Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Problem With Mrs. Clinton's Strategy©

It has been fascinating watching candidate Hillary Clinton since she announced she was running for President about a month ago–and the media covering her non-campaign so far. The right are frustrated that she is not giving interviews or facing tough questions.  The left are proud that she is so politically astute. She knows she is ahead, so why jeopardize her position by getting into the fray, which most everyone seems to agree she isn’t good at anyway.

There is one thing that troubles me about this.  I think both sides are missing the point, one that I have yet to hear anybody make. Perhaps someone out there has, but I have not seen or heard it. (Feel free to call my attention to it if you have.)  Her political strategy is debatable. While it may insulate her from herself and from tough questions about e-mail, Benghazi, the Clinton foundation, Sidney Blumenthal, and her accomplishments or lack thereof as Secretary of State, almost all of which go to the matter of her integrity, her silence may also hurt her in the long run. This is why I believe this may be the case.

Some years ago I watched an interview with the very liberal actor Richard Dreyfus.  He was angry about George Bush or his administration about something. I have forgotten the issue now, but it is beside the point. He felt they were not transparent, they were not properly forthcoming.  They refused to answer the tough questions. In animated anger Dreyfus asserted something like this: Somebody needs to shove the mike in their face and remind them that they work for us and insist that they “answer the damn question.”

One American patron saint, Thomas Jefferson, wrote: "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."(1)  Nor is the remedy to keep the truth from them. Hillary Clinton is acting exactly contrary to the principle Jefferson expresses; she would keep power from us by keeping us in the dark. The one person in the country the American people need to know the most about is the President. Paul Wagner echoed Jefferson when he said, "It is the individual citizen’s understanding of facts that counts in a democracy.  In totalitarian states, only a few people have to know the significance of facts.  Here in America everyone has to know what facts mean."(2)  Here in America everyone has to know who and what Hillary Clinton is and what she means. According to our wisest precepts she is obligated to so inform us about her views, her past actions, and leadership.

I do not believe the American public wants a woman, or a man, to stand at the head of our nation, the most powerful nation the earth has ever seen, who is afraid to answer the tough question for what ever reason.  More importantly, I do not believe the American public want a president who will not render an account to them as her employer for what she thinks, says, or does!  We do not want a politically savvy sneak, manipulator, artificer, prevaricator, chameleon, or irresponsible and unresponsive coward to represent or lead us. This is why she is making a mistake–Americans can see through the sham.  She apparently has much to hide, and knowing this, she keeps the public in the dark as much as possible.  There are indeed those who love darkness more than the light.

True, there are those for whom none of this makes a difference.  But they should understand the ancient wisdom which says that, skill aside, you reap what you sow in this life.  Her character is the real issue.  Everywhere Mrs. Clinton goes she sows the wind and we the people, potentially her future employer, reap the whirlwind.  I agree with Mr. Dreyfus. Someone needs to remind Hillary that she wants to work for us. Therefore, she should step up to the microphone and answer the questions so we the people may make enlightened judgments about her suitability to do so.

Let's think together again, soon.


1.  Thomas Jefferson to W. C. Jarvis in, Rex R. Eastman (comp.), The Liberty Book of Quotations, p. 30.

2.  Paul A. Wagner, in Malcolm Forbes, The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, (New York: Forbes Inc., 1976), p. 390.  One wonders if Mrs. Clinton understands the fundamental truth uttered by Maria Razumich-Zec who said, "Your reputation and integrity are everything.  Follow through on what you say you’re going to do.  Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions."  [Maria Razmuich-Zec, in Bits & Pieces on Leadership, (August 2014), p. 19, emphasis added.]

1 comment:

  1. I wish I shared your confidence that, as you say, "Americans can see through the sham." After all, they did elect Obama twice.