Troubling Line of the Night

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hillary3.jpg
Hillary Clinton told her supporters last night: “One of us is ready to be commander-in-chief in a dangerous world.”
Setting up the “dangerous world” frame is right out of the Frank Luntz playbook. I’d link to his writings on national security but I can’t seem to find them online — I only have hard copies. Basically, Luntz’s message is if you make the world seem dangerous and scary, voters will choose conservative candidate more willing to confront problems and bad guys directly with guns and bombs.
That’s not the direction of Hillary’s policy or even most of her rhetoric — she’s trying to focus on the experience gap, as she has every right to do. But candidates’ messaging can have lasting effects on the electorate.
Including this talking point once is no big deal, but it had better not feature regularly in Hillary’s stump speeches. She and her staff know better.
— Scott Paul

Comments

26 comments on “Troubling Line of the Night

  1. Larry says:

    The difference between 1992 with “It’s the Economy, Stupid” and now is that in 1992 the Berlin Wall had come down, we had kicked the Iraqi’s butts in Desert Storm I and the Soviet Union had broken up, along with the Warsaw Pact. We therefore thought we could afford to focus on the economy.
    Like it or not, the economy is not the only issue in 2008. If the Democratic candidate cannot express a coherent and believable position on National Defense, then independent voters will be tempted to go with McCain.
    http://www.TheCenterStrikesBack.com

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  2. Marc says:

    Don’t forget that Hillary and Obama and McCain want to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”, whereas Ron Paul is the only anti-Iraq War, anti-Iran nuking candidate. I am no Republican, but I clearly cannot be a Democrat either, after Kucinich has dropped out.

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gee, someone that gets it. Thanks Lj, I was beginning to think that I was alone.

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  4. Lj says:

    The idea that Hillary is so “competent” and “prepared” is Washington inside-beltway/big-biz/corporate media Myth right up there with “we American people have no grounds to demand impeachment hearings.”
    Regardless of the particulars Hillary supporters may cry about (Erica Jong’s “1000 to ZERO”!! column at HuffingtonPost.com, i.e. “any Democrat who doesn’t vote for Hillary is a misogyinist!” being a textbook example), the fact is that Hillary had a HUGE lead over all other candidates… and then blew it.
    Her great “experience” was in winning a NY senate term in 2000 when the (Bill) Clinton economy was still running strong (and Al Gore won a 500,000 voter majority over G.W. Bush despite running an anemic “speak no evil of Bush’s legions of scandals, broken companies, and busted Texas budges” campaign); and of course Hillary won re-election in 2006, by which time G.W. Bush had wrecked the economy, and the whole nation (much less Democrat-leaning New York) was turning out to vote Repub incumbents out in droves (in the 2006 Dem. Congressional landslide).
    So Hillary’s two “big” election wins were not exactly against world-class opponents.
    HERE are some of Hillary’s _real_ accomplishments, lifted from commenter “neoconned” at at another blog:
    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2008/02/requiem-for-an.html
    #1. “Hillary voted for the Iraq war
    #2. Hillary voted for the Patriot Act
    #3. Hillary voted for the bankuptcy bill
    #4. Hillary voted to authorize war with Iran; parse it any way you like you will never convince me otherwise.
    #5. Hillary gave a pass on all of Herr Bushie’s _#@!!@&#_ judges
    #6. Hillary voted for the military commissions act
    Which leads to MY main complaint about Hillary: like her neo-con soul-mate NANCY PELOSI, Hillary Clinton REFUSES to do UNSCRIPTED TALK RADIO. She REFUSES to go on radio or TV shows and expound, unscripted, on her record, ideals, agenda, or any other topics, because to do so, she would have to answer TOUGH QUESTIONS (about the above list, among others) WITH STRAIGHT ANSWERS.
    This Hillary REFUSES to do, because.. well, her above neo-con record is quite indefensible.
    Instead, she will imperially DEMAND that we “LITTLE PEOPLE” Democratic voters DIG DEEP in our pockets and paychecks, to send her donations, so she can air SCRIPTED, CONTROLLED messages (ads)… on corporate controlled airwaves! That is, she FORCES US TO PAY MEDIA BARONS to broadcast her message, even though their (media right-wing robber barons, like Murdoch, Viacom GE/nbc, Time-Warner, Disney/ABC, etc.) agenda is diametrically OPPOSITE of ours! (democratic-leaning voters, donors, and activists.)
    This REFUSAL of Democrat “LEADERS” to CONFRONT the vast wrongs (if not constitutional atrocities) of Bush-Cheney co. in open, clear, plain English, is _THE_ defining attribute of George W. Bush’s policy & legislative successes.
    If history states “by your opponents are you (conquering generals) known”, then, “BY WEAK, ANEMIC, FAIL-to-take-a-Stand Democratic leaders’ have Bush and Cheney been able to get away with murder” – and Hillary is a huge part of that inside-beltway anemic process. (Not to mention Bill jet-setting around the world, practically holding Bush Sr.’s hand.)

