Hillary Clinton took a beating in some quarters of the media for getting emotional in New Hampshire, but since it actually figured into her victory, my guess is that we’ll be seeing more of the needy side of Senator Clinton. When HRC announced that it “hurt her feelings” that people weren’t finding her likable in the New Hampshire debate, as an actress, I couldn’t help but recall Sally Field’s Academy Award speech, when she indelicately declared, “You like me, you really like me!” Remember the collective groan that inspired as the warmth radiating toward the actress instantly transformed into contempt and disdain? Any actor can tell you that show business is much like running for office: sure, you’ve honed your skills and hope your track record wins you roles, but to capture the hearts, dollars and continued attention of the American people, you need that ineffable quality of likability.
Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock–we just like them, we really like them. As with love affairs, we can turn on them just as easily as we embraced them when they become too needy, as evidenced by Sally Field’s career trajectory. After enjoying years as America’s sweetheart, it took her years to rehabilitate her public image for exposing just how much she wanted to be embraced. So much for spontaneous shows of emotion.
Here’s my advice: to get her best long-term results in the campaign, Hillary should immediately stop addressing the likability issue and adopt the same strategy she espouses on being an agent of change. Curtail the emoting and start doing the things that make a person likable. If she wants America to like her, do what Americans like.
For starters, go on Dancing With the Stars. Americans can’t get enough of shows like this, and if the writers’ strike continues, we can expect plenty of opportunities for Hillary to glide her way into our hearts as more spinoffs appear weekly. I predict people will tune in by the millions just to see what intrepid person will be willing to put his arms around her and, dare we say, lead her around the stage. Hillary says she doesn’t want to see America fall backward, but that doesn’t mean some of us don’t want to see her fall, literally. Her first appearance would generate op-eds by formerly relevant iconic feminists like Gloria Steinem arguing that HRC should be allowed to break the salsa ceiling and lead her male partner. You can’t ask for a better press opportunity.
Americans love our rich. We love rich people the same way we love porn. Most of us aren’t getting enough money or sex, so we enjoy watching those who are getting it on a regular basis. Just seeing them or reading about their excesses reminds us that one day we might just get lucky, too. There is no other explanation as to why we lavish attention onto The Donald and his issue. Bloomberg, Romney, remember Ross Perot? A big part of their appeal is their enormous wealth, which we can’t help but respect.
Americans love our talk show hosts. Oprah is taken, Larry King will play all sides to get guests, Rush hates her, the late-night hosts are too closely identified with the writers’ strike, so I think her best bet and boldest emotional choice would be MTV’s own bisexual breakout star Tila Tequila. Tequila’s rise has been based on her unique status as a triple-threat talent–her ability to walk, talk and lap dance at the same time. Tequila could also teach Hillary how to work a stripper pole, which might be the only pole Hillary hasn’t yet pursued in her run for office. Moreover, since Obama’s got the biracial territory locked up, Hillary can lay her claim as the only bisexual candidate. If she really wants to be the candidate for change–let her declare herself as having changed teams. By announcing she’s bisexual she’ll surely gain the youth vote and probably get Ellen’s vote as well. They can adopt a stray dog together.