Saturday, 23 September 2017

How Scripted is Hillary Clinton & Does it Matter?

How Scripted is Hillary Clinton & Does it Matter?

The recent leak of the Podesta emails suggest Caution is Key to Clinton’s messaging. The emails show staffers weighing messaging options and doing their best to craft positions that are politically viable and in-brand for the campaign. But what else is scripted in Clinton world? How much of what Secretary Clinton does is real and natural?

Private vs Public Messages

A big story coming out of the Podesta email leak is that of Hillary Clinton’s differing private and public stances. One email suggests that Hillary and Bill Clinton are still against gay marriage, despite their public support of it.

A prime example is exposed when a staffer makes suggestions on how to handle Clinton’s changing views on marriage equality:

“What about broadening the perspectives at that time? Acknowledging there were a lot of diff views vs she was wrong. ?”

Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin’s response suggests that the Clintons continue to believe in traditional marriage:

“I’m not saying double down or ever say it again. I’m just saying that she’s not going to want to say she was wrong about that, given she and her husband believe it and have repeated it many times. Better to reiterate evolution, opposition to DOMA when court considered it, and forward looking stance.”

What this shows is that not only is Clinton’s messaging carefully considered and crafted by experts, but her stances are too.

Covert Action is Cool if Clinton can Control the Information Flow

In a leaked speech Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs in 2013, she expressed an approval of covert action, but only if it stayed covert. The emails reveal a thoughtful and cunning Clinton who understands the importance of messaging and perception. She also knows that reporters will publish any information they get, no matter its importance to US intelligence. David E. Sanger sums up Clinton’s thoughts on reporters:

“‘Now, you know, everybody can’t help themselves,’ she added, and officials go out to ‘tell their friendly reporters and somebody else: Look what we’re doing, and I want credit for it.’”

This leak shows that Clinton is weary of situations where she can’t script the message. The same is true for all brands. Look at any “name this thing” contest on Twitter.

Avoiding press conferences

Doubling down on the previous point, Hillary Clinton also managed to avoid a public press conference for about 270 days, an unheard of feat for a Presidential candidate. What this shows is Clinton’s consistent desire  to avoid unscripted situations and questions that she hasn’t been tipped off to beforehand.

Bits on Late Night shows were probably scripted

That situation doesn’t get better when you consider her interview with Steve Harvey was entirely scripted.

And probably her interview with Jimmy Kimmel, though he’s having fun with the conspiracy. However, the comical Alex Jones is not.

CNN leaked HRC questions before second debate

Donna Brazile worked at CNN. And then she stopped working there so she could be the interim chair of the DNC. With such an easy revolving door, who would have suspected that Brazile would acquire and leak questions to the Clinton Campaign? Jake Tapper was pissed:

“It’s horrifying. Journalistically it’s horrifying and I’m sure it will have an impact on partnering with this organization in the future and I’m sure it will have and effect on… Donna Brazile is no longer with CNN because she’s with the DNC right now, but I’m sure it will have some impact on Donna Brazille.”

Will it have an impact on Brazille? Probably not. On Clinton? Definitely not.

READ  Best Lines & Messaging From First Presidential Debate

Does it Matter?

So in the end, does it matter that Clinton much prefers scripted situations, and will bend and break the trust of the public?

No. In fact, it might be a good thing for a presidential candidate. Any brand you use on a daily basis does this, and candidates have largely become brands being marketed. Clinton is no exception, and her brand has quite the following.

Just look what happens when brands allow the public to frame their messages: (1) “Hitler did nothing wrong wins new Mountain Dew flavor title, or (2) The people in charge disappoint everyone when they refuse to name a boat the fan-voted ‘Boaty McBoatface‘.

Not one of these situations bothers me.

Conclusion

The Clinton Campaign is a scripted show and Hillary is just playing the role of Candidate Clinton. That is politics in 2016. ANd you want to know what the opposite of scripted is?

When a candidate just spews the first idea they have, you end up with Donald Trump. A buffoon without an ounce of credibility. To me, it doesn’t matter if Clinton’s public and private stances differ, so long as she stays consistent publicly. Having a private and a public opinion simply shows Hillary Clinton is thoughtful, and allows public opinion to shape her domestic social stances – even if she personally disagrees.

That situation only becomes risky if she allows public opinion to shape her foreign policy (i.e. her Iraq War vote – gross).

What the Podesta Email Leaks show though is a thoughtful and smart Clinton Campaign that understands how to solve problems. Not only that, they show a staff that is willing to talk openly about solving problems, even when suggestions get shot down immediately.

What we’re voting for on Nov 8th is a brand. And Clinton is the only one that promises a knowable experience. There won’t be a leak like this about Trump, because they don’t discuss problems. They don’t have conversations about messaging. The Trump Campaign isn’t nearly as thoughtful as Clinton, and the leaks should tell you that. Trump flip-flops because he has no principles. Clinton flip-flops for votes. I’ll take the latter all day.

 

 

Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

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