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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

STRATEGI | Hillary Clinton förlorade när hon flyttade fokus från ekonomin till att istället försöka få valet att handla om Donald Trumps moral och karaktär.

time

Detta är lite av en historisk ironi. James Carville, politiska rådgivare till Bill Clinton inför valet 1992, myntade begreppet ”It’s the economy, Stupid!” för att hans kampanjstab inte skulle lockas avvika från den fråga som man ansåg som absolut central för en valseger.

Om valanalysen är korrekt måste detta vara speciellt enerverande för både Bill, Hillary och demokraterna.

Michael Scherer skriver i Time:

For nearly 17 months on the campaign trail, Trump did what no American politician had attempted in a generation, with defiant flair. Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country. Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman. The national press, the late-night comics, the elected leaders, the donors, the corporate chiefs and a sitting President who prematurely dropped his mic—they all believed he was just taking the country for a ride.

Now it’s difficult to count all the ways Trump remade the game: the huckster came off more real than the scripted political pros. The cable-news addict made pollsters look like chumps. The fabulist out-shouted journalists fighting to separate fact from falsehood. The demagogue won more Latino and black votes than the 2012 Republican nominee.

Trump found a way to woo white evangelicals by historic margins, even winning those who attend religious services every week. Despite boasting on video of sexually assaulting women, he still found a way to win white females by 9 points. As a champion of federal entitlements for the poor, tariffs on China and health care “for everybody,” he dominated among self-described conservatives. In a country that seemed to be bending toward its demographic future, with many straining to finally step outside the darker cycles of history, he proved that tribal instincts never die, that in times of economic strife and breakneck social change, a charismatic leader could still find the enemy within and rally the masses to his side. In the weeks after his victory, hundreds of incidents of harassment, many using his name—against women, Muslims, immigrants and racial minorities—were reported across the country.

The starting point for his success, which can be measured with just tens of thousands of votes, was the most obvious recipe in politics. He identified the central issue motivating the American electorate and then convinced a plurality of the voters in the states that mattered that he was the best person to bring change. “The greatest jobs theft in the history of the world” was his cause, “I alone can fix it” his unlikely selling point, “great again” his rallying cry.

[…]

His was not a campaign about the effects of tariffs on the price of batteries or basketball shoes. He spoke only of winning and losing, us and them, the strong and the weak. Trump is a student of the tabloids, a master of television. He had moonlighted as a professional wrestler. He knew how to win the crowd. First he needed to define the bad guys. Then he needed to knock them over.

[…]

History will record that Clinton foresaw the economic forces that allowed Trump to win. What she and her team never fully understood was the depth of the populism Trump was peddling, the idea that the elites were arrayed against regular people, and that he, the great man, the strong man, the offensive man, the disruptive man, the entertaining man, could remake the physics of an election.

“You cannot underestimate the role of the backlash against political correctness—the us vs. the elite,” explains Kellyanne Conway, who worked as Trump’s final campaign manager. His previous campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, put it somewhat more delicately: “We always felt comfortable that when people were criticizing him for being so outspoken, the American voters were hearing him too.”

In June 2015, Clinton’s pollster Joel Benenson laid out the state of the country in a private memo to senior staff that was later released to the public by WikiLeaks. The picture of voters was much the same as the one he had described to Obama in 2008 and 2012. “When they look to the future, they see growing obstacles, but nobody having their back,” Benenson wrote. “They can’t keep up; they work hard but can’t move ahead.” The top priority he listed for voters was “protecting American jobs here at home.”

That message anchored the launch of Clinton’s campaign, and it was woven through her three debate performances. But in the closing weeks, she shifted to something else. No presidential candidate in American history had done or said so many outlandish and offensive things as Trump. […] “His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous,” Clinton argued.

