Leading presidential candidate Hillary Clinton apparently doesn’t like holding press conferences. They’re too messy. They’re too unpredictable. This is what she seems to believe.
The give and take of open ended questions of the press conference from all sorts of different news organizations could embarrass her—especially if someone asks direct questions about her foundation, her controversial actions as Secretary of State and about any of a host of other questions.
So—unlike most other presidential candidates, but like her former boss President Obama—she rarely holds them. Indeed, it has been months since she held a formal press conference. Still, Hillary Clinton will often go on “chat” shows. Here the hosts are not journalists or historians or professional presidential observers. The chat show hosts are just happy to have her. They are rarely capable of anything but softball questions. That’s why she, and other presidential candidates, often campaign through entertainment shows. It is a form of dumbing down the campaign.
Stay Away from Substance
It seems the Hillary Clinton strategy for winning the presidency—and she generally has been ahead in most polls—is to back into it. Her master plan for getting to 1,600 Pennsylvania Avenue seems to be to say little of substance. Let her major opponent, republican Donald Trump—who seemingly can’t shut up since he pretends to be an expert on everything and in three score and ten years has never been heard to utter the words “I don’t know”—put his foot in his mouth every five seconds.
This, Hillary apparently believes, will help voters forget that she is ducking the press. It will also, she hopes, allow her to win the easy way. She would win, not based on any substantive position she takes, but owing to Trump’s myriad blunders, which are as dependable as death and taxes.
But is this an adequate brief for electing someone president? Her case these days can be summed up in one sentence: “Elect me because I’m not the Donald.”
So it’s not just Trump who is making a joke of this campaign. Hillary’s hide from the press position and spend lots of time with the rich and the famous (emphasis on the former) also has become a bad joke that many people are starting to notice. This should not be the way to win the presidency. Indeed, I think any presidential candidate should be required to make an effective case on issues such as what will the next president do about worldwide terrorism, why does the U.S. government spend and tax so much and why do American students, with some of the highest state education spending in the world, do so badly when compared to students of other advanced welfare state countries? And those are just a few of the issues that a candidate should be required to answer in detail.
Those things don’t seem to be on Hillary’s agenda these days. Hillary seems to concentrate her energies on two kinds of events: Appearing at pep rallies before her true believer followers who will practically bay at the moon like wolves on the prarie about almost anything she says—the Donald also likes these kinds of noxious gatherings that strike me as something out of high school—-and spending her time in swank spots on Long Island raising huge amounts of money for her campaign.
However, subjecting herself to the ladies and gentlemen of the press, some of whom actually want direct answers to some hard questions, is not on Hillary’s agenda. The question is will she able to get away with it. This is a reasonable question especially when one remembers a painful fact: Most of the mainstream press, much of which takes every chance it can get to rip Trump, is quietly on the side of Hillary. This is obvious when one closely examines the tone of network news coverage.
They’re Both Bad
Still, nothing I have said above should be constituted as an endorsement of Trump. He not only is opposite of Hillary—-he is constantly talking to anyone and everyone. The problem is he gets so many things wrong. He shoots from the hip so often that one wonders if he has given as much consideration to his presidential campaign positions as he has to promoting the next version of Wrestlemania. His campaign seems a mix of xenophobia and megalomania, with generous portions of Dadaism, even if the Donald never heard of the latter.
It’s a shame that, in a nation of some three hundred million people, many of whom are talented and capable, the best we get is thus: The next president will have to be either career pol Hillary Clinton or career super ego Donald Trump.
O tempora! O mores!
Why can’t they both lose?