Friday, December 21, 2007
If you want to know why the Hillary Clinton for President campaign is ultimately doomed, you need look no further than this video, Hillary's initial announcement that she would be forming a presidential exploratory committee. The video perfectly encapsulates the fatal flaws of the candidate and her campaign: note the awkward panning, left to right, in an effort to create a natural, cinema verite, or handheld effect; but also note how the panning is mechanical, as if programmed and controlled by a computer. There is no tilt or movement vertically, but only a carefully controlled, if somewhat jarring, haphazard, and meaningless, panning back and forth. Also note Clinton's cringe-inducing, off-putting tone: I knew this campaign was over when she said "Let's chat."
More cringe-inducement from the Clinton campaign. Clinton looks like she might be checking her Blackberry on the couch as she pretends to go through the motions of being enthusiastic about a holiday ad. Also, little details reveal the continuing bad choices of the Clinton campaign. Notice the silly, goofy-looking comic sans-type font used on the dumb present labels. Also, someone apparently decided it would be good to have the candidate do a holiday ad where she does not (a) wish anyone in Iowa a Merry Christmas (putting aside what we may think about the political correctness of doing so), or (b) look into the camera even once. Also, this is a holiday ad; why not have her surrounded by her family, in front of a roaring fireplace, a glowing Christmas tree, etc? The setting of this ad makes it look like it might be for Celebrex or estate planning. Finally, the little hand gesture of triumph the candidate makes with her right hand after finding the "Universal Pre-K" present she was looking for is truly one of the saddest and most pathetic political gestures to be captured on video since Al Gore did the macarena at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. This is a candidate who is clutching at straws, wanting to look relaxed and at ease, but desperate to tear down her chief rival, and who likely approved further scurrilous and disgusting attacks on Obama to be carried out by her minions and toadies just before and after sitting down to do this ad.
Now this -- this is how you do a holiday ad in Iowa. First step, marry Michelle Obama, a strong, attractive, intelligent woman who everyone loves. This is what drives the Clinton campaign so crazy: Obama looks comfortable in his own skin. He doesn't sound like a robot or someone crazed with ambition, jacked up on eight cups of coffee, or driven with the urge to dominate every contest and destroy all competitors. And he doesn't say things like "Let's chat." And even if he did, it would probably sound cool, like he knew it was corny, but thought it was sort of funny to say, and would say anyway, because he knew he could get away with it.
Look, I fully recognize that this post is part of the problem of elevating style and image over substance, but, for better or worse (mostly worse) it is simply unavoidable that the way the candidates present themselves, especially on television, is of almost paramount importance in the modern American political process. Clinton is not a candidate made for television. Obama, like another former Democratic television star, is. Take that for what it's worth.