She used her big moment in CNN’s spotlight to connect with voters by refusing to play games. All debate wins come down to a candidate's ability to play the game. And Hillary Clinton sure as hell knows how to play!
It probably helps that most people watching at home for months have been hearing only about her personal email server or how she seems too much or not enough like Donna Reed or Gloria Steinem. So all Clinton had to do was show up and sound intelligent on anything else.
And if anything, Clinton is an intelligent woman. For a moment, she made politicians look like people who read actual books instead of talking points.
For example a question about her alleged political opportunism ended up being more about her evolution on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She has a history of political opportunism about trade pacts, but her ultimate response was the smartest possible: “I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,” she said. Nobody who really cares about the TPP is likely to enjoy her answer, but they’ll respect it.
It's not always the smartest thing to be as frank as Clinton was. Not because the adults in the room can’t handle it, because most grownups don't get mad when politicians admit that there's a huge gap between the idea and the reality. No, it's only media that takes pleasure in beating up candidates who run on a “realist” platform, accusing them of “failing to inspire.” Voters know what the real world looks like and Clinton's honesty was well received.
She also played well on the issue of gun control, effectively moving it into Bernie Sanders’ court. It's probably the only issue she could confront him on, and she did. Sanders failed to support the Brady Bill on multiple occasions and it remains one of the few areas in which Sanders can’t stake out a position as an honest and no-compromises politician. His grudging support for gun rights suggests that everyone is a little compromised and Clinton made point with it.
She also earned points on the Republican Party’s small-government orthodoxy. “They don’t mind having big government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose and [attacking] Planned Parenthood,” she said. It was a good, effective and passionate line.
But Clinton's best moment was when Sanders and Lincoln Chafee attacked her on the issue of her emails. Chafee said it was an important issue: “There’s an issue of American credibility there” and “I think we need somebody who has the best ethical standards to be our next president.” When asked by Anderson Cooper whether she wanted to respond, Hillary said simply, “No.” Everyone laughed.
Hillary Clinton is really good at politics and maybe the best candidate we have on either side, Republican or Democratic.
Sign in with Facebook to comment:
Sign in with Facebook