[…]

For a Clinton campaign aiming to re-create Obama’s winning coalitions, all of this proved too large a target to pass up. Clinton had proved to be a subpar campaigner, so with the FBI restarting and reclosing a criminal investigation into her email habits, her closing message focused on a moral argument about Trump’s character. “Our core values are being tested in this election,” she said in Philadelphia, the night before the election. “We know enough about my opponent. We know who he is. The real question for us is what kind of country we want to be.”

The strategy worked, in a way. Clinton got about 2.5 million more votes than Trump, and on Election Day, more than 6 in 10 voters told exit pollsters that Trump lacked the temperament for the job of President. But the strategy also placed Clinton too far away from the central issue in the nation: the steady decline of the American standard of living. She lost the places that mattered most. “There’s a difference for voters between what offends you and what affects you,” Conway helpfully explained after it was over.

Stanley Greenberg, the opinion-research guru for Bill Clinton in 1992, put out a poll around Election Day and found clear evidence that Clinton’s decision to divert her message from the economy in the final weeks cost her the decisive vote in the Rust Belt. “The data does not support the idea that the white working class was inevitably lost,” Greenberg wrote, “until the Clinton campaign stopped talking about economic change and asked people to vote for unity, temperament and experience, and to continue on President Obama’s progress.” Interestingly, Greenberg said turnout among young, minority and unmarried female voters also decreased when the economic message Obama had used fell away.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, december 19, 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Hur vinner man mot en person som Donald Trump? Denna fråga har satt myror i huvudet på både republikaner och demokrater.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden, på den liberala tankesmedjan Center for American Progress, tror sig ha svaret.

På 90-talet arbetade Tanden för Bill Clinton i Vita huset. Här hade hon även rollen som ”senior policy adviser” till First Lady Clinton.

Senare var Tanden ”deputy campaign manager” åt Clintons senatskampanj i New York 2000 samt ”policy director” i hennes presidentvalskampanj 2008.

Henne svar på problemet Trump är hämtat från valrörelsen i New York när Clinton drev med republikanen Rudy Giuliani.

Det bästa sättet är att helt enkelt att skämta om honom. Och inte ta honom på för mycket allvar. Ett bra skämt är bättre än äkta (eller låtsad) upprördhet.

Mark Binelli intervjuade Tanden i Rolling Stone.

”I was not at all surprised by the success of Sanders,” says Tanden, who is now an outside adviser to Clinton’s campaign. ”The oddity of the race is how much Democratic voters also strongly support President Obama. They like what he’s done, but they want more. On both sides, because of the Great Recession, the Republican assault on government and the virtual standstill in Washington, people have lost faith in traditional answers. Political rollouts and solutions don’t have the power they had in previous cycles. People are interested in more disruptive change.”

Still, Tanden, who has also worked in the Obama White House on crafting the Affordable Care Act, finds it a ”great irony” that Clinton is now considered suspect by parts of the progressive left. ”As someone who worked for her in the Nineties, I can tell you that everyone on Bill Clinton’s White House staff, and everyone on the outside, thought of Hillary as the liberal champion,” Tanden says. ”Liberal activists went to her to lobby. And the president’s more centrist staff was scared of her.” Tanden pauses for a moment, then continues, ”I have to say, I think some of this is weirdly sexist. We assume she has the same views as Bill Clinton when it hurts her, and we assume she has different views when that hurts her.”

[…]

The political class, after months of writing off Trump and being proved wrong again and again, has developed an almost superstitious fear of the man, as if he must have a shriveled monkey’s paw secreted in one of his pockets that’s giving him special powers. But Tanden thinks that ”the best analogy to this race is one that Hillary has actually already run”: her 2000 Senate campaign against another brash New Yorker beloved by his supporters for going off-script, Rudy Giuliani. ”He and Trump are similar, and the way to deal with him was to make clear what he was doing. Our campaign got to a place where we were mocking him, and it really worked.”

Giuliani eventually dropped out of the race after his marriage fell apart and he received a diagnosis of prostate cancer (and Clinton went on to easily dispatch his replacement, Rick Lazio). Before that, according to The New York Times, Clinton ”had found her way to handle the gibes thrown at her by the confrontational mayor. Rather than engage him, Mrs. Clinton became the foot-tapping, arms-folded sighing mother of a forever misbehaving teenager, a strategy intended as much to infantilize Mr. Giuliani as to provoke him.

