For a while, it seemed to be a shoo-in for Hillary as the Donald kept putting one foot after the other in his mouth, as if he was an octopus. But now he’s seemingly been tamed, and there is more of a need to promote Hillary Clinton on her own merits.
This past weekend was somewhat of a downer. The question of Clinton’s accessibility to the press resurfaced, and the very reasonable Brian Stelter of CNN informed us that it has been 260 days and counting since her last press conference. To make it worse, she was spending the days hopping from one exclusive fund-raising event to another.
This makes it harder for some to accept her as being “authentic.” After all, how many “real people” do you know who go to fund-raisers … for themselves? I would put going to one of these events somewhere above a colonoscopy, but still much worse than a trip to the modern-day dentist.
I wonder if she and her advisors are making a cost-benefit analysis of these fund-raisers. The plus side is that she raises money which can be spent on television ads, which to date have been very good. The down side is the perception that she is most at home with other “insiders” and she is distancing herself further from the preponderance of voters.
I would love for her to hold a full-fledged press conference, but I can understand her reluctance to do so. There are sharks out there who consider her fresh meat every time that she steps on a stage. But there are ways to be accessible to the press without holding a conference.
In the past, she has been quite willing to go on PBS and be interviewed by Gwen Ifill or Judy Woodruff. Both of them are fair, while still willing to challenge their subjects. Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC will always give her a fair shake as will Erin Burnett or Don Lemon on CNN.
She could go on Face the Nation with John Dickerson who moderates the program with the same dignity as his predecessor, Bob Schieffer. She could do ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, after all he was working for the Clintons shortly after he was out of diapers.
Gloria Shur Bilchik pointed out last week that the Clinton campaign does not seem serious in a state like Missouri which is now considered pink rather than red. Think of the visibility she could gain if she did nothing more than put together an organization that would harness the energy of all the volunteers who would like to work for her. There is nothing wrong with a 50-state strategy. In this strange election year, outcomes could be very unpredictable. At the very least, she can help spread her “progressive-lite” message to millions of voters who otherwise would not be likely to hear it.
I know that all of this will seem meaningless after the debates begin come September 26. But what she is doing now is shaping the predisposition that voters will bring towards her in the first debate.
As she languishes, more and more of her potential voters give consideration to Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The “fierce urgency of now” exists for Clinton. As the Donald is somewhat muzzled, there are more headlines to be grabbed each day. I hope that she comes out of the shell and gives her supporters more to work with. There is untapped energy out there for her, but it is in dwindling supply and it has a short half-life. Come on Hillary, help us help you.