Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Sunday, May 29, 2016

IF I WERE A CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT


In 1979, my Harvard classmate Ted Kennedy [Class of ’54, I never met him] announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for President.  He was interviewed by the fine old TV reporter Roger Mudd.  Mudd asked Teddy the one obvious softball question that everyone aspiring to the Presidency can expect to be asked:  “Why do you want to be President?”  Teddy’s utter inability to give a coherent answer killed any chance he might have had of following in the footsteps of his martyred older brothers Jack and Bobby.

This afternoon, as Susie and I were sitting in the café, I was musing on the epic awfulness of Hillary Clinton as a candidate, I remarked that no one watching her could answer that simple question:  Why does she want to be President?  When asked, she gives a perfectly crafted laundry list of practical policies she would attempt to implement, but never is she able to give a simple one sentence answer to the question that rings true, and that, I think, could be fatal for her chances.

There is in fact an answer she could give, if she could bring herself to give it.  It would be clear, straightforward, and immediately recognizable as true, but she would have to discipline herself not to tack onto it a fifteen sentence list of focus group tested addenda designed to assemble a winning coalition.  It would be a narrow answer, a direct answer, an answer that did not speak to every constituency she needs for a win, but it would have the extraordinary virtue of being true, and giving it would establish her as an authentic human being.

What would that answer be?  Here it is:

“I want to be President so that I can spend the next four years doing everything I can to make sure that now, at long last, after more than a century of struggle, women in this country will finally get all of the rights they deserve and have so long been denied.”

That is, I really think, the one thing Hillary Clinton the human being actually believes.   But there is not the slightest chance that she will ever say it just that directly and simply.

It is a pity.  It would be a winner.

1 comment:

Jerry Fresia said...

"...there is not the slightest chance...." Yup.....not the slightest. She might burst into flames if she said
anything heartfelt and non-focus group tested.

Meanwhile, back at the Eagle's Nest, look at the direct, straight forward messaging the "make it great" crowd is
cranking out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyI2okq4h1U