”‘I can’t be responding every time the mayor gets angry,’ Mrs. Clinton said, smiling as she campaigned in upstate New York a few days before Christmas 1999. ‘Because that’s all I would do.'”

Till detta kan läggas att man skall ta politiska motståndare på allvar om de kommer med seriösa policyförslag.

Gör man inte det riskerar man få även sina anhängare emot sig eftersom väljarna inte köper hela paket från en kandidat (eller ett parti). Även demokratiska väljare kan tilltalas av visa delar av Trumps förslag.

Att bara avfärda allt han säger kan uppfattas som nonchalant och förstärka bilden av Clinton som en av politikeretablissemanget i Washington.

Bild: Från Real Time With Bill Maher Blog.

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VAL 2016 | Om Hillary Clinton vinner valet beror det till stor del på att man lyckats knäcka koden för hur en modern politisk kampanjorganisation skall se ut.

The American Interest januari-februari 2016

Bill Clinton och Hillary Clinton har sakta men säkert över åren byggt upp vad professor Walter Russel Mead på The American Interest kallar “The First Postmodern Political Machine”.

The contrast between the apparent inevitability that surrounded Hillary Clinton’s procession toward the Democratic presidential nomination for so long and the air of scandal and suspicion that seems to trail behind her wherever she goes is striking. And it points to something important: Hillary Clinton isn’t a candidate borne aloft on a wave of popular enthusiasm. She is no JFK, no Ronald Reagan. She is no George Wallace or William Jennings Bryan. The marching bands processing before her have to be paid; she can’t fill vast halls with cheering throngs like Bernie Sanders or, heaven help us, Donald Trump. But she soldiers gamely on, determined to struggle through the exhausting and degrading routine of the eternal campaign.

[…]

But determination and grit aren’t the only forces behind her. To understand the Clinton candidacy and the odd mix of acceptance and resistance it conjures up in the party, one has to understand that she represents something that is at once very old and very new in American politics. She is a machine politician, but the machine behind her is a new kind of American political machine: a postmodern one.

[…]

There seem to be four pillars for this new kind of edifice.

First, there are the unintended consequences of the dysfunctional campaign finance “reforms” over the past thirty years that gutted traditional party organizations while empowering billionaires. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are, institutionally speaking, mere shadows of their former selves.

[…]

Second, there is the synergy created by the intersection of the Power Couple and the Twenty-second Amendment, which limited Presidents to two terms. Term-limited Presidents have a hard time convincing donors that further gifts will result in future benefits. This is a problem the Clintons do not have.

Hillary Clinton is the first person who can convince power brokers that she’s ready to make the transition from FLOTUS to POTUS.

[…]

What the Clintons have figured out is that a successful Power Couple can stay at the top of national life for decades—two terms for the first member, an interregnum of unspecified length followed, hopefully, but two terms for the second member, by which time the torch may have passed to a new generation.

[…]

Third, the Foundation vehicle allows the Clintons to attract enormous sums of money from foreign as well as domestic donors. Unlike ordinary politicians, the Clintons can take money from foreign individuals, states and firms without breaking US laws. They can even sidestep much if not all of the odium that comes from running an American campaign with foreign money. Raising money to fight breast cancer in Botswana is a much more creditable activity than taking political contributions from an African mining company with a dubious reputation. …] This is honest graft at work: one hires someone who is a reasonably qualified administrator for the program, but who is also plugged into the network of activists and operatives needed to keep the permanent campaign up and running. One can also spread the money around: the Clinton Foundation can make grants to other like minded non-profits, providing good jobs to loyal supporters.

Patronage in the service of doing good, that can effectively and legally use foreign donations in ways that build a powerful domestic political force: this might not be up there with the discovery of fire or the wheel as an invention that changes history, but it is not an insignificant contribution to the art of American governance.

