Impersonations of politicians on “SNL” aren’t usually too far from the truth, but one presidential candidate’s reality seems to mirror her stereotype too closely for her campaign staff’s comfort.
On a recent Saturday night, the popular skit show began with a self-obsessed Hillary Clinton getting coached on how to focus on others. In an attempt to be “more personal and intimate,” Clinton uses her smartphone to address the nation, saying, “Citizens. You will elect me. I will be your leader.” Her campaign aide says she may be coming off a “little hard” in “all” of the video.
Not 48 hours later, the real Hillary Clinton was quoted saying, “I think it’s worth noting that Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don’t know what they’d talk about if I weren’t in the race.”
If you’re counting, that’s three “I’s” and one “me.”
Clinton’s team has been focused on a low-key rollout through Iowa that is focused on the voters, not the candidate. But it seems it is Clinton herself who is off-message.
Quite frankly, Republicans are more focused on talking (however passive aggressively) about each other than about Clinton. If she was not in the race, I’m sure the conservative candidates could find another topic on which to focus. If they do mention her, it’s for some cheap applause at a campaign event. Whether or not her statement is true is not why her comment matters.
It matters because it shows not much has changed.
It’s no secret that her communications team is trying to make adjustments to keep the spotlight off Hillary and focused on the American people, whether it be the blue-collar workers of one day’s event or the boys in blue at the police station photo op the next.
This was evident in her real campaign announcement video.
It wasn’t her in front of the press at a news conference or at a college that serves her ideological beliefs. Instead, it was a YouTube video pushed out on Twitter in which Clinton spoke a mere 97 words. She didn’t even appear on the screen until a minute and a half into the video.
Instead, viewers saw everyday Americans doing everyday things. Moving a couch. Reading a book. Petting a cat.
But also starting businesses, retiring, and reinventing.
It was a great way to begin not only a video but also a formal campaign: focusing on the people that you hope will show up to the polls to vote for you.
Sadly, an evil word crept into her script.
The first word she spoke in the video was “I.”
There are two more “I’s” before she finally arrives at “you.”
The main criticisms about Clinton revolve around cronyism, her questionable ties to foreign governments, and the fact that not everyone would be excited at the prospect of sitting down for coffee with her. Many of these criticisms are problems with which the average Joe just cannot relate. Hillary needs to take every chance she can to find common ground with the common man. It’s been said time and time again that voters want to see her as a human, not as a cog in the Clinton machine.
This is something she can fix. The Clinton campaign is keeping a tight leash on reporters. Most of the information about her has already been exposed in previous campaigns. Thus, her team has the unique opportunity of creating news.
Take for example Clinton’s jaunt to Chipotle. Stories from her lack of tip to the employees who served her took over the Internet. As silly as it was, it made her seem like an average woman who might even ask for extra guacamole like the rest of us.
Her communications team needs to take advantage of these moments while they can still happen. In a few months time, the focus will be on partisan jabs and debate debacles. For now, campaign trail potty breaks can go viral. Her team needs to capitalize on that and use it to bring Clinton down to earth.
May I suggest a trip to a local ice cream parlor for a cup of rocky road. Or maybe have her pump her own gas into her campaign’s Chevy at a Valero station.
Perhaps she would enjoy stopping by a hipster coffee shop for a cup of Joe during an open mic night.
Just don’t forget to put money in the tip jar this time.