Viewpoint

Hillary Clinton’s political ode to joy

Bloomberg

It’s no longer enough to be a happy warrior; now our candidates must be joyful!

Jeb Bush started the joy bender last week when he told an audience that a conservative could win the White House by “campaigning with his arms wide open, with joy in his heart, speaking about the hopes and aspirations of the people, being on the side of the people that right now don’t see their lives in the future being better than what they have today.”

Next came Hillary Clinton’s response on Saturday to a reporter’s question about whether she, too, considers herself “joyful”?

“I do,” she said. “Off we go, joyfully,” she added as she stepped away from the podium. Then, turning back to the press gaggle, she snapped her fingers and said, “Let’s get some joy going.”

This is Clinton’s renowned if scantly shared sense of humor. And truth be known, few are better with a withering quip than she. My favorite was during a 2008 appearance with then-Sen. Barack Obama. Clinton was clearly fed up with the media fawning over her opponent. With the feigned sweetness of a Southern debutante, she inquired, “Maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.” C’mon, it’s funny.

More humor is always better, I say, and Clinton may lead on this score. Think it through. Bush is a good man and probably really does feel that joy in his heart. I think it has something to do with being Catholic and the confessional.

Donald Trump is so funny, he ought to be doing standup. But his humor is mean-spirited.

The Clinton people understand the value of humor in a candidate and especially in one so scripted and studied, which is to say, not spontaneous and, therefore, not authentic. Thus, her campaign is seeking opportunities for Clinton to be funny and to reveal her more-human side.

It isn’t enough, apparently, that she’s a cooing grandmother, or a gal who chokes up when she talks to women about the travails of the trail.

Thus, as this fall season of let’s-torture-the-candidates unfolds, we’ll be hearing more laughs, more joking around when appropriate (the Clinton campaign has recognized that joking about the email server isn’t funny anymore), and, yes, more spontaneity – because spontaneity really works best when it’s planned.

I concur with those who insist that Clinton can’t do anything right no matter what. No matter how warm, friendly, loving, smart, doting or emoting she is, you can’t manufacture trust, which is what elections ultimately come down to. Not whom you’d rather take that 3 a.m. call from, but whom you trust, rephrased by one of Clinton’s people, “to address the problems that keep you up at night.”

This is the crucial question before us – and my money’s on Ambien.

Email: kathleenparker@washpost.com.

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