Fourth and long: engineering Clinton's comeback.

Author:Hazlett, Thomas W.

Bill Clinton Bill Clinton should stick to his core values and use them in his reelection campaign. He should remain true to himself and his constituents and stop listening to the dictates of other people.


I know that the President has everyone and his half-brother giving him advice on how to come out of his nosedive in popularity and become the Harry Truman of 1996. He's been advised to move back to his "base," and there has been a great debate on what his "base" is. He's been told to talk less about his underwear and to be "more presidential." He's been counseled to focus on foreign affairs, that winning formula for reelection so ably exploited by Mr. Clinton's predecessor, what's-iz-name.

All nonsense. What is really needed is a radical reelection shtick, a ploy so bold and over the top that it stuns the conventional wisdom and allows Bill Clinton to belly-up to middle-class Americans on a gut level. For, despite vast rhetorical skills, the pieties the president mouths are so much Muzak to the American people - perfectly smooth and melodious when uttered in a State of the Union speech or a Larry King Live call-in, wholly forgotten by the first feminine hygiene spray commercial. Mr. President, it's time for dramatic action. Another one of your "change" speeches ain't gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent.

So here it is: Putting Reelection First: An Agenda for America.

* Tell the people you're sick of the hypocrisy in Washington and won't stand for reelection. You'll be lying, of course, but this is the way to begin to turn it around. At a dramatic White House press conference with a big picture of Abe Lincoln in back of you (he basically only served one term and had people shooting at him, pretty much like you), state that the only reason you're not resigning is that the thought of that sanctimonious prig, Al Gore, running things is too much for you to stomach. Apologize to the country for squandering the chance to help America, and for making everybody grumpy, and for getting so many of your old Arkansas friends indicted. Let out a big sigh, allow a tear to form, and comment that you feel so much better now that it will all be over soon. Soundbite payoff: You're the outsider again, going against the insiders from the inside-out.

* Dump Hillary and shack up with Madonna. This will be the first measure you've taken where people really believe your heart's in it. And since you've already admired on national television that you've caused a lot of grief in your marriage, why not be a decent American and divorce Hillary so she might get on with her life? Being tied down to a lame duck is no way for her to spend the prime of her income-earning years...

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