[…]

Fourth, the Clintons have captured the power of networks. Like Facebook, the Clinton network is powerful because almost everyone is part of it. Since 1992, when the Clintons stormed out of Arkansas to take the White House, they have been at the center of world power and fame. Everybody who is anybody knows them or knows of them. They can introduce anybody to anybody; they can put together the most star-studded guest list for any purpose. The power of celebrity gives them the ability to publicize and glamorize almost anything; there are powerful reasons to be part of the network that includes virtually everyone in the media, in government, in finance, in business or academia that anyone wants to know or do business with.

[…]

Many find something deeply repellent in the ways that the new machine facilitates the integration of global and American politics and lobbying. Many will denounce the self-interested mingling of charity and political power-broking; others will gasp at the depth and degree of conflict of interest that a system like this inevitably entails. All these problems are real, and the Clintons, whatever their virtues, have never been at their best when it comes to disentangling the public good and their political interests.

[…]

Even the power of a great political machine cannot (yet?) deliver electoral victory on a national scale. Barack Obama (who seems increasingly interested in setting up a rival postmodern machine when his own presidency comes to an end) can tell us about that. In the old days, machine politicians had a hard time winning national campaigns; people out in the less corrupted (or, if you prefer, less sophisticated) flyover states aren’t always happy about big city politicians with big city connections.

Tidskriftsomslag: The American Interest, vol. XI, nummer 3, januari-februari 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Hillary Clintons största problem är att hon är Hillary Clinton. Detta enligt Joe Klein i tidskriften Time.

Time February 15 2016

Klein, som bl.a. skrev boken The Natural om Bill Clinton, har bl.a. kallat henne en ”quinoa and kale salad, nutritious but bland”.

Clinton har varit ständigt närvarande i amerikansk politik. Hon är alltid närvarande. Hon skulle aldrig som Bill Clinton kunna kalla sig för ”Comeback Kid” ”because she never really goes away, she just keeps plugging away, pocketing any stray piece of progress that she can”.

Bernie Sanders, hennes politiska motståndare i demokraterna, må entusiasmera ungdomar men när allt kommer till kritan är och förblir Clinton det säkra kortet.

Och när väljarna skall avgöra vem som är mest lämplig att fatta beslut om krig och fred – hon eller den fullständigt oförutsägbara tornadon Donald Trump – kommer man med största sannolikhet att välja Clinton.

Eller som amerikanarna själva brukar säga: ”Steady does it”.

Joe Klein skrev i februari följande om Clintons kampanj:

“I know what it’s like to be knocked down and how you dust yourself off and you get back up and you keep fighting for what you believe in,” she said when I asked how she differed from the young activist who worked for McGovern. “But you do it within the process so that you can actually try to get results for people, so that you can point to our political system working. And I think that that’s what we need more of right now–not less.”

This is what Clinton brings to the table in this campaign, an idealism tempered by time and hard experience. She has become more realistic, and moderate, because–unlike Sanders, who has existed on the periphery of practical politics–she knows what it’s like to lose (on health care, particularly) and to negotiate the small victories (children’s health care) that are the guts of practical politics. It is the precise opposite of what Donald Trump–that other exemplar of the baby-boom generation–is selling. It is about patience and making the phone call to the mayor of Flint–or to the Chinese–about what can actually be done to improve things. This celebration of incrementalism is very difficult to communicate in a campaign, under the best of circumstances. And it’s virtually impossible this year, when grand notional gestures–build a wall, ban the Muslims, bomb ISIS until the sand glows–have become the currency of choice.

In a way, Clinton is the most (small-c) conservative in the race, standing athwart the utopian fantasies proposed by the left and right. Her gamble is that the toughness and stability she offers will slowly become more attractive in the mayhem of the campaign; her problem is that her very Clinton-ness makes the prospect of stability seem remote. Her cast of characters–Bill, the Clinton Foundation, her email server, Huma Abedin, Sidney Blumenthal, the shameless publicist David Brock–will provide constant fodder for those seeking to outrage or titillate the public. Being “Hillary Clinton” is the single greatest obstacle to her being Hillary Clinton.

