As Hillary Clinton kicked her book tour/campaign off last week, everything was laid out perfectly for her and the coming media coronation. Her book would go on sale, she would do several prime time interviews and that would be it – Election over already. We might as well just swear her in and cancel the 2016 primaries and general election.
Except that’s not how it went.
In a series of head scratching, laughable gaffes, Hillary Clinton instantly reminded everyone of the flawed candidate she was in 2008, and certainly will be in 2016. From saying how poverty stricken her family was after leaving the White House, to stating unequivocally the Taliban 5 the Obama Administration released from GITMO are no threat to the United States, defending giving other countries pool filter buttons is somehow good foreign policy. It all culminated on NPR when she couldn’t defend her or her husband’s anti-gay marriage position and lashed out with a medium and network (NPR) that she should own.
Friendly news outlets and her media defenders standing at the ready were questioning her preparedness and twisting themselves into knots trying to defend her. This was just a trial run. No *** really ****, trial run. Except this wasn’t a trial run. This was an unmitigated disaster. With audio and documents surfacing of her trial work from 1975 featuring her character assassination of a 12 year old rape victim, and sagging book sales, this week was shaping up to be just as catastrophic.
And then the RNC created a squirrel.
The RNC managed to distract the media from Hillary’s bad week by rolling out an intern in a giant orange squirrel suit accompanied by bad ESPN mascot style promo videos ( No, I’m not linking to it). Every counter culture, Alt-Con nightmare came to life. An idea so bad it looks like it came straight out of a Gary Busy brainstorm session on The Apprentice. David Lynch was probably off somewhere thinking “WTF is this crap?”
Yet someone thought this was a good idea. Someone at the RNC, after two devastating election losses at the hands of viral media campaigns, thought this was just the perfect adequate response to a Hillary Clinton campaign. Someone thought that hearts and minds or be swayed by a giant orange squirrel making nut puns on Twitter. Someone thought using money people donated on a $400 mascot outfit would be a successful strategy. Your donation dollars at work.
This was the best rapid response to Hillary Clinton the RNC could think of. The GOP unnecessarily inserted themselves into a media tour from hell and now become the story. The media desperate for any distraction were handed a nut on a silver platter.
Is this what voters really have to look forward to? Is this what donors and good soldiers have to look forward to in 2014 and 2016? The same tired gimmicks from the same tired leadership?
These are not the actions of a political party who has lost two easily winnable presidential elections in a row and is trying desperately to learn why. This is the kind of campaign that summer interns come up with at a marketing slam camp before breaking out for a team building session with a parachute and beach ball. Apparently the RNC felt they needed to make up ground with the coveted 6-12 Chuck E. Cheese demographic they’ve been lacking. This is a great idea if your only audience are the morning hosts of Fox and Friends who lets face it, are creepy mascots in their own right.
What block of voters exactly is this kind of thing supposed to attract? Certainly not youth or college students who are becoming more and more concerned about civil liberties and the NSA in their phone. It’s the kind of stunt that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hold up as representative evidence of what conservatives have become at a time when their audience is beginning to listen to Rand Paul & Marco Rubio who are making up serious ground on college campuses and in communities who have long felt ignored.
Why is the RNC making arguments with a giant orange squirrel that can be just as easily made without one? If the case can be made that Hillary Clinton would be another 4 year disaster after 8 years of Barack Obama, they can make it without cheap tricks.
If this gag seems old and dated it’s because it is.
The RNC used this costume and same gimmick in 2008 as a cutting edge viral wordpress campaign. The same RNC leadership who has promised to be forward thinking and expand its base with fresh outreach and digital tactics is decided to dig around the basement and dust off an old mascot costume they used during an election cycle they lost. ACORN wasn’t taken out by an intern in a squirrel suit. It was taken out using guerrilla viral tactics and alternative media that couldn’t be ignored.
If this is the deep well of creativity the RNC is digging from, then it should both terrify and enrage people in 2014 and looking ahead to 2016.
A terrifying furry is great for photo ops. Kids will love it and the T-Shirt design isn’t bad but it’s not great for converting disconnected young voters practically begging for any excuse to not vote for a 70 year old establishment politician with a Visiting Angel as a running mate.
But when the other option is represented by a creepy walking furry, they run as fast and as far away as possible.
The squirrel managed to make the RNC look dated, childish and desperate and then Hillary Clinton managed to put the final nail in the coffin of this horrific viral strategy when she exited her car and presented the intern with her book. Hillary came off affable, polished and good humored. The squirrel nodded and shook her hand and gave her the thumbs up. It’s not hard to make Hillary look bad. It’s hard to make her look?good. The RNC managed to do it anyway; effortlessly.
At least they got a souvenir out of it.
So now the RNC with no explanation on what exactly a mascot costume was supposed to accomplish that they couldn’t accomplish without it is stuck holding Hillary’s book and she enjoy’s a flock of good humorous press that she wasn’t enjoying last week as she gaffed her way from one appearance to the next without the RNC’s help.
Is that what this is all about? One big game to them? There is more at stake here than hashtags and furry costumes. Someone has to step up and be the adult party. This was the official response to Hillary’s own narrative, a narrative that itself was imploding in the media without their help. Hillary’s ludicrous comments about being dead broke become about how charming Hillary was with the RNC’s crappy gimmick.
People are tired of being laughed at and losing elections.
The RNC has the first genuine opportunity in decades to rob the Democrat party of their two major crutches – The party of being young and the party of being culturally cool.
Marco Rubio during a Buzzfeed interview declared how big of a fan Public Enemy he is and was instantly ridiculed by progressives. When voters (especially black voters) see a candidate say he’s a fan of Public Enemy, they instantly relate to that and the people ridiculing him instantly find themselves on the outside of the culture sphere looking in. The Democrat party is welcome to defend the Clintons who are still trying to cling to the glory days of Fleetwood Mac. Are modern pop bands like Green Day, 30 Seconds to Mars and Imagine Dragons really going to go out to college campuses and try to convince kids to vote for a woman that looks like their grandmother?
The key to defeating Hillary Clinton aren’t furry costumes and ridiculous puns.. It’s showing the country for the old, out of touch establishment politician she is. With possible serious health and mobility issues. There are good people doing good work and using the trolling tactics that Stewart and Colbert have used for years against the Democrat Party and their ancient would-be candidate. It’s frustrating seeing all that undone by party leadership willfully ignorant in favor of something they got an idea for at their 8 year old’s birthday party.
The Democrat party, who for so long under the stewardship of celebrities and entertainers are able to plug themselves into the youth culture of America, is automatically ceding their ground by all but declaring a senior citizen a presidential primary coronation. The RNC war room should be dedicated to pin pointing online trends and using big data to target voters. A giant creepy furry accomplishes none of that.
Cost of crappy squirrel costume – $400 dollars (Of your money)
Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat – All Free.
Throw the mascot costume in the dumpster and let Hillary be Hillary. Along with Hillary Clinton’s Senior AARP Tour from hell, there are Al Qaeda linked militants slaughtering?their way across Iraq, Ukraine is worsening and there’s a crisis in Israel. The IRS announced that it had two years worth of Lois Lerner’s emails were somehow magically lost in a hard drive crash. There are serious consequences to Barack Obama’s election. The country wants alternatives, not childish pandering.
If this is really the best the RNC can do, then it would be nuts for voters to show up in 2014 and 2016.
– SM –