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Memo to Hillary: Don't Campaign for the Job; APPLY for it

To: Hillary Rodham Clinton

From: Black Woman Blogging

Re: Your Campaign for the Democratic Presidential Nomination

Congratulations on your recent victory in New Hampshire. As you acknowledged in your victory speech, it was indeed a comeback -- a comeback that, IMHO, resulted from you exhibiting a more humane and less perfect image of yourself. I would imagine that you hope to repeat the process in Nevada and South Carolina. If I may make a suggestion that I think will help you succeed down the line and possibly in the national election, it is this: Instead of campaigning for the job of POTUS, apply for it.

Yes, you read correctly. Apply for it.

What if, instead of opening each campaign stop with a canned stump speech, you simply said to each crowd, “I’m Hillary Rodham Clinton, and I’m applying for the position of President of the United States. And all that I ask is that you give me fair and equal consideration.”

What person in your key demographic, women ages 40-65, hasn’t had to actually apply for a job? What woman in that demographic hasn’t been denied a job for reasons unrelated to her qualifications? In addition to your “application,” instead of going negative on Edwards and Obama and their respective records, why don’t you circulate a brief “resume” that actually substantiates the thirty-five years of experience in making change that you say you have? The problem you had coming into the primaries and caucuses was that (1) people already knew you; (2) they decided they didn’t like you; and (3) nobody wanted a coronation of a candidate given all that’s at stake. Perhaps if you take a more humble approach but emphasize that THIS IS a job interview, albeit with an interviewing committee of millions, and not AMERICAN IDOL, you can continue to campaign on your record and accomplishments instead of having to well up in tears at every campaign stop to make people like you. You’re not going to win on the likeability factor, so you need to change the paradigm – should anyone be denied a job that they are perfectly qualified for just because they’re not liked? Think of how many women this has already happened to. If you put yourself in the position of an applicant, you make yourself a more relatable candidate AND you put voters in the empowering position of thinking more about qualifications and less about “likeability.” In short, if you treat it like a job interview, perhaps the American public will, too. And they may want to "interview" all the other candidates, too.

Now, when you circulate that resume at campaign stops, be brief -- not a five-pager, but a one-pager with bullet points, your objective (“To become President of the United States), a brief summary of your skills and accomplishments, and, most importantly, your references. You could even put it on a webpage ( –which, by the way, wasn’t taken as a domain name as of this morning).

And once the crowd knows you’re serious, sit down, shut up, and take questions, period. No plants, no shills. Ask them to please treat this as a job interview because it's THAT important. Then just plain talk to people -- respond to their concerns and tell them why you think you’re the most qualified person for the job, eschewing that stump speech and Stepford candidate approach that made the woman in New Hampshire who asked you, “How do you do it?” actually vote for Obama because he moved her and you didn’t.

Mind you, you’re going to have to be comfortable not being in control. You’re going to have to be good on the fly. You’re going to have to be . . . well, I hate to say it, but you’re going to have to be . . . Bill.

Yep, Bill. What set Bill apart was that he could handle questions from an unscripted audience and make a good argument. He was engaging, not defensive. Sometimes he just agreed to disagree, but he was respectful in speaking to people on an individual basis.

Once you turn the paradigm on its head, you shift the playing field to your advantage.

Now that’s thinking like a woman.


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