Läs mer: Joe Kleins intervju med Hillary Clinton.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time, 15 februari 2016.

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USA | Vem hade kunnat tro att expresidenterna Bill Clinton och Geroge W. Bush, och deras respektive familjer, är goda vänner?

G9510.20.indd

Många av demokraternas och republikanernas kärnväljare satte säkert kaffet i halsen när Time gjorde ett reportage om de två inför valet.

Men sanningen är att deras vänskap inte är någon större hemlighet. Det är mest deras tajming, när det nu börjar hetta till i valrörelsen, som överraskade.

Kommande valkampanj kan fortfarande komma att handla om Hillary Clinton och Jeb Bush. Men inom båda partiernas etablissemang har man börjat oro sig över kärnväljarnas vilja att röra om i grytan. Mest märks detta bland republikanerna.

Demokraterna har börjat oroa sig över att Hillary verkar sakna politiska övertygelser och kanske är för komprometterad efter alla år inom politiken. Detta samtidigt som Jeb, bland republikanerna, inte direkt inspirerar gräsrötterna till stordåd.

Men när Nancy Gibbs och Michale Duffy intervjuade expresidenterna kom man naturligtvis in på kommande presidentvalskampanj.

“Look, this is highly complicated,” Clinton says of the political environment. “People don’t like negative, divisive environments. But they frequently reward them in elections.”

[…]

“I can’t tell you who is going to win, but I can tell you what’s going to happen,” Bush says and Clinton nods in agreement. “There’s kind of a general pattern. And there will be flash in the pans, there will be this crisis, there will be the funding thing. There will be all these things that happen, but eventually the person who can best lead their party will be nominated.”

[…]

Earlier this year at a private fundraiser, George W. reportedly called Hillary formidable but beatable, and you get the sense that his opinion hasn’t changed. “You know, I’m pulling for Jeb as hard as I can pull for him,” Bush says. His brother is “plenty smart and plenty capable, and if he needs my help, he’ll call me,” he said. “Otherwise I’m on the sidelines, and happily so.”

[…]

The 2016 race, Clinton says, is going to be about the economy and how to make it bigger and broader. But just as he starts to get going on the topic with his old intensity, you can him hitting the brakes, as if he were saying to himself, “It’s not your turn.” Says Clinton: “I think the debate could become fresh for Americans if it’s really about…how do you create broadly shared prosperity all over the world? I think it’s going to be interesting.” But now he, he says, “I think most of my role will be giving advice if I’m asked for it. And I try not to even offer it at home unless I’m asked. But she’s been pretty good about asking every now and then.”

Tidskriftsomslag: Time den 3 augusti 2015.

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IMAGE | Även den som är ointresserad av amerikansk politik minns att president Bill Clinton hade en otrolig förmåga att bli förknippad med skandaler.

The Plain Dealer den 20 december 1998

Det räcker t.ex. att nämna Monica Lewinsky för att minnena skall komma tillbaka. I många av dessa skandaler var Hillary Clinton direkt eller indirekt involverad.

Frågan alla ställer sig är om dessa skandaler – många nu tjugo år gamla – kommer att påverka Hillary Clinton negativt i valrörelsen.

Hillary Clinton är idag en välkänd person som väljarna redan har bildat sig en uppfattning om. Just av den anledningen skall det mycket till för att man skall ändra uppfattning om henne baserat bara på gamla skandaler som ingen längre minns detaljerna kring.

Så det behövs nog nya skandaler – som förstärker eventuella negativa misstankar om henne – för att väljarna idag skall börja ifrågasätta henne för vad som hände under president Clintons tid.

Med tanke på att många har en positiv bild av henne som utrikesminister så kommer kanske inte ens nya skandaler hjälpa hennes politiska motståndare.

