Hillary Clinton’s Trust Issue – A New Idea

I almost met Hillary Clinton in early 1977, when I was in the office of Arkansas’s Attorney General, Bill Clinton. Out of the blue an unknown young woman barged into his office without so much as an ‘excuse me’ and demanded his immediate attention and then she swept out. Bill said charmingly with a big grin, “Beware giving your wife the run of your office.”

Yes, Hillary clearly has a sense of entitlement that she is above unwritten rules that govern most of our lives. It is a now a problem which currently threatens her presidential bid.  The email crisis is not an isolated incident, but a symptom of a deep broader issue, which explains in part why many Americans find her unlikable and/or untrustworthy.

On the other, hand Hillary Clinton is very intelligent and no one can doubt her experience. She can confidently check almost all the boxes that are prerequisites for a President, except for the trust box.

She used the server for her own convenience and privacy and sought to excuse herself by what she says was the letter of the law, and the FBI (correctly) decided not to indict her. Sadly, she is now left in a vague new limbo land of uncertainty about trust.

Whatever Hillary may have said or done to put herself in that limbo land, the ‘games’ she may have played with truth look to me like tiddlywinks next to the ravings of Donald Trump.

Therefore, I think  she must do something NOW that is not seen as just another Hillary excuse speech, but really lets her hair down convincingly [think the Checkers speech in 1972] and makes a statement that contains something surprising and real news.

Hillary’s handlers and fund raisers say her problem can be solved by hanging on tight with money and ads. No number of ads will convince Americans to support a candidate they already believe is a liar.

She is running a Tom Dewey-style [1948] game of sitting and waiting for Truman then, Trump now, to implode.  Hillary cannot be content to sit on her resume and simply hope.  Her campaign is in peril, and her peril is ours too.

The speech her husband gave in New Hampshire in 1992 to save his nomination campaign must still be fresh in her memory.  She cannot do this through surrogates.  She must convey with heartfelt sincerity that she understands that many Americans’ distrust has a reasonableness and that she needs to address and redress that problem.

Hillary needs to explain that she understands that she will have to have the most transparent candidacy and presidency in American history.  She must pick a widely known and trusted vice president who can help her ensure transparency. That would be an unprecedented role for a vice president to take. She fortunately, she already knows a perfect person for the job: Joe Biden.

Despite the Obama administration reputation for secrecy, last fall Biden was rated the most open and trustworthy of all the candidates in the race. She has worked long and intimately with him and they know each other very well.  His career is healthy and his presidential ambitions are past due, so he is way past fear or favor. His very acceptance of her offer would be widely seen as a major endorsement and willingness to really help her

Biden would be a surprising choice to many, and the surprise itself would make it bigger news, and would help spread her message and seriousness to many more people who are in need of reassurance.

Biden is loyal and patriotic. His well know tendency to say what is on his mind is by itself a strong indication of his belief in openness. If he believed that his serving as her vice president would help keep Trump out of the White House, he would do it

Hillary seems not to understand why ‘the Hillary’ whose supporters and colleagues, who love and trust her, is not seen the same way by the many in America who have reservations. She frequently dismisses those people as part of a conspiracy led by her haters.  She must address that challenge head on and accept the reality that exists for her on the trust issue and prove to the extent that she can that she is now aware, able and willing to change.

I believe that selecting Joe Biden as her  VP is now the best way for her to show both herself and the American people that she is willing to think beyond the next traditional move on the political chessboard and commit, in a new and unusual way, to an administration of  genuine openness and trust.

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