Friday, December 11, 2015

The Love and Kindness Agenda

In what started out as an off the cuff remark to a voter at a town hall meeting in Iowa, has now become a standard feature of her stump speech. Hillary Clinton is apparently running on a love and kindness agenda. Perhaps as a counter to the bombast of Republican candidates, especially Donald Trump, Clinton is now suggesting that the only way to defeat ISIS is with generously applied love and kindness. 

"We Americans have got to fight the rise of hate around the world and here at home with more love and kindness," the candidate said softly at a recent campaign event. When later pressed for details by reporters, Clinton was true to her Progressive roots and Democrat Party tradition.

"Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will submit legislation to Congress to create a new cabinet-level agency, the Federal Bureau of Love and Kindness, to oversee this broad and bold new government initiative of spreading love and kindness to every community in America. I will assemble the brightest and best people in the love and kindness world from both inside and outside of government, creating a task force with sweeping powers to get this thing done. No more excuses! If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can efficiently administer the manufacture and distribution of a little love and kindness!"

Her new campaign theme came under immediate withering fire from Republicans, who accused her of "staggering naïveté." Donald Trump released a statement on Twitter...

"Hillary Clinton preaching about love and kindness is like me preaching about humility! This woman would be a really bad President. I will destroy her...and her ankles are fat."

Still, even some Democrats have raised questions about how precisely a love and kindness strategy will actually work against terrorist who generally bring much more tangible weapons to the fight. Taking cues from another hugely successful effort, Clinton campaign aides spoke of the possibility of posting large signs out front of office buildings, libraries, shopping malls, etc., declaring them hate-free zones.

"I've already begun the vetting process for several possible candidates for the position of Love Czar. After all, to run our new Federal Bureau of Love and Kindness, we will need the right leadership," Clinton explained when asked for more details. Rumors have recently swirled around two candidates purported to be on the short list, Oprah Winfrey and The Barefoot Contessa.

Of course, Clinton expects an uphill battle in Congress to any proposal which might be perceived as expanding government. Questions will be raised as to whether such a huge new federal agency, F.L.A.K., is even needed when in the past things like love and kindness have been handled at the State and local level. However she has signaled that she is willing to work out compromises with various constituencies within her own party as well as Republicans. For example, she recently floated the idea of a carve-out for members of unions, a group known for their hostility towards previous efforts on the love and kindness front. In addition, small business owners might also be considered for some sort of waiver, since they are already burdened with mountains of paperwork for other Federal mandates, and through a spokesman have made it clear that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to gin up anything approaching kindness, much less love.

It remains to be seen whether or not this new agenda will catch on as a campaign theme for the struggling Clinton candidacy. Noted Beltway pundit Chris Matthews has his doubts,  "It may end up being something she uses to simply win the nomination, then she will be forced to shift back to more traditional tactics like hate, spite, and demogoguery for the general election."