Clinton ordered her advisers to reorient their message on Sunday to more aggressively focus on the idea that Obama is all talk and no action. “This election is about the difference between talk and action, between rhetoric and reality,” Clinton said at a crowded rally near the coast Sunday night in what advisers said was a new approach that she scripted herself.
So her new “script” is that she is all “action”? How mind-numbingly hilarious is that? I’d expect a lawyer, of all the professions, to know what rhetoric means, and to know that it is a huge part of governing, as Obama seems well aware in my previous entry.
This isn’t her best gaffe, though. There’s also her new liberal use of Cuomo’s (or is it Nixon’s?) “You campaign with poetry, but you govern with prose,” which is so stunning that it leaves me in the envious position of not knowing where to begin. Maybe the assumption that prose is direct, honest, and practical while poetry is indirect, dishonest, and flighty? The assumption that campaign speeches have no content, while speeches made in office do have content? The assumption that prose is superior to poetry? The assumption that there is a clear division between the two? The assumption that it’s ok to deceive and talk fluff while campaigning? The contradiction between saying that she’s all action and her declaration that as a candidate, she’s being poetic?
This isn’t well thought out at all, and sounds like free fall to me. She is in little position to talk about action, given the deals she’s made with the GOP as a senator, or experience, given that Obama, despite his youth, has more years in elected office. While full frontal assault tactics worked well for her husband in his primaries – I remember how nasty ’92 was – I don’t think it works well for her, as her biggest negative among Democrats is her two-faced reputation as a progressive first lady and a corrupt behind-the-scenes dealmaker. Bill just had scandals. She should really be challenging Obama on his message of hope on the terms that she offers more hope, instead of dismissing the concept.
I always think rhetoric is at its most interesting when it is denied; when someone says there is no persuasion going on, as Clinton seems to be currently, you can be sure it is there.