Commentary Magazine


Which Is It?

You can read up here, if so inclined, on the back and forth between the Clinton and Obama camps on the topic of the Hillary Clinton “3 a.m.” ad. The visuals made me think it was an ad for kids’ cold medication –the type that are now believed to be totally ineffective. There’s a metaphor for you.

This just confirms that the Clinton campaign has a bad case of message confusion, that affliction which affects campaigns that are losing the lead in a key state and which are continuing to get horrible press. (The solution to the latter, they have convinced themselves, is to yell at the media, accusing them of failing in their professional obligations. Good luck with that one.) The image of the sturdy, dependable and inordinately competent gal with nerves of steel and skilled judgment who is going to protect your kids from terrorists does not somehow seem to mesh with the poor dear who whimpered at the last debate that she was forced by those mean moderators to answer questions first. If you are going to be tough-as-nails defender of the homeland, fine. If you are going to be beleaguered woman up against the forces of injustice and toiling on the night shift, fine. But you really can’t be both. If you try, you leave voters confused, and worse, convinced it is all a contrivance.

All of that said, she is not doing all that poorly in Texas and seems steady in Ohio. It is not inconceivable that she could win one or even both states. But figuring out a coherent message should be first on the to-do list for Wednesday morning, provided she is still in the race.