Bill Richardson is out of the race. I will miss him—he brought humor to the party (either a big or small P). The decision to go to his primary celebration was absolutely right. It was easy – there was no vying for position or access to the ‘power’. People just wanted to be with friends and have a drink and a smile.
If someone were to ask me what is going to happen in this primary season I would have to say that I think there is going to be a War. It will not be a race war, thank god, but a gender war between young women who want politics to be different, and established women -- those who women who fought the good fight, made real change - like Family Leave and Title IX. I spoke to a friend today who went on and on about how young women don't want to pay their dues, how they aren't grateful for what we gave them -- you know the rhetoric. But when you realize that they think Hillary is the status quo, that Hillary is the antithesis of change, it is breathtaking. Who would have guessed? It is when you understand that these women are angry about the war and everything that is status quo, you start to realize how to make the case for Hillary. What surprises me is that the women of whom I speak don't care if a woman is elected. They care that the government changes and that their lives can be better. This is not about opinion leaders or policy makers, or college educated -- this is about everyone else and independent college and high school educated. This is about the people who used to be Democrats -- now the Walmart shoppers -- who we lost when we became so smart they couldn't relate to us anymore. I will hope that Hillary will stop being the Al Gore "smartest kid in the room that no one likes’.
Bill Richardson is gone. John Edwards is probably going - although he says he will stay. He can’t stay if he loses in South Carolina and why should he win? If you remember in 2004, he couldn’t even win his home state of N. Carolina. But that’s neither here nor – well maybe it is there. John Kerry endorsed Obama today. Is that good news or bad? Well it’s bad for Edwards because as his running mate in 2004, it is really a gesture of no confidence in the guy who was his choice for partnership. And I guess it’s good news – although Kerry is the establishment and Obama is trying to send messages of change. Like I said yesterday you can’t claim to want change and surround yourself with the likes of Albright and McAuliffe. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Let’s do “let’s pretend” for a moment and pretend we are Hillary. After we have our big campaign pow-wow, what do we do? How do we look at the rest of the campaign? I have a friend who says that the reason she won in NH was because they did a computerized/telephone based get out the vote. That kind of thing can’t hurt, although why would you need to make computer phone calls when you merely have to walk out on the street and talk to whomever. In a state like NH I can’t help but think people pay no attention to anything computerized when they have access to every candidate. And that kind of phone bank is so ‘90’s. I can’t imagine it has real value but who knows.
Back to how I would spend the rest of the election if I were either candidate. My best advice, (and you can’t offer advice because if they don’t call you and you call them, they think you want something — as if it has nothing to do with making the country better), since women will determine the outcome of the election, is to target women in a very specific way. Women want conversation about their issues. They do not want a list of “what I’m going to do for you” — that is so dismissive of women’s potential. They want to know what ‘the candidate’ is going to do to help them help themselves. It’s a very Jewish concept called ‘tzedakah’. It is the highest form of charity because the person you are helping is really doing it for themselves. It’s like you can give someone a fish or you can teach them how to fish so they can be independent rather than indebted.
So, what I would do is talk about issues about which women are passionate. They transcend foreign and domestic issues because they address concerns about safety, (war, abuse, rape, guns, computer predators), health, the economy, opportunity, and education. Each having broad ramifications, but each critical to women. Whether I was Obama or Clinton, I would frame my conversation (and a conversation rather than a list or lecture it must be), around these issues. It’s that simple. We’re just sayin...Iris