February 3, 2008

Hillary Clinton copies Barack Obama's chants.

Yesterday, I was listening to the radio — XM's "POTUS" channel — and I heard Hillary Clinton giving a speech at a rally. I was surprised to hear the crowd start chanting "yes we can." "Yes we can" is a chant that Barack Obama very conspicuously got started the night of the New Hampshire primary. I couldn't imagine why Clinton or her supporters would think it is to their advantage to evoke Barack Obama like that.

And the weird thing is, she's ripped off his slogan before:





An emailer tells me that the Clinton chanters aren't saying "yes we can," but "yes she can." A news report confirms it:
Throughout the rally, supporters waved Hillary signs, wore shirts with logos such as, "Got experience?," and chanted, "Yes she can."
My emailer snarks:
[It] kind of sums up the difference between their two candidacies (hers is about her, his is about us).
That's funny, but in fact we are electing a President. "We" are not going to be doing the job, that one individual is. The only thing we are going to do is pick the person who will take over the immense job of running the country. So Hillary's phrase really is more apt. It's just lame to copy Barack. And she's done it (at least) twice. As we make our choice, it's true that experience counts, but so does judgment, and on this small point of copying chants, Hillary's judgment was poor.

19 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

They are all doing it. During the course of last weeks events I heard McCain and Romney paraphrase Clinton's ready on day one.

Romney has also joined the change or change agent group.

It seems that all of the candidates are echoing what is popular- what the people want to hear. It is like Lamb Chop:

It is the song that never ends, it goes on and on again...

Trevor Jackson said...

"'We' are not going to be doing the job, that one individual is. The only thing we are going to do is pick the person who will take over the immense job of running the country."

I think you miss your emailer's point. Obama supporters, too idealistically or not, believe in his campaign because he's asking them to become involved in the process of governing, holding public officials accountable, self-sacrifice, volunteering, etc. So when he says "we," he means "him with accountability."

This is different from Clinton who, too cynically or not, says, "I will fight for you, and all you have to do is vote the one time and then you can go back to your lives."

It's really, to me, the fundamental difference of the campaigns. And, I think, what is creating the flood of young voters to Obama. They have energy and want to direct it somewhere. Obama appears to be offering some avenues.

Paddy O. said...

Isn't it just a marketing technique in action? The goal isn't as much to make it her own. She's diluting the message, taking away the uniqueness and attempting to leave Obama without a brand of his own.

Like how television networks start flooding the airwaves with copycat shows.

DigPic said...

You can view photos of Obama's visit to Denver, CO. Also pictured are Caroline Kennedy, Federico Pena, Denver Bronco Rod Smith. http://www.digpicphoto.com/barack_obama.htm

George said...

'Fire up' is what you do to a joint.

Busta Rhymes...."Fire It Up"

Ann Althouse said...

Trevor, I didn't miss his point. I appreciated it, but in the end, the fact is, most of us want and are going to live our private lives and do the work we see fit to do. We are not in the government. This is a representative democracy, and we choose people to represent us. We give the President a lot of power for that 4 year term, and he or she had better be capable.

FSXploration said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trevor Jackson said...

Thanks for the clarification, but when you say "the only thing we are going to do," can you see how one could think you didn't acknowledge your emailer's point?

You say, "We are not in the government. This is a representative democracy, and we choose people to represent us."

Part of that choosing, Obama supporters argue, is not just making a choice every four years, but continuing to hold officials accountable and renewing, or promising to revoke, their mandates. Clinton promises that we can all go back to sleep once she's safely in office. Not everyone wants to do that.

rhhardin said...

The effect on me personally is, ``Who likes these assholes?''

The discussion (I hope) is about the effect on the imagined audience of idiots and morons.

On infers the audience from what they are watching.

Zeb Quinn said...

That's funny, but in fact we are electing a President. "We" are not going to be doing the job, that one individual is.

