Hillary speaks

There was a very important message in the subtext of Hillary Clinton’s widely heralded CNN interview with Brianna Keilar yesterday.  For those readers who enjoy the sound of nails on a chalkboard, the entire interview is embedded at the end of this blog.  CNN’s Eric Bradner offers a reasonable summary of what transpired for those who have a normal aversion to 19 minutes of phoniness.

But first the context, and then the subtext.

There was only one reason this interview was important: scarcity value.  Hillary Clinton, despite running for president for months now, with two, count them, two launches, has not sat down for an interview until yesterday.  So averse to answering questions is she that reporters were actually roped off from her in an Independence Day parade in New Hampshire, to almost universal derision.

The historic comparison that comes to mind is the debut of silent movie mega-star Greta Garbo in her first talking picture, Anna Christie.  A tidal wave of curiosity was set off by MGM’s publicity department based on the public’s curiosity over what the star actually sounded like.  As it turned out, the movie was a flop, perhaps presaging Hillary’s fate.

Prior to the interview, there was much commentary on the fact that a mere two weeks ago, Keilar and Hillary had attended the wedding of a campaign aide, establishing them as members of a social clique, and on Keilar’s breathless reporting of Hillary’s Scooby Van meal outside Toledo, with the scoop that she had ordered a burrito.

So Keilar had an agenda to preserve her credibility in the face of open doubts, while Hillary had her own agenda.  I think that on the surface, both women achieved their goals, but they left conservatives a tell.

Jim Geraghty of National Review summarized the job Keilar did:

[The] interview is about what we should expect from Keilar; nowhere near as bad as conservatives feared, but also nowhere as tough as they wanted to see. She asked questions on most of the topics on conservatives’ minds – Hillary’s personal e-mail, the Clinton Foundation, the fatal consequences of San Francisco’s decision to be a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants – but the lack of follow-up questions and specifics let Hillary filibuster with her particular brand of eye-rolling clichés. Today, Keilar attempted to wrestle a cloud.

And John Nolte of Breitbart incisively analyzed Hillary’s goals:

The entire interview was scripted to do 8 very important things:

  1. Allow Hillary to pretend she’s answered “all the scandal questions.”
  2. Humanize Hillary.
  3. Keep the Trump story alive.  [Note: she was “disappointed” with Trump, a pitch-perfect put-down – TL.]
  4. Bloody Republicans.
  5. Not mention Benghazi.
  6. No unexpected questions Hillary wasn’t ready for.
  7. Put no pressure on Hillary.
  8. Not trip Hillary up.

Number 8 is the most important. At all times Hillary must look in control and in command, while Republicans are made to [look] feckless and on defense.

And that last point is the tell for conservatives.  The interview shows she is deathly afraid of spontaneity.  She had canned answers for every question and, directly or indirectly (through time control), assured that there would be no follow-up questions that could throw off her carefully scripted answers. 

Noah Rothman of Commentary, commenting on the campaign prior to the interview, picked up on the same point:

… she projects the air of a candidate who is allergic to unscripted events and substantial contact with unscreened voters. Clinton’s aversion to exposing herself to press scrutiny neared cartoonish levels when she was photographed perambulating down a New Hampshire street amid a Fourth of July parade with the media gaggle almost literally in tow, straining at the ropes that held them at a safe distance from the lofty figure in their midst.

The takeaway for conservatives, and for the campaign staffs of the eventual Republican ticket, is to get her off script, especially in the debates (which she will insist on limiting in number).  It is time for planning worthy of Dick Tuck, positioning operatives at campaign events with the opportunity to get questions before her that she has not planned on.  People in Iowa and New Hampshire are ideally positioned now, and it is time for all of us in the conservative media to raise again and again the issue of her inaccessibility to spontaneous interaction.  The rope-line corralling of the media on Independence Day provides the visual, and she already has the image as imperious and inaccessible.  This is an established narrative, and her weak point.

Keilar, anxious to distance herself from her role in the scripted drama, did a follow-up review of her interview later on CNN’s The Situation Room.  While avoiding any mea culpas for her lack of follow-up questions, she did place responsibility on Hillary for “not engaging.”  Ken Meyer of Mediaite summarizes:

“I didn’t hear a more open or transparent Hillary Clinton,” Keilar told Jim Sciutto. “I asked her why Bernie Sanders is garnering this support and enthusiasm you don’t seem to among Democrats. She wouldn’t engage on that.”

Keilar went on to say that throughout the interview, Clinton either “wouldn’t engage” on topics like the dynastic possibility of running against Jeb Bush, and that she was quick to move on from issues like her press relationship, the email scandal, or the dealings of the Clinton Foundation.

Here is the follow-up interview of Keilar:

 

Almost as if to salvage her reputation, Keilar did offer one follow-up question that was a zinger.  As Geraghty noted:

Keilar will face some legitimate complaints about the lack of tough follow-up questions, but at least here she had a good one, asking Hillary, “Would you vote for a candidate you didn’t trust?”

Hillary’s response was classic: "People should and do trust me."  Part of the big lie strategy – say it enough times, and enough people will believe it.

Unless, of course, the lies are refuted.

