Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Measure Of Progress

An Open Letter To Hillary Clinton

Dear Senator Clinton,

You are beset by woes, to be sure, and your campaign, while not on its last legs, has lost a lot of steam over the past two weeks.

I endorsed you over Senator Obama because, frankly, you had the experience, ideas and policies that are best for this nation. It troubles me to see that your campaign is so ineptly run right now.

Me, I'm just a shlub blogger...with an IQ that's measured on scales that ordinary people can't even approach. I learn. I learn by doing, by making errors, but also by observing. You have some smart people around you, but you are too loyal to them by half, and they clearly don't return the favor. I've been involved in Democratic politics for forty years, ever since I handed out flyers in the fifth grade for Hubert Humphrey.

I can't, despite the thousands I've raised and given your campaigns, e-mail you directly, so I thought I'd drop you a note. I don't know that you'll ever read this, but I hope you will.

I have a strategy that I believe would work to getting you back in the game. You may not be able to win outright, altho I think this strategy could overwhelm Senator Obama's message of hope. This strategy will guarantee you stay in the hunt into the convention and possibly force a second vote, when all bets are off and committed delegates can be wrested away.

As all good strategies are, it's at once simple...we're talking sound bite simple...and hard. Hard to implement, hard to fully flesh out, and hard to present unless you have a grasp of everything in your campaign. And I think you could. You don't now, but you could.

Here's the deal: you spend a lot of time and energy pointing out, correctly, Senator Obama's inexperience. Having him as President is a little like, I don't know, asking George W Bush to run an oil company: having never done it properly, he'd probably do a lousy job, and there's nothing in his CV that indicates he can do the necessary work or stand by the courage of his convictions.

And that's fine. For starters. I think you've set the groundwork for my proposal.

This becomes a two-pronged attack, which I would call "show 'em, don't tell 'em".

See? As I said, simple.

First, the time has come to issue a comprehensive plan for your first term. You say you'll be ready on day one to lead. You say you have (and I have seen) programs thought out, put down on paper, proposals for legislation, and proposals on how to pay for them.

That's great. Now let's give the people the HOW bit: How is this all going to help them? Words are fine, but as you and I know, words are nothing unless you can back them up with your strength.

Take any topic, let's say, energy independence. You do see how this ties into other issues that are tragically frightening the working and middle classes of America, don't you?

More money for gas and heating oil means less money to buy food or worse, to pay for the increased mortgage payments on their readjusting loans. You NEED to start making this case. You need to show how plowing billions of dollars into energy research will create jobs that pay far better than the lagging personally unproductive work that we Americans are struggling with.

How a new direction doesn't promise hope, it promises jobs and wealth. And you need to be detailed about this. You need to show exactly how a billion dollars poured into renewable energy programs will create over $20 billion dollars in high paying tech oriented jobs that aren't about to go away in the next ten or even fifty years: jobs that, like the auto industry before them, could practically be handed down, parent to child.

Security, in other words, and how economic security will help promote physical security by making people who right now are lost and hopeless (why else would they respond to a flim-flam artist?) care once more about the world around them. We've had eight years of negligence.

It is time to disabuse our citizens of negligence and grant them to the rights and privileges of a free society, one where our greatest enemy is not our own government. You cannot have true national security until all the people in the country, and I include undocumented workers here, have a clear path to opportunity and betterment. Only you have made this path clear, but only because I can read and understand your programs.

You need to show the fractal nature of society, how a rancher in Wyoming who takes the manure from his cattle and processes it can provide energy for the worker in Arkansas who turns on a light, and how your administration will work tirelessly to find the solutions that guarantee the promises that Senator Obama has made.

See? As I said, difficult. But you have in your camp a gifted orator, one who can write the speech that you need to have written, one who can explain all this in terms of the fears and anger of the average American at forces beyond his or her ken, and how you can turn the reins of control back over to him/her.

We live in a maelstrom. We need more than the life saver that Senator Obama tosses to us like Groucho Marx to Thelma Todd in Horsefeathers. We need a longboat, pulling us ahead through the turbulent times to calmer waters. And we all need to pull it together.

And so do you, Senator.