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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Awe-Inspiring Rhetoric of Hillary Rodham Clinton



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It’s early, but Dana Milbank has already had his fill of Hillary Clinton’s campaign rhetoric, which he compares to Hallmark cards. I think that’s unfair; Hallmark cards are sometimes intentionally funny.

But it is on the campaign trail where Clinton’s language really soars. According to The Post’s Anne Kornblut, a veteran Clinton watcher, the candidate’s greatest moment on the stump came last summer in Denver, when she gave an updated version of “It’s the economy, stupid,” an unofficial slogan of her husband’s 1992 campaign. “It’s the American Dream, stupid,” she proposed. A few weeks earlier, Clinton laid out her legislative agenda, including: “I believe in the chance for every person to pursue his or her dreams”; “we are safer and stronger when we work together”; “we are a resilient people”; and “we care deeply about the future.”

Excerpts in advance of Clinton’s speech yesterday hinted at similarly courageous stands. She promised the troops that “your country will have your back” and pledged: “They’ve given their all, and so must we.”

In the flesh, Clinton didn’t disappoint. “When the injured soldiers return home,” she told the crowd of 200, “they should be greeted with open arms, not a wall of bureaucratic red tape.” If there was dissent in the room, it was not audible. “Our soldiers are facing some very difficult challenges,” she allowed, but she vowed to “put in place a system to get everybody to the front of the line.”

Don’t understand the logistics of getting everybody to the front of the line? It’s the American Dream, stupid.

Getting everyone to the front of the line is called a crowd.

I recommend the slogan, “It’s because you’re always calling people stupid, stupid.”

For a while, I thought this mashed-potatoes-on-white-bread-with-a-side-of-tofu-and-rice-cakes style of rhetoric would doom Hillary; have we ever elected a president with such a bland and generic stump speech? On the other hand, that style has gotten her elected to the Senate twice…


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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