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  5. jim miller says:

    wow…slow down…no one said the world is a tea party though significant threats, external/internal are nothing new….Radical islam did not start on september 12th….
    yelling wont help make your narrative real or important…bottom line…folks are not as worried with the fear from above when their houses are being boarded up, cant afford to fuel their cars and their standard of living has taken a significant hit…..these are NOT MY IDEAS, simply look at the polling.
    Why has obama destroyed Clinton with reagandems/obamacans and independents? certainly npt b/c of his foreign policy profile…this blog has made sure to use campaign based rhetorical questions regarding these issues for the last 7 weeks….
    Why does Obama destroy McCain in key state polling? Va/Wi/missouri are all double digit leads…certainly you dont suggest that his foreign policy profile is more robust than mccain’s?(no reasonable person would but your argument does….)
    30 million voters have spoken so far and its definitely not a foreign policy narrative cycle….has zero to do with real/inflated national security risks…just reflects the kitchen table of the middle….can this change? yes —and very quickly.

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  6. ffj says:

    HELLO IS ANYONE OUT THERE?? You people are simply ignorant! It is a DANGEROUS WORLD we are not in a stable environment and we need someone who knows what to do immediately. There was a study that aired on CNN that told that an attack on ANY country would occur during transition of the head of state i.e. It happened in Bill’s first term within a month of his Presidency it happened in Bush’s first term within 9 months. It happened over seas. Is this what Hillary is running on? NO, but she is reminding people this is not the time for on the job training, AND IT IS NOT!
    I am tired of the same old garb, “we need change” when for our times we NEED EXPERIENCE! Bush ran on the same empty rhetoric obama has, sorry he isn’t it.

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  7. resimler says:

    Playing that card gets you cut off the network feed, only the GOP gets to use it.

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  8. temoc94 says:

    Er, do you disagree that the world can be dangerous? Do you really think that people like Vladimir Vladimirovich wish us well?

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  9. TokyoTom says:

    Scott, thanks for highlighting HRC’s statement, which is pure pandering to fear. As she and her staff “know better”, we can only presume that this is deliberate and will only escalate as she gets more desperate.
    I’m sick of this kind of thing, and hope it bites her in the keyster.

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I marvel at HRC’s preparedness to be commander in chief. One needs only to look at how masterfully she’s conducted her campaign.”
    You said more in a few words than the rest of us said in the whole thread.

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  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, Paul, wise up. Theres a reason the arms industry and AIPAC are having wet dreams about a Hillary presidency.

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  12. taojones says:

    so its NOT a dangerous world? Get a grip! Because Hillary says its dangerous, for you guys its not. But if Obama says it is dangerous, the boys will nod along and think” we must protect the women folk an youngen’s.”
    Thanks big guy, the little lady is wrong again.Inevitably wrong.

