Throughout the campaign, Hillary has had to play rhetorical catch-up with Barack Obama. Used to equating a speech with a recitation of programs, hopefully punctuated by applause, she has always been about as inspirational as was Leonid Breshnev and her speeches just as scripted and predictable.
But she has lately retooled and once again tried to follow Obama’s charismatic style. Her new message is “the America I see.” She invokes Robert Kennedy (now the Hillary Kennedy) in an effort to counter the devastatingly effective use of JFK (the Obama Kennedy) in Caroline’s endorsement of Obama. She speaks of the “next generation” and says that she is running for president “because I will not stand by and see our country break faith – that we would leave America worse off than when we found it.”
There could be no greater testimonial to the effectiveness of Obama’s inspiring generational appeal. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Obama is getting the praise he deserves from his rival.
But watching Hillary try to be inspirational is a bit like watching Nixon having a try at it. Her soaring rhetoric somehow falls as flat as her Midwest accent and her generational appeal sounds as contrived as it is.
Is there no limit to how gullible the Clintons think we are? Don’t they realize that we will see through her attempt to “me too” Obama? Won’t we realize how contrived the Kennedy references are (a bit like the GOP’s ritualistic invocation of Reagan)?
No matter how she tries to dress it up, Hillary’s speeches are still basically laundry lists of legislation. Mired in detail, subsumed by ideology and programs, she is quite incapable of inspiration and charisma.