At first I was offput by her co-opting and commandeering of Barack's campaign themes and slogan, but, hey, when you think about it what she's showing is her competency, indeed skill, at political jujitsu. All's fair in love and war, and this is war. Right?

Dylan said...

"That's funny, but in fact we are electing a President. "We" are not going to be doing the job, that one individual is."

That's true in practice, Ann, but I think it illustrates the difference in philosophies, not of the candidates, but of the people who are voting for the candidates. For the first time in a long, long time, the Obama supporters feel like THEY are the important ones in this election.

I've been struck over the past few weeks by the feeling that I'll be really, really disappointed if Obama DOESN'T get the nomination. I was pretty much undecided between the two for the longest time but now find myself becoming emotionally invested in Obama's candidacy.

I think it's because, as a 28-year-old American, I've longed for a President that inspires. I've heard tale of people who felt inspired by leaders but had really begun to believe that it was either no longer possible or that, like so much of the 60's, the idea was something that has been exaggerated over time and sold back to us. A willful deception by our parents generation who merely wanted to make themselves feel superior to our generation just as their parents did to them.

But Obama makes us "feel" like it's possible to have inspiring leadership. That it's possible to have a leader who we are proud of. As sappy as that may sound, it's the first time most in our generation have dared to feel this way.

But we, The Gen-X/Y-ers desperately WANT to feel like we are part of something. We WANT that story that we can tell our kids about. "I was at home, watching when the first Black candidate to win a primary moved me to tears."

And, yet, I find myself almost unwilling to believe that it will actually happen. That I will be disappointed. That my party, as it so often has and that my country, as it so often does, will let me down.

former law student said...

Going even further in the past for inspiration: Hillary's Operation Monochrome:

"I may be white, but I am ... Somebody!"
"I may be middle-class, but I am ... Somebody!"
"I may have gone to the Yale Law School, but I am ... Somebody!"
"I may be Bill Clinton's wife, but I am ... Somebody!"
"I may be junior Senator from New York, but I am ... Somebody!"

Paul Zrimsek said...

We're going to take slogans away from you for the public good.

Chip Ahoy said...

Yuk.

Chanters are scary.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I've heard tale of people who felt inspired by leaders but had really begun to believe that it was either no longer possible or that, like so much of the 60's, the idea was something that has been exaggerated over time and sold back to us.

What about George W. Bush in September, 2001? You don't get an 88% approval rating without inspiring people! Granted, the inspiration turned out to be of a piece with the Europeans' sympathy-- that is, it lasted only so long as he didn't try to do anything concrete with it-- but is Obama's inspiration likely to be any different?

Theo Boehm said...

Personally, I prefer these chanters and their chant.
But that's just me.

SteveR said...

Besides an obvious pander for Hispanic votes ("Si se puede") it is lame. But then her judgement is arguably better than her experience, which absent all those mysterious contributions to her husband's administration, about which we can only guess, looks good only when compared to Obama's.

P. Rich said...

The only experience Clinton #2 has is making false and unsupportable claims, or issuing denials. She's been doing that for many a year.

montana urban legend said...

As one of millions of employers of the next president, I think it should be emphasized how good a job he or she will do for us.

Obama is the first politician in my lifetime who doesn't insult my intelligence by getting bogged down in the pointless wedge-issue strategies that keep the parties busy while ignoring the needs of the electorate. Who does the elected official work for in the first place? Whatever quality it takes to prove that the candidate in question can rise above the needs of just his or her party - or worse, of just him or herself - that's what constitutes the extent to which I need to think about him or her, and from there on out I can actually relax and enjoy watching the president do the job that they're supposed to do. The job that they are employed by us to do. And their job description involves more than just keeping the electorate sufficiently divided and apathetic that we lack any further energy left for making sure that they do something more constructive than merely staying out of trouble.

Having to focus this much on them shows you just how low our expectations have sunk. Obama wants us to have more respect for ourselves as employers of the president, and that's a good thing.