Gettin’ Some Gore – Lessons for the 2008 Clinton Campaign

At this point, I would vote for Hillary before any of the Republican candidates. If it sounds like I’m damning her with faint praise, it’s because I am.

She’s a fine statesperson- She has the street cred. She’s a thoughtful, smart, and nose-to-the-grindstone type. Her work on the Hill is strong in the areas of health care and in world (not just Iraq) politics. As a carpetbagger back in 2000, she had to win the votes of a lot of conservative upstate New Yorkers. They seem, on the whole, pleased with their investment.

So what’s bugging me about her? Mostly that she’s exhibiting all of the same weaknesses Al Gore did during his 2000 election bid:

a.) Wooden
b.) Defensive
c.) Appears to blame voters for not recognizing her street cred or understanding how much of a smart, thoughtful and nose-to-the-grindstone type she is.

If she wants to win, she needs to take a page from Gore’s post vice-presidency, which oddly enough looks a lot like Obama’s current campaign. She needs to:

1) Lighten up
2) Passionately chase down her vision (kind of her strong point)
3) Present it in inspired ways

Granted, Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth to take one example, was just a slide show, one that even made a few debatable assumptions, but it was also simple, visually catchy and full of enough good and true information that it made a lot of Americans want to know more; no small feat, that.

Here’s an inconvenient truth for you, Hillary, and I speak from painful experience, if you know something in your heart of hearts, inside and out and you find that no amount of telling people about it is getting the point across, you may need to stop questioning your listeners’ thinking and listening abilities and rethink your delivery.

I believe Gore actually started learning his lessons during his campaign. And it’s not like his campaign was a failure. He actually won the 2000 election; he just didn’t “win” it. I sometimes wonder if he had “won,” whether or not he would have finished learning the lessons he began. I wonder if he would have become humbled (sorry, the Baptist in me) to the point that his intellect and passion had to pull him up in a new direction. I wonder if Hillary won’t have a similar experience (please, God, please, don’t let that mean we have to live through a Huckabee/Norris administration).

Obama may not have years of experience, (pardon me while I meme hop, but neither did another well-known Illinois senator when he became president–Jennie, ya hear me?), but he obviously has enough years of experience to be chill, smart, and confident about his plans and ideals without making people feel bad about themselves in the process – no, actually while making people feel GOOD about themselves in the process. If Obama doesn’t have to lose an election to learn those lessons and has some substance to put behind that form, good for him, and more importantly, good for us.

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9 Comments on “Gettin’ Some Gore – Lessons for the 2008 Clinton Campaign”

  1. lmb Says:

    Oh, God, I just spit out the popcorn I was eating when I read “Huckabee/Norris presidency.” Let’s hope that stays funny and doesn’t become reality.

  2. Jennie Says:

    Do you think Hillary read this post before her tearful response at the coffee shop?

  3. Troy Says:

    I doubt it (I wrote it after the fact), but it was a humanizing moment. Still, not quite what I have in mind for her though. It made me feel sorry for her (which is fine from time to time), but I need to feel awesome about her MOST of the time. Do you know what I mean? Whatever, she took New Hampshire, so what do I know?

  4. lmb Says:

    I’m glad Obama took Iowa and Hillary took New Hampshire—it means that this race is far from over, that they’ll have to work hard, and that we’ll have to think hard. And after the past 7 years, I think those are all good things.

  5. Susan Says:

    I think her moment of tears gave her New Hampshire. I want to like her…I try to like her…and inevitably she reminds me of a girl I hated in junior high…lol
    I almost choked on my Rolo over the Huckabee/Norris comment. I don’t mind his good boyness but I truly believe it would be another 4 years of Bush reflection.

  6. gunstreamgirl Says:

    i’ve been really indecisive. i think i could get on board for obama quicker than for hilary. it’s like we need a likeable, articulate leader who says the right things when we’ve been so down for teh past 8 years. but i could get into the hillayr camp pretty quickly. i spent wednesday evening reading their senate profiles online. trying to size up who’s best.

    p.s. i’m glad growing sense is back.

  7. marcie Says:

    Hiiiii, Troy!!

    been awhile. Just stopping in on my blog walk. 🙂

    I love this post and you really have hit ALL of my feelings right on. I personally like Obama but these things are right about Hillary. And, it is why I am turned off by her. While she has the most experience, I cannot get past what is “missing” and I believe it is true passion. Great blog…as always, you inspire me.

    I hope you are well!!

  8. Anne Says:

    Hey, Troy,
    I really want to be for Hillary because it’s time for the greatest nation on earth to have a woman head of state, just to show that we’re as sophisticated and smart as we want the world to think we are, and England, Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, India,… all have done it well and it doesn’t matter what gender, but the best person for the job.

    The sad thing is, Hillary sold out to Bill’s tactics and thugs running her campaign. It’s going to be hard. I’m staying open for a while to see if she can turn it around and send Bill back to the farm, find her passion again, and be the stateswoman and articulate impassioned leader she really is.

    Obama is looking good. I felt almost this charmed and idealistic in the first Clinton/Gore campaign, being too young (yes, really) to recall the JFK campaign. Clinton blew it (or got blown) and killed my buzz totally, man.

    (By the way, why didn’t anyone ever blow Bush so we could impeach him? Lying, murder, and abject stupidity were not sufficient grounds for impeachment, apparently.)

    I’m afraid of this feeling of optimism — can it be trusted? Will it last? Can Obama really be this good? Can Obama sustain this high ground and go deeper about the issues of economy, education, and health care? I’m keeping an open mind for a while longer to see if he sustains and grows and/or Hillary finds her way again. There’s still time …

  9. Troy Says:

    Anne, I know few lovers of men, patriotic as they may be, who would be willing to take the hit you suggest even if it did result in Bush’s impeachment.

    I’ll stay open, too, I guess.

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