After covering conventions for two weeks, I’ve lost my voice (not good for a radio guy), and it occurred to me: Maybe Hillary Clinton should too.
An old axiom in politics says that if your opponent is self-destructing, get out of his way. Don’t pile on, don’t say anything, just let the media focus on your opponent’s misery.
I thought of that yesterday when Donald Trump piped up and invited the Russian government to commit cyber espionage and find deleted emails from Clinton’s old server.
If ever there was a time to stay silent and let him explain it ….
But, of course, that’s not an option.
Tonight’s acceptance speech is Clinton’s big moment, her chance to start whittling away at the negative opinions about her so thoroughly documented in national polls.
Tye makes the point that when Bobby Kennedy started his campaign for president in 1968, he was widely distrusted by voters, seen as a privileged rich boy and a political opportunist.
By the time of his assassination in June, he’d won over millions. And Tye says it was because he’d undergone a genuine transformation in his political and moral views, and shared his thinking openly.
“It’s not too late for Hillary to do the same,” Tye wrote in a recent op-ed piece. “She needs to get off her high horse and let the public see that soft core and keen intelligence that her closest friends keep talking about. Define her loyalties. Own up to past mistakes, on everything from emails to Benghazi. Offer an answer to the schizophrenic America reflected in the dueling forces of the Good Bernie and the Bad Donald.”
Will they let her shine?
A critical question coming into the convention was what Bernie Sanders’ followers would do, and specifically whether they would try to embarrass Clinton and party leaders with public confrontations that display disunity.
That’s happened at times over the convention’s first three days.
Despite Sanders’ enthusiastic endorsement of Clinton, there was a walkout of some Sanders delegates after the nomination vote on Tuesday, and shouting and chants have continued to interrupt some speakers.
I think the disruptions involve a minority of Sanders delegates, but it doesn’t take that many people to make some noise.
What happens tonight?
There are rumors that Monica Lewinsky posters or face masks are being printed, or that some Sanders people plan to stand and turn around, showing their backs to Clinton when she speaks.
My guess is that she gets a clean shot at presenting herself, and it’s up to her to make the most of it.