June 5, 2007
Like her or loathe her, you have to admit that there are plenty of thorns in Hillary Clinton’s life. Now, two new books once again rehash Hillary’s difficult marriage and cast doubt on her overall persona. It’s not that the books are designed to humiliate the woman, but they do so just the same. I mean who wants to have marital embarrassments discussed on national TV and radio over and over again?
So right now I’m going to do the senator from New York a major favor and lay out a game plan that she should follow for the next eight months until the big primary blowout next Feb. 5. If Mrs. Clinton follows my advice, her life will be much easier. If she doesn’t, well, she’s nuts.
First, the senator should begin making herself available to the electronic media, with the request that personal issues not be brought up. She should make that condition public so that any media pinhead who violates the agreement will be seen as untrustworthy.
Hillary should calmly explain that all Americans are entitled to marital privacy and just because she’s running for president doesn’t mean she has to tell you anything about her private life. In short, Mrs. Clinton should make this a privacy issue because most Americans value privacy and understand the malicious intent that many media have toward people in power.
Second, Hillary Clinton should begin answering some direct questions about policy. Her avoidance of specifics bothers me far more than any of her past indiscretions. Is Sen. Clinton a tough cookie who did some dastardly things? Sure. But I’ll wager every other presidential candidate fits that description as well.
According to the polls, about 44 percent of registered voters will not vote for the senator no matter what. You could put Marilyn Manson up against her and those voters wouldn’t change their minds. So Mrs. Clinton must convince the rest of us that she is a decent person with creative solutions to vexing problems like jihad, Iraq, Iran, and health care.
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The reason that it’s easy to snip at Hillary is that she is invisible. A quick sound bite here, a fleeting glance there. If she really wants to be president, she has to become much more accessible to the folks.
I suspect that Hillary Clinton is mortified by all the attention her marriage continues to receive and does not know how to handle it. So once again, Senator, don’t handle it. Just claim privacy. Period.
That being said, Hillary must stop the ivory tower routine. Her handlers are making a huge mistake if they think they can trot her out next fall to woo the voters. You need to let the folks get to know you now, because for years you’ve been defined as a dragon lady.
Like most Americans, I don’t know Hillary Clinton. I met her once at a crowded event, and we passed a few words but nothing of substance. So maybe she is the Dragon Lady. Maybe she can’t relate to the folks. I just don’t know.
But I do know that Sen. Clinton will never become president if the folks don’t get to like her better than they do right now. The two new books aren’t going to help Hillary, but if she makes a high profile effort to engage the public, the books will quickly pass from memory.
So that’s my no-spin advice, Senator. I don’t care about your private life. But I do care about your problem-solving ability. I also resent your absence from the fray.
Few will begrudge you your right to privacy in the marital arena. But most of us want the next president to be upfront and accessible. And at this point, Hillary Clinton, you’re not.
– Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Culture Warrior.” His column is distributed by Creators Syndicate.
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