Dear madam yesterday
Back in 1979, Ronald Reagan first announced his intentions to run for office by releasing a video. That is how it was done back then. It was not really that much of a surprise that you would use yesterday’s campaign tactic to declare your intentions last week.
Then you got in a van for a road trip. The press called it “spontaneous.” Some members of the press reported your travel as you personally driving to Iowa from New York. Except, Madam Yesterday, you admitted you had not driven yourself anywhere since 1996. Your cars are sedans and chauffeured; your planes are private; and your lifestyle is not exactly that of “woman of the people.” To your credit, this is the closest you have come to mingling with the middle class since flying over them at 50,000 feet in a Gulfstream to Davos.
What was most striking about your van ride, other than not even pumping your own gas, was that it was not spontaneous. Despite Chuck Todd of NBC using that word, this is the campaign tactic you deployed in 2000. The press documented it back then. Even worse, this past week the press laughed that you were calling your van the “Scooby Van.” At your age, you may not remember, but in 2000 you also called it the “Scooby Van.” So much for spontaneous originality.
More troubling is that your events are so tightly scripted. The Daily Mail reports you wanted to appear to meet “ordinary” Iowans, so your campaign staff cleared out a coffee house and stocked it with pre-approved Democratic operatives. Then, last Wednesday, you told the story of your grandparents immigrating to the United States. The only problem is that your grandmother did not immigrate to the United States. Perhaps though, like you, she took sniper fire landing in Bosnia.
Your tightly scripted, shallow campaign style is reminiscent of Soviet era campaigns, another something from yesterday. You have avoided the press, knowing they would oblige you with sainthood anyway. Last week, doing your best impression of a commoner, you entered a Chipotle restaurant in Ohio. Staring at your phone, no doubt checking email, and wearing oversized dark sunglasses, you ordered a burrito bowl.
Frankly, Madam Yesterday, I was a bit stunned that in your campaign swing to meet ordinary Americans, you did not talk to the staff, tip them or let them take photographs. In fact, I am pretty sure they had no idea who you were. The manager of the restaurant did not even know you were there until the New York Times called and he pulled security footage. How very common of you.
Nonetheless, Politico wrote a thousand-word profile on the person who made your burrito bowl. Again, you may shun them, block them, run from them, hide from them and hire them, but the American press corp is going to be in your pocket. They have thus far given more coverage to your highly scripted AstroTurf campaign for president in one week than they have to any of the declared Republican presidential candidates.
Borrowing a reference from the past, so that you might understand it, I maintain that you will be the Jim Henson of the American political press for the next eighteen months. Your hand will be so far up their backside, you’ll be able to move their fingers across keyboards and their lips into microphones. They will write and say whatever you want.
But, Madam Yesterday, in truth there is something else you must know. It is a question that explains why your campaign is so controlled, so orchestrated and keeping actual voters as far from you as possible unless you have vetted them. It must explain why in three days after declaring his candidacy Marco Rubio did interviews with just about every major press outlet and you have failed to do a single one.
Madam Yesterday, when your husband ran for president he campaigned for a “bridge to the 21st century.” So having crossed that bridge, why oh why must we go back to yesteryears to elect yesterday’s candidate to lead us into tomorrow?