En som borde veta när det gäller skandaler och krishanering är Chris Lehane, politisk rådgivare för demokraterna, som bl.a. jobbat för president Clinton.

Adam Nagourney, The New York Times, kallade en gång Lehane för en “fervent advocate of the dark arts of politics: the cutthroat, destroy-your-enemies, do-what-it-takes-to win approach to political campaigns”.

Eric Benson, på New York, frågade Lehane om han tror att dessa gamla skandaler kan komma att påverka synen på Clinton.

Do you see Republican attacks as potentially backfiring?

I think that the fact that she’s embracing the idea of being the first woman to become president serves as both a sword and a shield. It’s a shield because if you get down to it some of the attacks really are misogynist, and it’s a sword because this becomes part of her vision.

But Hillary already ran to become the first woman president, and Barack Obama still beat her with his “same old politics” attacks.

First of all, I’m not sure, at least in the first part of her campaign in 2008, that she really embraced the historic nature of the candidacy. In fact, if you look back, there was a real effort to not highlight that. And obviously 2008 was still only eight years removed from the Clinton presidency. When you’re running in 2016, that offers a different historical perspective. I’m doing polling all the time on campaigns across the country, and if you ask people how they voted in the Clinton years, you get 65, 70 percent of the public that say they voted for Bill Clinton even though he never, obviously, got close to those numbers.

You advocated getting in front of scandals when you were an aide in the Clinton White House. Do you think Hillary should respond when people like Rand Paul and Reince Priebus dredge up Whitewater and the impeachment?

To use a boxing analogy, I think you can sidestep those punches. I just don’t think they really connect, because they were just so long ago and they’ve been regurgitated any number of times. You’re talking about stuff, in some cases, that goes back to the mid-1980s. I mean, there’s some not-­insignificant percent of the population that wasn’t even born then!

Läs mer: ”Yeah, I Wrote the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Memo” av Chris Lehane, PoliticoMagazine.

Bild: The Plain Dealer den 20 december 1998.

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LEDARSKAP Tidskriften Fortune utsåg 2014 Bill Clinton till en av ”The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. Han passade även på att dela med sig av sina erfarenheter.

Fortune April 7 2014

”From the adults in my extended family I learned that everybody has a story but not everyone can tell it.” Denna lärdom påminner om hela hans presidentskap.

Att vara president är ofta en kontinuerlig form av krishantering. Och Clinton hade en otrolig förmåga att kommunicera med amerikanska folket på ett sätt som hans motståndare aldrig lyckades med.

Även i motgång hade han en otrolig förmåga att övertyga väljarna om att han åtminstone var bättre än sina kritiker. Och det är ofta allt en bra politiker behöver. Allt annat följer på detta.

Här är Clinton om ledarskap:

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and staying with it until the goal is achieved. If the leader holds a public or private position with other defined responsibilities, leadership also requires the ability to carry out those tasks and to respond to unforeseen problems and opportunities when they arise. It is helpful to be able to clearly articulate a vision of where you want to go, develop a realistic strategy to get there, and attract talented, committed people with a wide variety of knowledge, perspectives, and skills to do what needs to be done. In the modern world, I believe lasting positive results are more likely to occur when leaders practice inclusion and cooperation rather than authoritarian unilateralism. Even those who lead the way don’t have all the answers.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and staying with it until the goal is achieved. If the leader holds a public or private position with other defined responsibilities, leadership also requires the ability to carry out those tasks and to respond to unforeseen problems and opportunities when they arise. It is helpful to be able to clearly articulate a vision of where you want to go, develop a realistic strategy to get there, and attract talented, committed people with a wide variety of knowledge, perspectives, and skills to do what needs to be done. In the modern world, I believe lasting positive results are more likely to occur when leaders practice inclusion and cooperation rather than authoritarian unilateralism. Even those who lead the way don’t have all the answers.

Tidskriftsomslag: Fortune den 7 april 2015.

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