To win, Clinton must use all of her assets

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's almost obligatory to comment on Sunday's long expected announcement that Hillary Clinton is running for president.

Curiously absent from the announcement was her husband. And, for starters, I think that was a mistake because Bill Clinton - flaws and all - still remains an immensely popular figure in American politics.

So maybe Mrs. Clinton wants to give the impression that she is her own person and does not need to ride on her husband's shoulders.

I can accept that.

The problem, of course, is that as her own person she has a thin resume of accomplishments.

As both a senator and then as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was a polarizing figure who seemed to muddle through with little to show for it.

Let's state the obvious - Hillary is no Bill. She lacks the political skills and personal charisma that will be essential in the months ahead.

But Mrs. Clinton has three strong assets on her side and those assets alone may well be enough to take her to the White House.

The first asset is a placid mass media that will help her campaign through potential gaffes and will bombard her eventual opponent regardless of who that may be.

The second asset is money. It's mind boggling but the goal of the Clinton campaign is to raise $2.5 billion. Normally that amount of money would be used to increase name recognition and familiarity for a candidate but Hillary Clinton is already a household name and her record - good or bad - has already come under public scrutiny for a number of years.

The third and most advantageous asset in the Clinton arsenal is the lackluster crop of candidates on the Republican side of the ledger. Granted, as the field narrows and the eventual match-up is set, the gap between Clinton and the others will close. But for now, the former first lady appears to have smooth sailing through any primary with a strong headwind into the general election.

Clinton's handlers say this campaign will be largely about the middle class. But her announcement was clearly tailored to gays, students, Hispanics and women.

Much of the success of the Clinton campaign will depend on the enthusiasm out of the African American community. She'll need the same level of support that Barack Obama garnered though that may be tough.

Only time will tell.

Come to think of it, Mrs. Clinton actually has a fourth strong asset. His name is Bill.

If she's smart - and she clearly is - she'll use that fourth asset early and often.

Like it or not, her campaign may well depend on how that fourth asset is used.

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