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  13. jim miller says:

    While i think repubs will pound national defense…w/o another attack their messaging challenge lies in separating terror and iraq….look at the polling…it has significantly moved from 04 around the question of saddam’s/iraq’s terror ties—-see polls from 2006—over 60% no longer believed the saddam/terror cabal smoke…. BUT a majority of voters hear today’s national defense talking points and associate negative with iraq….thus the message at best is impotent and at worst is a reverse negative….some of this may be correlated to the laden impact of ther early branding success of co mingling terror with iraq…..this effectively sets the table for “it’s the economy, stupid”
    note to ajaz….well said…I wonder if the Clinton’s have the humility needed to realize their fate/the will of the voters and step aside….probably not, perhaps someone can convince them that they will rise again, unfortunately with their national negatives so heavily laden and woven into the electorate, I suspect their most honest supporters now have accepted the fate of that delusion…..in retro HRC would be a phenominal majority leader…

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  14. Mr.Murder says:

    When I heard the line my first thought was it could be a concession speech.
    Playing that card gets you cut off the network feed, only the GOP gets to use it.

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  15. anatol says:

    So, if Clinton would not remind peple that in a dangerous world its a folly to have a President with no related experience and expertise to speak of, McCain and Republicans will not either, right?
    Dream on. This is the only thing they will talk about, and the Dem better start talking and thinking about that too, if they want to avoid McCain’s landslide victory in November. What works for Obama in DEMOCRATIC primaries will fail in the general. Good for HRC to breach the topic, too bad it might be too late to save her nomination.

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  16. Kathleen says:

    What makes you so sure that Hillary’s campaign staff knows what it’s doing? She had a campaign manager who had never run a national campaign.
    It seems to me that their perspective is from another era, passe. There is nothing they can do to turn it around because they cannot change her vote on Kyl-Lieberman, showing that she learned nothing from her mistake on Iraq.
    Voters are so thoroughly ticked off at THE Establishment for the war and their failure to defend the Constitution by impeaching our Criminal-In-Chief, they are roundly rejecting THE perceived Establishment candidate. Again, what good is experience, if you fail to learn from it?
    And that goes for good old boy McCain, as well. He should take himself and his MedHead wife back to Arizona where they can make a career out being proud to be American.

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  17. Ajaz says:

    Is It Time for Hillary Clinton to Quit?
    With ten successive defeats, the Clinton Camp must be wondering about the future of their campaign. Even if Hillary wins Texas & Ohio (which seems very unlikely), she will not be able to lead in the delegate count. So her camp needs to have a reality check.
    Perhaps it is time for the elders of Democratic party to suggest to Hillary that her continuing the campaign will be devisive for the party and it is time for her to concede. She has run a good competitive campaign, she was leading in the polls for the longest time, but the Obama movement has overtaken her and gone well past. It is time for Al Gore and other Democratic stalwarts to step up and bring this to a close.
    If Hillary quits now, she will leave on good terms with Obama and will enable the Democratic nominee to preserve cash and energy for campaign against McCain. Also, she may have an important place in an Obama Administration. She could be Secretary of Health implementing the all important healthcare plans that both she and Obama talk about so much.
    Also, with Obama’s relatively less experience in world affairs, his Administration must leverage Bill Clinton’s international experience. Bill could be the President’s Special Ambassador for Middle East peace, a project Clinton came so close to accomplishing towards the end of his Presidency but ran out of time. This could be a great opportunity for him to finish what he started.

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  18. JohnH says:

    JoeCHI–Funny how the Democrats put all options on the table when it comes to Iran but constantly take them off the table when dealing with Bush (impeachment, forcing Republiscum to filibuster, etc. etc.).
    National security may be a real issue, but people are fed up with fearmongering. People are fed up with national security being a cover for trashing the constitution, for looting the Social Security Trust Fund, and for letting corporations (Enron, sub-prime lenders, etc.) rip people off. National security goes beyond doling out the loot to military contractors.
    Hillary refuses to get it–people HATE this war. Her position is that we can’t withdraw unless we do it responsibly. So, would she end the war, or not? Obama is very clear when he says, “We must end this war.”

