THE BLOG
08/31/2015 05:47 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2016

Hillary: Please Do Not Try To Out-Trump Trump

Jeff Swensen via Getty Images

"Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States." Hillary Clinton

"I find it the height of irony that a party that espouses small government would want to unleash a massive law enforcement effort, including perhaps National Guard and others, to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up, put them, I don't know, in buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border." Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's coronation seems inevitable! However, along the long campaign trail, she is best served by leaving the hyperbole to the Republicans. After all, their party excels at it, wallows in it and is just as easily summarily dismissed for it. As an example, Governor Chris Christie recently stated that we should track undocumented immigrants like we do Fedex packages. Does he want to stamp bar codes across their heads or just what is he intending? Donald Trump's middle name is, of course, "exaggeration," or perhaps, more frighteningly, he really believes what he says. He invents "facts" on the fly like when he claimed on the Bill O'Reilly show that there are "many lawyers" who agree that the 14th amendment, which guarantees American citizenship to those born in this country, is unconstitutional. Such positions caricature themselves!

So when Hillary compares the Republicans to "terrorists" and suggests they will round up undocumented immigrants and put them in "box cars," evoking memories of the Holocaust, she changes the focus from the absurdity of their positions to scrutiny of herself. Republicans are able then to demand an apology and she is caught in a tangled web of explaining and defending herself.

According to the old political maxim: "when you are explaining you are losing." Surely, she is well coached in diplomatic language as a former Secretary of State, so she should be adept at countering her opponents's punches without anger and vitriol. So too Obama had to show passion without seeming angry in the last two election cycles as to avoid being labelled as "militant," and he showed remarkable grace throughout. As the saying goes: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Translation: Do not try to out-Trump the bombast of Trump.

Accordingly, Ms. Clinton has universal name recognition and, at the same time, very high negatives among the general population. "Overall, Clinton's favorability ratings slipped to 39 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll -- her lowest rating since Quinnipiac began polling on Clinton after she and her husband left the White House." As stated in Politico: "Perceptions of such a well-known figure can be deeply ingrained." Very likely, the use of such inflammatory rhetoric will only drive her favorability ratings downward!

She has other, more pressing concerns than her use of polarizing language, of course. The email server "scandal" has nagged at Ms. Clinton's campaign for months and aroused fears in some she may not be as electable as once thought. This issue has replaced Benghazi as the latest bogeyman in the minds of the right and, like Benghazi, surely will not go away unless another highly partisan non-issue comes along. After all, even when a Republican-controlled House committee found no White House wrongdoing in Benghazi the issue was still prominent on Fox News and in the right-wing press until it was discarded for the present server controversy. Likely, this issue will follow the same pattern with the drip, drip, drip of newly-released information only serving to continually put Ms. Clinton on the defensive and perhaps damaging her campaign, just as the Whitewater investigation formerly dogged her and her husband decades ago.

Fortunately, this election will be a choice between two extremes. The Republicans seem determined to elect an outsider, a non-career politician. Since the entry into the race and emergence of Donald Trump as the front runner, the GOP candidates have tried to outdo one other by getting farther and farther to the right on immigration.

In the process, they have alienated the Hispanic population with the repeated use of the pejorative "anchor babies" and the talk of repealing the 14th amendment, which guarantees birth-right citizenship.

Women, who comprise the majority of the electorate, are alarmed at many of the Republican candidate's extreme positions on abortion and the talk of de-funding Planned Parenthood, which primarily serves low-income woman.

In this context, Hillary should be able to easily define herself as the sane, moderate alternative relative to the intolerance of the right. In the process, she must not become like The Portrait of Dorian Gray with herself coming to resemble Republicans too closely. There is simply too much to lose!