Hillary Clinton's Campaign Strategy

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The race is officially on to win the party nominations for the 2008 presidential election. "Hillary Clinton is in it, to win it!" Clinton announced on her website on Saturday, and in my opinion, that is precisely what she will do.

It’s my belief that she’ll win the Democratic nomination by a wide margin, pick a relatively conservative and fresh face as a running mate, and launch herself as the frontrunner, into one of the most important general presidential campaign seasons in modern American history.

I’m not saying that this season has unique historic importance, just to hype this article. Rather, I have observed that the campaign seasons serve two purposes: they open a dialogue about national priorities and they introduce to the American people the various candidates and their platforms. If there was ever a time to reconsider our national priorities and discern the best person to carry them out, it would be now.

I’m afraid, however, that the current political atmosphere of overall dissatisfaction with the status quo will tempt us to bypass serious debate of our domestic and international priorities. The feeling among many Democrats and Republicans alike is any change will be good-and the more the better.

I heartily disagree. Not all change is good … and if it’s not good, the more of it will only make things worse.

I think our country will be worse off if we don’t force candidates to lay their plans and particular strategy out in black and white. The challenges we face are too serious and complicated to settle for anything other than straight talk. A promise for sweeping change is not enough.

The banner on Hillary Clinton’s website sums up her communication strategy: "The Time Is Now."

What is it time for, Senator Clinton?

Time for change in the White House? That will necessarily happen; there is no incumbent or vice president in the race.

Time for the first female president? Maybe, maybe not. Good women don’t deserve votes because they are women ... they deserve them because they are good.

I single out Hillary Clinton because I think she is in the best position to win on a ticket of change, while deftly avoiding communicating what she believes in and how she will run the country. After all, everything about a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency would be different … including the sight of Bill Clinton in the East Wing of the White House and under her command.

The leading Republican candidates -- including Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney -- would do a great service to our country and themselves if they were to forget about adapting to their political rivals and spend more time reflecting on and communicating their core beliefs.

Listen up, guys. You aren’t going to beat Hillary with a negative campaign. Scandals can’t hurt her; she’s weathered them all with admirable strength. Your only chance to win is if you show us why you are good (remember, good men aren’t good because they are men) and why your political platform and personal character are better for America than hers is. If you think an aggressive approach is necessary, attack her ideas and her record … not her person.

Show us facts describing why you will do a better job in eradicating poverty, protecting human life at every stage, building peace at home and abroad, forging a strong economy, encouraging strong family life, educating our youth, taking care of our elderly, and defending us against our ideological and military enemies. If you are not up to the task, please bow out. The times are too critical to rest on the shoulders of a man or woman motivated mostly by selfish ambition.

Newt Gingrich made news on Sunday, by telling Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday that he will only enter the Republican Primary "as a last resort." We can understand this comment in the context of another statement he made last month, in which he said he would consider running only if he believed no Republican candidate had a clear advantage this coming September. To Mr. Gingrich’s credit, between now and then, he will be working on a program called "American Solutions." He explained, "I think it’s important for us to focus on solving very big, very real problems. We have lots of time for personal ambition."

But even Mr. Gingrich doesn’t seem to get it. Please don’t enter the race, Sir, simply because no other Republican has a clear advantage in September. Enter if you are convinced that your solutions and your character are better for America than the next guy’s, or gal’s. In times like these, there is no time for personal ambition, neither now nor in the fall.

The presidential campaign season is upon us. It is perhaps the most important one in modern American history. In our present state of vulnerability, it would do us well to remember that change for change’s sake is a dangerous political platform.

God bless, Father Jonathan

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