Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton's hard A

    When Hillary Clinton was running for Senator in NY, she asked me for some advice, and I freely gave it. Asked what I thought of her potential run, I told her, not much. While I had great respect for her bona fides and her ability, what did she know about upstate NY? I said, let me put it this way, Mrs. Clinton, when you can tell me the difference between Oswego, Owego, Otsego and Otego, then she might be ready. Six months later, I saw her after her statewide listening tour, in Watertown, and she motioned to me to come over, and said to me " Oswego is in Oswego County. Owego is in Tioga County, Otsego is in Otsego County, and Otego is in Otsego County as well". " You go, Mrs. Clinton!". I said, and as they say, the rest is history. I became a great fan of hers. I still am. 

 I continue to wish her well, but I have a new message for her. 

Message to Hillary Clinton: drop the hard A . 

During the Clinton years, we all learned what the difference between "is", is, or was, and now, we are learning from
another Clinton what "A" , pronounced as a very hard ""A ( as in " ay", which rhymes with hay, ) victory means, and therein lies the problem.  When you are running for President, or any office for that matter, how you say things, tone, accent, inflection, is often as important was what you say. Hillary has a problem. She uses a hard A too often when a soft A would be better.  It undermines her credibility and believability, and that is a big part of her problem. With all the advisers and political pros she has on her side, I am surprised that no one seems to have told her what. she needs to know. 
     Accents, colloquialisms ,  and regional nuances of speech have historically played a very important part in shaping a politician's success. Take JFK for example. His "pahk your cah in the yahd " accent seemed to elevate his electability , and ability to endear himself to the American people. Somehow.for some unknown reason,  Boston accents are often just adorable. If you don't believe me, consider the success of the car talk guys on NPR. ( The "tap fort" brothers . People just love the way they sound, and how they laugh, in addition to the comedic things they say. 
     People do not much like the way Hillary sounds at times, because with her overuse of the hard A, she seems disingenuine.. It is a school Marmish way of condescendingly talking to the pupils that tends to upend her. She needs to change the way she speaks, and pronto. 
     Bernie Sander's Brooklyn accent, which is off putting to some heartland voters, has actually worked in his favor by building his believability quotient. When he says " Enough already!" , people get it. They hear and believe him in a deep seated kind of way. He is , above all else, believable. If what you say doesn't ring true, doesn't sound true, it will not be perceived as truth. You have to own what you say for people to believe in you, and Hillary just doesn't sound like she owns what she says, much of the time, and that hard A is a big part of the problem. 
     She became a great student of everything Upstate, and she won. She can fix this problem too. But first, she, and her staff have to recognize the nature of the problem, before they can fix it. Hello Houston. Hello Hillary. We've got a problem. Let's fix it.