Since the 2004 campaign ended, John Edwards has been traveling around the country, talking extensively about poverty and economic inequality. (When his staff isn't shopping at Wal-Mart.) Now he's going to kick off his next presidential bid in a location
designed to underline and emphasize those themes:
Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee, hopes to make his own splash by announcing his candidacy late this month in New Orleans, two Democrats said.
Edwards' choice of sites shows how he wants to distinguish his candidacy: emphasizing policies he believes can unite a country divided by economic inequality. That situation is no more evident than in the city's Lower 9th Ward, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina — and a reminder of the Bush administration's much-criticized hurricane response.
A sign that some things are a matter of taste - over in the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza discusses the ways to kick off a campaign and writes of a political communication class taught by his friends Chuck Todd (of The Hotline) and Steve Rabinowitz (of Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications) at Johns Hopkins University's satellite branch in D.C. In that class, the students presented their ideas for 2008 presidential announcements, as well as a broader messaging plans for likely candidates.
Cillizza describes some proposals, and notes:
Amanda Reynolds went in another direction in her idea for Clinton's announcement. She envisioned Clinton announcing her candidacy at a free health clinic in New York, followed by a speech making clear why she was running at Wellesley College — her alma mater — the following day. Reynolds also had some of the best message ideas we heard all night. On re-introducing Clinton to the national audience: "An ordinary woman who has had an extraordinary life." And her one-sentence message for a Clinton campaign: "Make America a better place to live, work and raise a family."
Um... that's it? Couldn't that ultra-generic goal/slogan work for any candidate? Is there any candidate who doesn't want to "make America a better place to live, work and raise a family"? Couldn't any but the most boring male candidate use "An ordinary man who has had an extraordinary life"? And doesn't it sound a bit like a eulogy?
I realize this is out of the blue, one-minute of thought, but I'm thinking that A) Hillary can't run away from her tough reputation; trying to be sweetness and light is only going to come across as phony, and or boring; B) the country will be hungering for a pragmatic, proven problem-solver in 2008, not an ideologue and C) the possibilty of war, terrorism, and great danger will not be far from voters' minds.
In light of all that, how about...
"When You're In The Times That Try Men's Souls... Try a Woman."
It's simultanously feminist in that Rosie-the-Riveter "We Can Do It" way, evokes Thomas Paine in December 1776, promises a new start, and honestly acknowledges the great challenges facing the country. The slogan "a better place to live, work and raise a family" applies to every candidacy in American history.
Or maybe just, "Hillary: Better To Be With Her Than Against Her, Believe Me."