At a recent rally of some sort, Hillary Clinton appeared in front of a campaign sign reading not "Clinton," as is the default linguistic choice for a candidate for office but with "Hillary." Who does she think she is? Oprah? Cher? Sting? Seal? A Brazilian soccer star? I can't answer my question but her use of her first name in campaign signs, a first to my knowledge, reflects her very unusual situation. She is the very first spouse of a President to run for President. Should Jeb Bush run for President he might have something like the same problem for he and W are brothers. Should that happen, I would recommend that Jeb's signs read "I'm the Other Bush" or "I'm Jeb, not George."
One sign which is autographed by Hillary is being auctioned off on Ebay, as I write. You have until February 4th to bid for the following sign. Note that this sign gives the URL "HillaryClinton.com which acknowledges that she has a last name, as do Oprah and all those Brazilian soccer stars. I am not so sure of Sting and Seal. At that site, one finds the items "Hillary's Story" and "Join Team Hillary" on the drop down menus. There is also a link titled "Send Hillary a Message of Support" you are invited to click. I didn't.
A graphic associated with a link titled "Campaign Memo" we find just "Hillary." And, when one accesses various links within this site, we find a logo reading "Hillary for President" as part of the banner at the top of the pages. At another site, which calls itself "Hillary Clinton for President '08 Campaign Store" we find campaign buttons reading "Hillary."
It is pretty clear that Hillary wants to put a certain distance between herself and the Bill Clinton legacy, which, while it includes no smoking gun, does include a smoking cigar. Al Gore tried that strategy and lost. Many pundits said afterward that if he had embraced Bill Clinton while distancing himself from Bill's below the beltline activities, he would have won. I think that's true since Bill Clinton was and still is a well-loved President. (Pace Right Wing Crazies!) And for good reason. He is the only President in my memory who acted like he cared about the American people and he did it so convincingly that I and many other Americans actually believe it. No one even pretended then or pretends now that either Bush cared or cares a lick for us "little people." W's response to the Katrina disaster and his indifference to the deaths of Americans in Iraq proves this as clearly as anything could.
I have heard from an unofficial source (my uncle) that Bill will campaign hard for Hillary but that he and she will campaign in different places. If you Google
Bill Clinton "only Black Presidentyou will find a number of references to the widely bruited claim by Blacks that Clinton was the first Black President, another reflection of the fact that Clinton is a genuine people person. One of Hillary's problems is that while I can easily believe she cares about children -- she certainly seemed to care about her own child -- I find it hard to believe that behind that often cold visage there is a warm heart beating for you and me. So, I would have Clinton campaign in every state with a large Black population and swing states like Ohio which Bill won. Hillary should focus on the Northeast and the West Coast, as well as Chicago, which is, I think, her home town. The problem with a "two places" strategy is that Iowa and New Hampshire are very important and she will need him at her side in those places to win the nomination despite the efforts people like me will make to try to stop her.
The "First Name" strategy wasn't really an option. Bill Clinton "owns" Clinton. And, she must avoid the suspicion that if she is elected, Bill will be a "Shadow President" for those who demand that their Presidents be independent thinkers. To do that, she has to campaign on her own and run as "Hillary." She must go that way, just as Jeb Bush would have to go with "Jeb" along with "I never liked my big brother either" on his campaign signs.
What I am wondering is whether this use of just "Hillary" might project her into being perceived by many as being a Rock Star. If so, then she might actually get nominated and elected. I for one am deeply concerned that nomination of Hillary will mean another 4 to 8 years of a Republican Presidency and that is a fate worse than death. So, its not that I would mind Hillary being President. I would like it. I just think that the Right Wing Crazies and even some decent Republicans will rumor her into oblivion. You know what the main rumor will be already.