Here is the entire interview:

 

There was a very important message in the subtext of Hillary Clinton’s widely heralded CNN interview with Brianna Keilar yesterday.  For those readers who enjoy the sound of nails on a chalkboard, the entire interview is embedded at the end of this blog.  CNN’s Eric Bradner offers a reasonable summary of what transpired for those who have a normal aversion to 19 minutes of phoniness.

But first the context, and then the subtext.

There was only one reason this interview was important: scarcity value.  Hillary Clinton, despite running for president for months now, with two, count them, two launches, has not sat down for an interview until yesterday.  So averse to answering questions is she that reporters were actually roped off from her in an Independence Day parade in New Hampshire, to almost universal derision.

The historic comparison that comes to mind is the debut of silent movie mega-star Greta Garbo in her first talking picture, Anna Christie.  A tidal wave of curiosity was set off by MGM’s publicity department based on the public’s curiosity over what the star actually sounded like.  As it turned out, the movie was a flop, perhaps presaging Hillary’s fate.

Prior to the interview, there was much commentary on the fact that a mere two weeks ago, Keilar and Hillary had attended the wedding of a campaign aide, establishing them as members of a social clique, and on Keilar’s breathless reporting of Hillary’s Scooby Van meal outside Toledo, with the scoop that she had ordered a burrito.

So Keilar had an agenda to preserve her credibility in the face of open doubts, while Hillary had her own agenda.  I think that on the surface, both women achieved their goals, but they left conservatives a tell.

Jim Geraghty of National Review summarized the job Keilar did:

[The] interview is about what we should expect from Keilar; nowhere near as bad as conservatives feared, but also nowhere as tough as they wanted to see. She asked questions on most of the topics on conservatives’ minds – Hillary’s personal e-mail, the Clinton Foundation, the fatal consequences of San Francisco’s decision to be a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants – but the lack of follow-up questions and specifics let Hillary filibuster with her particular brand of eye-rolling clichés. Today, Keilar attempted to wrestle a cloud.

And John Nolte of Breitbart incisively analyzed Hillary’s goals:

The entire interview was scripted to do 8 very important things:

  1. Allow Hillary to pretend she’s answered “all the scandal questions.”
  2. Humanize Hillary.
  3. Keep the Trump story alive.  [Note: she was “disappointed” with Trump, a pitch-perfect put-down – TL.]
  4. Bloody Republicans.
  5. Not mention Benghazi.
  6. No unexpected questions Hillary wasn’t ready for.
  7. Put no pressure on Hillary.
  8. Not trip Hillary up.

Number 8 is the most important. At all times Hillary must look in control and in command, while Republicans are made to [look] feckless and on defense.

And that last point is the tell for conservatives.  The interview shows she is deathly afraid of spontaneity.  She had canned answers for every question and, directly or indirectly (through time control), assured that there would be no follow-up questions that could throw off her carefully scripted answers. 

Noah Rothman of Commentary, commenting on the campaign prior to the interview, picked up on the same point:

… she projects the air of a candidate who is allergic to unscripted events and substantial contact with unscreened voters. Clinton’s aversion to exposing herself to press scrutiny neared cartoonish levels when she was photographed perambulating down a New Hampshire street amid a Fourth of July parade with the media gaggle almost literally in tow, straining at the ropes that held them at a safe distance from the lofty figure in their midst.

The takeaway for conservatives, and for the campaign staffs of the eventual Republican ticket, is to get her off script, especially in the debates (which she will insist on limiting in number).  It is time for planning worthy of Dick Tuck, positioning operatives at campaign events with the opportunity to get questions before her that she has not planned on.  People in Iowa and New Hampshire are ideally positioned now, and it is time for all of us in the conservative media to raise again and again the issue of her inaccessibility to spontaneous interaction.  The rope-line corralling of the media on Independence Day provides the visual, and she already has the image as imperious and inaccessible.  This is an established narrative, and her weak point.

Keilar, anxious to distance herself from her role in the scripted drama, did a follow-up review of her interview later on CNN’s The Situation Room.  While avoiding any mea culpas for her lack of follow-up questions, she did place responsibility on Hillary for “not engaging.”  Ken Meyer of Mediaite summarizes:

“I didn’t hear a more open or transparent Hillary Clinton,” Keilar told Jim Sciutto. “I asked her why Bernie Sanders is garnering this support and enthusiasm you don’t seem to among Democrats. She wouldn’t engage on that.”

Keilar went on to say that throughout the interview, Clinton either “wouldn’t engage” on topics like the dynastic possibility of running against Jeb Bush, and that she was quick to move on from issues like her press relationship, the email scandal, or the dealings of the Clinton Foundation.

Here is the follow-up interview of Keilar:

 

Almost as if to salvage her reputation, Keilar did offer one follow-up question that was a zinger.  As Geraghty noted:

Keilar will face some legitimate complaints about the lack of tough follow-up questions, but at least here she had a good one, asking Hillary, “Would you vote for a candidate you didn’t trust?”

Hillary’s response was classic: "People should and do trust me."  Part of the big lie strategy – say it enough times, and enough people will believe it.

Unless, of course, the lies are refuted.

Here is the entire interview: