The Hillary Clinton campaign wants you to know that her recent comments in which she compared Republicans to terrorists and Nazis within the span of 24 hours were not “mistakes,” despite the fact that they were widely panned by pundits on both sides of the aisle. Rather, they were part of a deliberate campaign strategy hatched as part of a campaign “reset” – which, by my count, is at least the fifth for Hillary’s floundering campaign so far.
According to Hillary campaign operatives, their current brilliant strategy is to take the focus off the outlandish things Hillary did while she was Secretary of State and put them instead on outlandish things she’s said as a candidate. Per her campaign operatives, she is trying to reassure Democrats that she will be able to attack Republicans in the general, and nothing says “general election finesse” like calling your opponents Nazis and terrorists right out of the gate:
Hillary Clinton is resetting her campaign strategy with aggressive attacks against Republicans to move the conversation away from questions about the email controversy that has dogged her for months.
By comparing Republicans to terrorists and calling the GOP “the party of Trump,” Clinton grabbed headlines and sought to assuage doubts about her campaign, even while it has lost ground in recent polls.
Democratic strategists say while her talking points are the same as they have been, her delivery, emphasis and posture has changed.
“The more the discussion is about the differences between her and the Republican field on women’s health or immigration, that’s far better turf for her to be fighting on than another news cycle on the emails or the server,” said longtime Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.
There are a number of problems with this approach, if we grant that the Hillary campaign is doing it on purpose, as opposed to just flailing about aimlessly. The first is that, as even Morning Mika admitted yesterday, it is likely to play horribly in the general election. The second is that Hillary, personally, is really terrible at it. Watch her actual delivery of the remarks that have set off a firestorm here:
Listen, the secret to successfully lobbing a rhetorical bomb like this is that you have to deliver it with the total, unwavering conviction that you are speaking a difficult truth that needs to be heard. In other words, if you are going to say your opponents are in league with ISIS, you have to put some stank on it. You know good and well that you’re going to face criticism even from your own side for going a little overboard rhetorically, so you want the video clip that’s going to get played over and over to at least show you giving a rousing speech. You want people to associate your over-the-top words with you kicking a** and taking names as an orator.
Instead, Hillary here just paces awkwardly back and forth, clearly leaning on her extensive notes like a crutch. She clearly can’t remember more than about a sentence at a time before she has to shuffle back to the podium and read what others have written for her to say. Her delivery is halting, unconvincing, and uninspiring. Pretty much what you would get if you handed the average doddering grandma a Media Matters for America post and told her to read it aloud.
Hillary Clinton does not have what it takes to run this kind of campaign. The success of the troll lies in her ability to goad her opponent into mistakes by making them angry. No one who actually watched this speech was angered by it. Instead of invoking anger, Hillary Clinton’s pathetic attempts to be a rhetorical firebrand invoke merely pity and ridicule. Republicans face no risk of going over the top in their response because no real response is even required by this bland, wooden and trite attack other than to merely repeat the words Hillary herself has used.
Hillary gave this speech allegedly to reassure Democrats of her ability to perform in the general election. If the Democrats have decided that this is the kind of campaign they will need to run in the general, then she’s instead done a tremendous job of convincing them that they need another candidate, because watching Hillary play the troll is about as convincing and natural as watching a dog try to walk on its hind legs.