It's getting heated among the Democrat front runners. Like squabbling siblings, Clinton and Obama were attacking each other in a live debate in South Carolina on Monday. How amateurish, the critics will cry.
Well actually, it was much more exciting than anything I've seen from McCain et al. And, crucially, Hillary actually came across well. She was cutting, dishing the dirt on Obama's past, but brushed it aside with humour: "We're just getting started", she said, which was met with laughter. Obama was too defensive and appeared uncomfortable. The former First Lady is proving increasingly more down-to-earth, human and likable. Voters are warming to her.
Hillary also stands out because of her policies. You need a leader who doesn't just talk about change, but demonstrates how they will deliver it. Obama's campaign is missing that.
Saying you want "One Nation" without demonstrating how you will do it reduces a campaign to the promotion of a new lifestyle choice, which appeals only to affluent, metropolitan voters: "Yes", they think, "We should care more about the poor. That's my New Years Resolution alongside being a vegetarian". A caring attitude towards the more vulnerable in society is admirable and should be encouraged. But mere slogans don't really sell for the working-classes: they want to know what you will do to make "One Nation" happen, what measures you will take to increase the chances of their children getting a college education and protecting their communities from crime.
Hillary does explain how she will establish her vision. That is arguably why she is doing better among blue-collar workers with lower incomes while Obama fairs well with young, wealthy liberals who are not so dependent on public services.
Vision needs policy. Hillary gets that.
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