Thursday, 7 February 2008

Hey! someone's trying to steal my narrative.

More liberal criticism of Hillary Clinton’s campaigning. The New Republic’s column The Plank complains that Senator Clinton is appropriating Barack Obama’s frames and messages.

"Sometimes, imitation is just the sincerest form of lameness, and Clinton adviser Mark Penn's effort to brand Barack Obama the "establishment" candidate is one of those occasions . . .

"Obama makes headway by framing himself (accurately) as a change agent?Clinton abruptly starts pitching herself as a change agent, too. Obama describes Clinton (again, accurately, at least in relative terms) as the status-quo candidate in
last night's speech? This morning we have Penn's I'm-rubber-you're-glue routine. Next thing you know, Clinton will start attending rallies in a men's suit and skinny tie and talking about how much she loves "The Wire," too.

"Silly, obvious fibs like this are one reason that so many in the media are skeptical of anything that comes out of the Clinton camp. It's an insult to the intelligence of the people being spun. (Massachusetts was an upset win for Clinton? Obama's the establishment candidate?)"

There’s more. The Plank claims that Senator Clinton is playing into the counter-story that the Republicans will spread about her.

"But the worst part of it all is that the GOP has won the last two presidential elections largely by framing the Democratic nominee as book-smart but inauthentic, someone who really doesn't know who they are. Hillary's attempted reinventions over the last few weeks--from establishment juggernaut to counter-establishment rebel; from Strong Woman to Sensitive Soul; from "leader" to"change agent"--are just doing the GOP's general-election work for them."

That’s important. An inauthentic candidate is one who cannot embody their narrative; such a candidate is doomed. It’s often seemed to me that centre-left and liberal candidates are especially prone to helping their opponents tell counter-stories about them.
Let's hope the Liberal Democrats don't fall into this trap (again) over the coming months – by, for instance, not appearinging serious; producing messages and promises that don't seem to add up; or by looking inconsistent and nannyish.

1 comment:

GoodLiberal said...

Amen. The Wire is great too.