Monday, April 30, 2007

Hillary, Microsoft and Dog Food

Today’s Washington Post has a takeout on Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign adviser that begins thus:

“It was fairly simple, Mark J. Penn said calmly to Vice President Al Gore, reporting the findings of an exhaustive survey he had conducted in the early stages of the 2000 presidential campaign. Voters liked Gore's policies. They just didn't like Gore.”

A month ago, a report on Sen. Clinton’s poll slippage and apparent failure to remake her image, ended thus:

“All this recalls the story of the re-marketing of a dog food--improved nutritional formula, better packaging, more effective ads--but no spike in sales. Asked to explain, the brand manager shrugs: ‘The damn dogs just won’t swallow it.’”

The WP story reports that high-powered Mark Penn is now limiting himself to two clients--Sen. Clinton and Microsoft. That may explain it all. Everybody knows that Microsoft is powerful, but who loves Microsoft?

Some advice to Sen. Clinton that won’t cost as much as Mr. Penn’s but comes from many more years of experience: Try letting your hair down once in a while. Haven’t you noticed you’re the only candidate who isn’t making gaffes but isn’t making any progress with voters?

After all these years of a robotic White House, Americans would welcome a human face, someone the French call a mensch.

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