Hillary Clinton Not a Shoo-In

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 07:15 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Let's begin by going with the one piece of conventional wisdom that both Republicans and Democrats hold dear to their collective hearts: Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for U.S. president in 2016. Whew! Glad we got that bit of business out of the way. And so is Mrs. Clinton, no doubt.

Did you see what I just did? Here, I am controlling the message, just by writing those words. See how easy it can be? Now, Hilary, soon to be better known to us in our new Twitter-speak social-media world by her nifty initials "HRH," has to go out and prove that she can do the same.

She must demonstrate a skill and a flair for controlling the message that she wants to send to the American voters, whatever it may be. Further, she has to do that all the time with no breathers or missteps.

And to do that, she has to control the media. This is where it gets tricky for her and anyone else who tries to tame this wild beast.

The news media must be fed constantly, 24/7, as the news cycle demands. Hillary seemed to be getting the hang of it as she launched her book tour for "Hard Choices," her memoir.

As the Los Angeles Times noted, an e-book called "Failed Choices" is coming out at the same time. 

Hillary seemed to appear on every TV show except ESPN's "SportsCenter" or one of those  "Real Housewives" series (and there is still time for her to do a cameo, either lamenting the sorry state of her hometown Chicago Cubs or dispensing her hard-earned understanding of the stand-by-your-man concept).

Behind the smile, she is all business. Hillary bantered easily with the likes of ABC's Diane Sawyer, never letting that nettlesome issue of Benghazi throw her off her game and showing the world that there was a new sheriff in town and her name is HRH. She talked about what she wanted to talk about.

She didn't want to press the hot button this time around. No media big-shot is going to get her to look bad or say something she might regret. Clinton exhibited poise and radiated a good humor that the voters like to see. Her campaign motto might as well turn out to be "Never let 'em see you sweat."

Liberals and conservatives are talking as if a) her running is a foregone conclusion and b) so are her chances at defeating whatever candidate the GOP pits against her. I can't remember the last time a White House aspirant was regarded as such a lock a year and a half before the presidential election.

No, wait. I can recall. It was none other than HRH herself, in 2007. If nothing else, that catastrophe in Hillary's life should underscore a lesson that sports fans know by heart: That's why they play the game.

In other words, no one and nothing is a lock. You've got to earn every victory. Showing up is not going to be enough. She has to get the media under control so she can control the message and convince the American people that she is highly, well, presidential.

And Hillary Clinton surely understands that point better than anyone alive.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
 

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