Having advised candidates at all levels, including presidential, I can tell you firsthand that the factor that is most important to a campaign is controlling the message. It is important that you do not give the media an opportunity to criticize you and that you do not let your opponents define you. For Hillary Clinton, she continues to fail miserably on both these points. The reality is this is less a campaign factor and more a candidate issue. Is it any wonder that many in the Democratic Party are having doubts about their presumptive nominee?
Clinton seems to have a bad week, every week. I have no doubt that Clinton, her team, and her supporters are somewhat relieved that Donald Trump seems to be taking all of the oxygen out of the primary race at this point. However, as much as the media seems to be focusing on the “Trump Factor” (a perfect title for Trump’s next reality show), story after story continues to dog Clinton. Even the killing of the much beloved Cecil the Lion couldn’t keep Clinton and her many “issues” out of the headlines.
Clinton started this week with a credibility issue, which is not to say that this is a new issue. As early as April 2015, Quinnipiac University reported that “54% of voters believe that Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.” However, Clinton cannot shake her sinking “trustworthy” numbers, and rightly so. The most recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 57 percent of voters do not view Clinton as “honest and trustworthy.” The same poll shows that her “favorability” rating is under water, with 51 percent of the voters viewing Clinton unfavorably. The only candidate voters trust and favor less in the Quinnipiac poll is Trump. I have to believe this is not the company Clinton was hoping to find herself in.
When addressing the lack of faith voters had in her, Clinton’s response was not bad — “I think that throughout this campaign what people are going to see is that I will fight for them and the issues that they’re talking to me about.” That is, until Clinton had a chance to show that “fight” on a key issue for Democrats, the Keystone XL pipeline.
During a town hall in Nashua, Clinton ducked a direct question from attendee Bruce Blodgett, who asked Clinton, “yes or no,” on whether Clinton supported the Keystone XL pipeline. Aside from not answering the question “yes or no,” she gave a pathetic response — “This is President Obama’s decision and I’m not going to second-guess him. If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” Is it any wonder with a condescending response like that a recent UNH poll shows that Clinton is losing ground to her leading opponent, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders? The UNH poll revealed that Clinton only holds a single-digit lead (8-points) over Sanders. Obama is not running for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton is, and as such she needs to state her position, or get out of the race.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a key issue with many Democratic voters, and Clinton not only broke one of the cardinal rules of the N.H. Primary (answer the questions that are asked of you), she pivoted poorly. However, Clinton also displays her inconsistency and untrustworthiness when discussing another important issue, the TPP Treaty (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
According to CNN’s Dan Merica, Clinton told Merica the reason why she comments on TPP but not Keystone – “I (Clinton) did not work on TPP. I advocated for a multi-national trade agreement.” First, Clinton’s stance on the TPP has been fluctuating now that she is running for president, most likely attempting to appease the unions and big business with her ambiguity. As a presidential candidate she never seems to give a definitive answer, but that was not always the case. Secondly, Clinton is lying. On Nov. 12, 2012, she referred to the TPP as the “gold standard in trade agreements” (http://tinyurl.com/tppgoldstandard), but now Clinton conveniently refuses to take a position on the campaign trail. Yet, as CNN recently reported, Clinton “pushed” for the trade bill at least “45 times” as Secretary of State (http://tinyurl.com/clintontpp). Frankly, Ms. Clinton, the people are neither seeing a fighter nor an honest person. What we are seeing is a person who refuses to answer a simple “yes or no” question, and will say anything but the truth to get elected.
Clinton closed out the week where her campaign began (and will most likely end), with her missing e-mail server and further Clinton Foundation entanglements. The Wall Street Journal (as well as other major media entries) reported that the Clinton Foundation accepted Swiss bank money AFTER Hillary negotiated a major diplomatic dispute. Then Secretary of State Clinton helped resolve a dispute with Switzerland over thousands of tax-evading American accounts held by UBS, a Swiss bank. We are now learning that UBS made a sizable contribution to the Clinton Foundation initiatives after the favorable resolution of UBS legal issues.
Add to the fact that we are now just learning that Clinton’s “private server” contained information from at least five U.S. intelligence agencies, and that a random sampling of those e-mails (Clinton did not destroy) indicates that Clinton transmitted classified information in violation of mandated guidelines. Yes, another bad week for Clinton, her Democratic supporters, and America. To think that anyone would vote for Clinton considering her integrity issues is not only baffling, but disappointing.