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  19. Robert M. says:

    Look, people, only George Washington (&, OK, Jackson & Grant, too) was ever qualified to be President as CinC–because both ahd already been CinC. Everyone else is doing the Tribune of the People role. Oh, and have you all noticed how this GWOT (officially rejected as a White paper term by the Brits now) has become the Global Police Action on Terror? So let Obama call it the GWOT. He KNOWS better. We’re just traffic cops & SWAT teams in Iraq now, and the vast number of Americans understand that.
    G Bush is burnt umber toast (crikey, he’s at 19% for overall leadership) and J McCain will be too if he keeps this up. Playing to a vastly reduced base, half of which really wants Anybody Else and so many will sit this out.
    Can you say Obama at 55%?
    Revolutionary Change

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  20. downtown says:

    I marvel at HRC’s preparedness to be commander in chief. One needs only to look at how masterfully she’s conducted her campaign.

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  21. jim@r2ohomes.net says:

    JOE CHI
    “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID” this was the winning mantra of the 1992 election which drove over 60% of the country to vote against big bush….foolish to compare 04 to 08 completely different set of national narrative….other similarities—recession, end of another ” wall street shits on main street” banking crisis, and a war that did not lead to a significant vicory…saddam still standing…neocon litmus applied…

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  22. JoeCHI says:

    This Democrat fully supports the right of our candidates to communicate a “tough on terror, tough on defense, tough on security” message. It is the price of admission to Presidential politics.
    For example, a position such as “Everything is on the table” seems perfectly reasonable and it’s clear why it is considered an industry standard. In fact, the rejection of “Everything is on the table” seems, to me, more of a concern than is the embracing of it.
    The reason Clinton’s “inexperience” attack isn’t working in this Democratic primary is because so many of the purists on the far-left equate tough talk as being the same thing as “Bush-Cheney lite”.
    It’s not.
    If this election has taught us anything, it is that rhetoric has political value. Saying that you will do anything and everything to protect the American people seems both required and innocuous if you are seeking the Presidency. Further, shouldn’t the party want its candidate to inoculate themselves from being branded as a potentially ineffective Commander-in-chief? Edward’s didn’t help himself with his rejection of “The Global War On Terror”.
    What the purists-wing doesn’t realize is that the Presidential election will be ALL ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY, just as it always is. There seems to be a shot-term collective memory loss with regards to what happened in 2004 when their real-deal Vietnam War hero lost to a National Guard AWOL deserter.
    Whether Clinton’s reality based assessment of the imminent dangers in the world will help her in OH, TX, and PA is yet to be seen. However, McCain hitting Obama for his lack of experience as well as being unqualified as Commander-in-chief will not only work well with the GOP, it will also win over Independents, Reagan Democrats, as well as many current Clinton supporters.

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  23. Liz says:

    Somehow, picturing Hillary at the helm in a dangerous world doesn’t leave me all cozy and safe-feeling. Maybe it’s because Bill and Hill are jostling and pushing each other over who gets to steer the ship of state NEXT. She should have kicked him to the curb a long time ago. He’s no help to her at all.

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  24. jim miller says:

    wow finally some unbiased election coverage at TWN—I wonder what would be the coverage of New york vote fix, the willingness to illegally steal the pledged delegates and her new swift boating 527ers if her foreign policy insiders included John Bolten?( though many of her votes have been watered down Bolten positions)

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  25. JohnH says:

    It’s uncanny how Clinton and McCain seem to be reading from the same script. It must be what Obama refers to when he talks about “being stewed long enough in Washington, until finally all of the hope is gone.” It’s what I call the group thinking beltway mentality: shades of distinction without real differences, Bush Republicans and Bush-lite Democrats.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvkqQj7ZIXM
    Official Washington is so enthralled with its own money games that neither party establishment can internalize the fact the they have gone seriously astray, which is why voters are clamoring for change.

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  26. retr2327 says:

    If you really believe that she would have any difficulty accepting an 80% chance that her comments destroy the Democratic party’s chances in the general in return for a 10% chance that she could somehow be the nominee, you just have not been paying attention. It’s tragic, really: she probably would have been a highly qualified and competent President in some other election cycle, but her frustration over not getting her “due” is destroying her.

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