Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hillary and Jeb , On the Road to the White House...How are They Doing ?

Compostie of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton

Hillary and Jeb. They are the big beasts of the jungle. They have big names and have instant name recognition - not something that can be said for most of the other wannabe presidential candidates who are barely household names in their own house.
They also have some big money behind them. But as anyone knows - big can be powerful and awe-inspiring. It can also be clumsy and clunky.
Let's take Hillary first. There is a great line from the late Steve Jobs on the beauty of simplicity. He said "It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions."
Hillary's people are seeking to achieve something similar. They are desperate to present her as simple and straightforward - yet everything about her seems well, just a little bit complex and difficult.

She can be warm, attentive and engaging. She can be genuine, concerned, and has shown she has a sense of humor. She can take a poke from opponents and give as good as she gets, with a little tongue in cheek.
But through the distorting medium of TV, something happens. She can often seem defensive, or prickly or wary - and given the misogyny that she's often been subject to, perhaps that's understandable. But she's a candidate and needs to define herself on her own terms. So her advisers said, let's do the campaign differently this time. Just go ahead and meet ordinary people.
She got in a van and drove to Iowa - that state's caucus kicks off the presidential nomination roadshow - and it's where she faltered badly back in 2008. There would be no big rallies, just conversations. She'd meet a group of people sitting round a table, or chat with workers in a factory.

In this March 10, 2015 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters
The cameras were invited to film some of these encounters. But then when she was between venues she went into a Mexican fast food outlet and wore dark dark glasses to appear as incognito as possible. So, 'not that keen to meet ordinary people', seemed to be the conclusion... when perhaps all she wanted was to eat a meal, with a modicum of privacy. And then there've been the persistent questions over the odd arrangements regarding her emails from when she was Secretary of State. Why was she on a private server?
Throw into the pot the millions of dollars raised from speeches by the Clintons - and well it just looks somewhat less than an Apple designed product .
And she's refusing to give any interviews to the media who are following her - and that has infuriated the press pack - which in turn is seeping into the coverage of her campaign thus far.

But then you look at Jeb Bush. No-one can say he hasn't given interviews. it's just that it took him five tries to work out his position on the invasion of Iraq, which of course was ordered by his big brother when he was president.
When first asked whether the US should have invaded the country, knowing what we know now, he said yes. But in the space of a few days, that answer became no. In another interview he straddled the fence on that issue.
Of course, we all misspeak at times and are sometimes caught on the hop by a question. But the invasion of Iraq?  He should take a stand, one way or another. I think everyone sort of expected him to waffle on that one.

Jeb gets name recognition - but is cast under a constant shadow - from his presidential family

The other Republican hopefuls feared that the mere presence of Jeb Bush in the race would suck all the oxygen out of the room, leaving the rest of the pack gasping for breath and money. That just hasn't happened. He's already sacked his campaign manager before the campaign is even launched.
Maybe by next summer when the conventions come round, it will end up being Clinton versus Bush for 2016 - in a re-run of 1992 when Jeb's dad fought and lost to Hillary's husband.
So far, they're both showing quite a surprising capacity for self-harm. They both need a little coaching on keeping up appearances, at least until they are  in the White House. And maybe a lesson or two on how to develop a politician's Teflon skin , whereby, nothing sticks to their well polished images.

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