Bob Franken: The Hillary side line

  • By Bob Franken
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015 8:30pm
  • Opinion

With all that divides us these days, there are certain things that we all have in common. Think about it. For instance: Is there anybody reading this who doesn’t have a local TV news station with the slogan “7 on Your Side,” “11 on Your Side” or “13 blah, blah, blah ….” It’s the handiwork of the consultants who advise their broadcasting clients that they must establish a personal rapport with you, the viewer, by being “on your side.” It’s their way of stating that they care about you more than, say, ratings and big bucks from advertisers. And now we have “Hillary on Your Side.”

She doesn’t say it exactly that way, but she came very close in a video she released, a low-key production featuring her and scads of regular folks, gathered to announce that she is running for president. Her exact words were: “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.”

She and her advisers make no bones about her strategy of presenting herself as the president who will stand up for the great majority of us who feel alienated from a system that favors the wealthy few over everyone else: “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” is how she put it.

Besides being a laudable goal, the approach also is designed by her own consultants as a way of combating the widespread perception that she carries a huge sense of entitlement, exacerbated by the fact that there is absolutely nobody else among the Democrats who stands a chance of gaining the party’s nomination next year, short of some massive embarrassment from a seriously unflattering public disclosure or even a major scandal.

She is somewhat vulnerable. The Clintons bounced from controversy to controversy during her husband’s time as chief executive, and left a widespread impression that they often skirted the boundaries of truth with their statements when they would fight back.

And now with the recent disclosures that as secretary of state she maintained a secret private server to conduct all her official state business and then deleted everything that she and her lawyers alone decided wasn’t the public’s business, millions automatically wonder just what it was she was hiding. A new poll by Bloomberg Politics reveals that 53 percent of all Americans and 60 percent of independent voters believe that she hasn’t been honest about the emails. A Quinnipiac poll shows that she has suffered slippage because respondents simply don’t believe she is trustworthy.

The GOP, both the organization and the individual candidates, makes no bones about the plan to constantly attack her and her record. Rand Paul has even launched a website called “LibertynotHillary,” which begins with: “Hillary Clinton’s attacks on liberty and the constitution make her unfit to serve as President of the United States.”

Let’s face it, though: Hillary Clinton starts with some big advantages. For starters, she’s not a Republican, a party widely perceived as a protector of the rich and a haven for the intolerant. Beyond that, she doesn’t have to fight a bloody primary battle with more than a dozen potentially running on the right to extreme right. However, that might be a mixed bag for her, since so much attention will be on the other side.

And of course she has a huge advantage. That would be history: A great bulk of Americans is rooting for the idea that it’s time for the United States to have our first female president. The question will be whether it’s this particular woman we want, and whether we consider an ex-prez back in the White House as what he calls the “first dude” simply too weird.

It all will be very entertaining, but serious business as we all take sides on the ones we want on our side.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

More in Opinion

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, a Soldotna Republican who co-chairs the House Education Committee, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Creating a road map to our shared future

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Renewable Energy Fund: Key to Alaska’s clean economy transition

AEA will continue to strive to deliver affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to provide a brighter future for all Alaskans.

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: An open letter to the HEA board of directors

Renewable energy is a viable option for Alaska

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks in opposition to an executive order that would abolish the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives during a joint legislative session on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Making progress, passing bills

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Priya Helweg is the deputy regional director and executive officer for the Office of the Regional Director (ORD), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10. (Image via
Opinion: Taking action on the maternal health crisis

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries

Heidi Hedberg. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health)
Opinion: Alaska’s public assistance division is on course to serve Alaskans in need more efficiently than ever

We are now able to provide in-person service at our offices in Bethel, Juneau, Kodiak, Kenai, Homer and Wasilla

Sara Hondel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Alaskan advocate shines light on Alzheimer’s crisis

In the heart of the nation’s capital next week, volunteers will champion the urgent need for legislative action to support those affected by Alzheimer’s

Rep. Ben Carpenter, a Nikiski Republican, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Clearing red tape on occupational licensing

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Most Read