Monday, March 03, 2008


Fear is a powerful tool of persuasion, both to gain support and as a weapon against an opponent. It was tried and failed by the UK Conservatives with the 'New Labour: New Danger', but Blair was trusted by the electorate; the question in the US is how much do American voters trust Obama.

In a post 9/11 climate of uncertainty and insecurity, when Americans can see real threats to their homeland, and can recognise the need for a strong and capable President, the latest Hillary Clinton ad could be devastating. By focusing on the need for someone with experience, playing on the fear that parents (particularly mothers) fear bad things can happen to them and their children as they sleep, she is positioning herself as that person. But do Americans see her in that role. It may sow the seeds of doubt among wavering Democrats but could, if she wins, be the sort of message that will make some question who would ensure their children's safety best: a man or a woman. She claims experience by proxy but will Americans accept her claim?

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