Hillary Clinton’s latest campaign video is a Mother’s Day themed affair. In it Clinton pays homage to her own mother, celebrates the birth of her granddaughter, and shifts into the issue of paid family leave. “It’s outrageous that America is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t guarantee paid leave,” Clinton says.
It’s a typical campaign video in many respects, she plays on the old cliché of politicians kissing babies. And the language is also familiar political-speak: “When women are strong, families are strong,” Clinton says in a voice over.
While some (ahem, Maureen Dowd) have criticized Clinton for using both her daughter and granddaughter to cynically “soften” her image, the campaign video is an interesting study in a relatively new type of political populism and, however faux it may be, it’s nice at least to see that reframed around issues that are deeply important to many American women.
Whether or not you love Clinton or hate her (or feel deeply ambivalent about her), her candidacy seems to be rooted in pushing so-called “women’s issues” to the forefront. And maybe I’m soft because it’s Mother’s Day and I’m typing this post with one hand and a two-year-old on my knee, but if the only way we can talk about issues like paid leave or equal pay is with familiar clichés and sappy music, then I’ll take it for now.