at­tack­ing Hil­lary be­cause she’s fight­ing for everything they op­pose. From af­ford­able health care to equal pay, she’ll nev­er stop fight­ing for you, and the Re­pub­lic­ans know it.”

McCarthy may have shit the bed in more places than one.

The re­marks, which were badly out of step with long-stand­ing GOP claims that the com­mit­tee is not polit­ic­al, irked Re­pub­lic­ans in­clud­ing Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz, who is mount­ing an up­hill can­did­acy against Mc­Carthy for the speak­er’s gavel.

Rarely does a political opponent hand you such a large cudgel to beat them with.   But these are House Republicans, after all.  The best and brightest among them just aren't as smart as a fifth grader.

Then there's next Tuesday's debate, which won't have Joe Biden as part of it.  That is, as someone once said, a BFD.  Biden would steal the limelight to some degree simply by being there.  If Clinton triumphs in the debate, rumors of his jumping-in might lessen.

All five but one of the six declared candidates have been invited to participate, but expect three -- Clinton, Sanders, and Martin O'Malley -- to do the most talking.  There's going to be some good cop (Sanders) - bad cop (O'Malley ) beating on the front-runner.  If James Webb, Lawrence Lessig, and Lincoln Chafee don't go after Clinton as well -- no guarantees that Chafee or Lessig won't -- then she might be able to withstand the onslaught from Bernie and Martin a bit better.  Webb is well to her right on nearly every issue, including the Confederate flag, Chafee is a gimmick and Lessig is a one-trick pony.  A very important single trick he has, as even the Houston mayor's race has revealed, but still more sideshow than serious candidate.

Update: Lessig will not be participating in Tuesday's debate.  Strike-throughs above reflect that correction.

I personally will look to see if Clinton goes after Sanders on gun safety.  This could be the thing that turns Sanders' polling south, after his slow, methodical surge upward.  She could be judged the winner of the forum based on this issue alone, almost irrespective of any other one.  The Black Lives Matter incidents and concerns should draw the full scrutiny of each candidate, but I don't see them quite as pivotal at this time; that is, absent a protest during the debate.  This analysis assumes no obvious gaffes by her or anybody else, for that matter.  Update: More from Reverb Press, who reminds me that O'Malley has long touted his record on strict gun laws.

I can almost guarantee gun control will be a prime topic in the first primary debate on October 13. My prediction: O’Malley and Clinton will not hold back on berating Sanders about his relaxed position on gun control throughout his (political) tenure.

Finally, Clinton needs to take a position on the TPP now that it's back in the news.  If she doesn't, she'll pay a price for it.  Expect her to shilly-shally right up to the last minute, then come out against.

That rumbling you heard that started over the weekend wasn't just thunder.  Hillary Clinton's campaign finally seems to be coming together.

Update:  More on everything I wrote and a little more here.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

I watched the clip yesterday, myself.

Given that American presidential politics is geared toward "charismatic leadership" more than "competency leadership," the old "shot and a beer" line about Bush, or something similar, is held to by many voters. And thus, yes, if Hillary could unwind (like the hubster!) it would help her chances, I'm sure.


I read over the weekend that Biden's got about a month left before he hits some hard filing deadlines.


Very good point on guns ... might be time to blog myself.