Hey, the Solutions Store Called
02-15-2008
Yesterday, I watched video of separate campaign appearances by Bill and Hillary Clinton. In each case, Hillary Clinton was championed as being in the solutions business. I have seen the word solutions pop up on an occasional placard at previous campaign events, but the mantra-like frequency with which each Clinton incanted the phrase this time made it clear that this was the essence of their retooled message, in response to Barack Obama’s recent streak of electoral victories.
 
Two problems with this slogan (and its underlying message) came immediately to mind, as I watched these clips yesterday. First, the phrase solutions business has a decidedly late-1990s, dotcom management consulting, buzzword feel to it. It may be that the Clintons are intentionally hearkening back to the first Clinton presidency, but my sense is that they actually intend it to be a forward-looking alternative to Obama’s soaring rhetoricSecond, and more important, the phrase suggests a focus on pragmatism in achieving policy outcomes, and the reality is that most voters do not select a president based on appeals to pragmatism. Perhaps they should, but that is another matter.
 
So, my guess is that putting Hillary Clinton in the solutions business won’t provide the turnaround moment for which her campaign is searching. For a more – shall we say – pointed critique of Clinton messaging, check out the last three paragraphs of this commentary.


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