Monday, December 03, 2007


Yes, I know it's advice from Karl Rove, but he does have a track record for winning, so listen up! (It's subscription, so I will copy heavily)

First, stop acting like a vitamin-deficient Adlai Stevenson. Striking a pose of being high-minded and too pure will not work. Americans want to see you scrapping and fighting for the job, not in a mean or ugly way but in a forceful and straightforward way.

Hillary may come over as calculating and shifty but she looks in control. You, on the other hand, often come over as weak and ineffectual. In some debates, you do not even look at her when disagreeing with her, making it look as if you are afraid of her. She offers you openings time and again but you do not take advantage of them. Sharpen your attacks and make them more precise.

Take the exchange in the Philadelphia debate about Bill and Hillary keeping documents hidden about her role as first lady in his White House. She was evasive. You spoke next. You would have won a big victory if you had turned to her and said: “Senator, with all due respect, you and your husband could release those documents right now if you wanted to. Your failure to do so raises questions among a lot of Americans about what you’re hiding and those questions would hurt our party if you were our nominee.” But your response was weak as dirty dishwater. Do not let other great opportunities pass by.

Second, focus on the fact that many Democrats have real doubts about Hillary. They worry she cannot win, will be a drag on the ticket and that if she got to the White House it would be a disaster. You know better than most what they are worried about; they have told you their fears. It is why you have done so well raising money from Bill’s backers and gaining support from Clinton administration officials. Talk about those doubts. Put them in a bigger context than just the two of you. Remind primary voters that these shortcomings will hurt Democratic chances.

The third is to not pick fights where she has the upper hand, like foreign policy.

The fourth was to not give garbled responses, like you did on drivers license for illegals. Don't look as calculating as she does.

The fifth is to explain fully what kind of change you represent.

The sixth is not let her get away with complaining about being picked on. To be President one has to be tough. People don't like her sense of entitlement. Bring her down a notch with humor.

He ends with this:

Hillary comes across as cold, distant and conspiracy-minded, more like Richard Nixon than her sunny, charming husband. During the Clinton presidency she oversaw a disaster (the effort to sell Hillarycare) and argued hard against welfare reform, one of the promises on which he had campaigned. She is a hard-nosed competitor with a tough and seasoned staff.

But her record is weak, her personality off-putting and her support thin. If she wins the nomination it will be because her rivals – namely you – were weak when you confronted her and could not look her in the eye when you did. She is beatable but you have to raise your game. Iowa is your great chance for a breakthrough. Win it convincingly and you can build on it in the contests that follow. Lose it and victory becomes much more difficult.