Sunday, December 02, 2007

Republican playbook to sink Hillary - The two "i"s

A little birdy that works with the RNC told me that the RNC has been doing some test messaging against Hillary for the general election. It boils down to two "i"s - Insecurity and Infidelity

In fact, the entire message is "Insecurity and Infidelity. Return it to the White House?"

The message is textbook Republican. It goes after the opponents strength and gives the voters a very easy frame for obvious decision making.

How would it work?

On Insecurity - The Republicans will remind Americans that Al-Qaeda hit American targets in Kenya and Tanzania, Gulf of Aden and planned the WTC attacks during the Clinton administration. They will role out the old chestnut (but totally untrue) that Clinton could have shot down OBL when he moved from Sudan to Afghanistan. Assuming that no further attacks on American soil take place, the Republican nominee will be able to say that America is safer with X number of Al-Qaeda bigwigs in jail or killed.

On Infidelity - The Republicans will reprise their attacks on the White House from the 2000 election. They won't use the words adultery, infidelity or blowjob. Instead the Republican candidate will remind voters that personal "honor" has been returned the Oval Office under the Republicans. The nominee will also focus on the words like integrity, honesty, duty, etc. that hint at President Clinton's infidelity, but avoid the charge directly. However, surrogates will raise the charge directly on talk radio and 24-hour news channels.

A clear look at Hillary's record shows that she doesn't really have the experience that she claims. She has been in the White House, but wasn't in a position of power or responsibility. Her argument that she knows what it takes be president is similar to the people I meet who think they know how schools should be run because they were a student for 12 years. Being there, isn't the same as running the place.

The Republican "infidelity" charge is a perfect attack. If Hillary claims she was intimately involved in the Clinton presidency, then why wasn't she aware of her husband's infidelity? If she wants to avoid that, then she won't be able to make the "experience" argument that she is currently relying on.

The Clinton team is a good team and may be able to change the frame, but it is a compelling question. Given that the nominee will most likely be able to distance themselves from the Bush administration (Huckabee and Romney, especially) and, therefore, many of the charges against its mismanagement of America, Democrats will have to work extremely hard to get Hillary Clinton into the White House.