Friday, February 29, 2008

Exposing reality

The Hillary Clinton Myth Unravels At Last

It may be just a wee bit early to say that Hillary Clinton has blown her chance at the Democratic presidential nomination, but it’s not too late to address the exploding amazement of the political pundit class over the ineptness of her campaign. Rarely has a storyline been, in such equal parts, so dominant and fun to read.

How did the Clinton people manage to run such an embarrassingly bad campaign? Inquiring minds want to know.

But it’s really not that hard to figure out. In truth, they had nothing to work with – a problem that was only exacerbated by the fact that they were so thoroughly convinced of the opposite.

With the spectacular flop that has been her presidential campaign, the myth of Hillary Clinton at last unravels. She was none of the things that so many people seemed convinced she was. She was really not all that smart. She was certainly not all that tough. And as much as she and her true believers wanted to think otherwise, she wasn’t popular – not even among Democrats.

Think back to when Hillary first burst upon the scene. The first thing we heard about Hillary was that she wouldn’t be like other first ladies. She wouldn’t bake cookies. She wouldn’t do traditional first lady stuff like literacy campaigns. That was for weak, submissive, June Cleaver types. Hillary was too good for that.

She was a lawyer, you know! She was her own woman.

Fine, then. Way to go on becoming a lawyer. Without in any way detracting from the accomplishment of becoming a lawyer, which I probably couldn’t do, there are hundreds of thousands of them. It’s a noteworthy achievement, but let’s not get carried away with ourselves here. Just because you’re Grace van Owen and not June Cleaver doesn’t mean you’re qualified to, say, redesign the entire country’s health care system.

But try telling that to Hillary. She was as assured of her ability to do it as she was demonstrably incompetent for the task. It was as if the lawyer/first lady could only get her due by getting a shot at this and whatever other foray into public policy she wanted. To deny her a seat at the table would be to make her like – good God – Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush.

That wouldn’t do.

You could see, even then, where this was heading. Hillary couldn’t experience the fullness of her self-actualization if she had to remain Bill’s less-than-equal partner.

The Monica thing only further etched the deal in stone. For her to bail him out of that one – oh man, the price would be high. But there were lots of people willing to enable her. Charles Rangel told her she should carpetbag her way to New York and run for the Senate.

Once she got there, the jockeying began in earnest. All politicians are self-serving to a degree, but Hillary seemed determined to take it to a high art form. Nothing exemplified it better than her vote to authorize the Iraq war. Everyone understood the key to her affirmative vote. Much like cattle futures speculation, she was guessing that the nation’s pro-war mood of the time would resonate into 2008, and she didn’t think she could afford to be criticized as weak on national security.

It had nothing to do with believing in her position. No position she took ever did. It all had to do with positioning to run for president.

Hillary didn’t even see the need to hide this. It was as if she was saying, You know, it’s so important that I become president, so I put this position on my record as a hedge against the Republican attack machine. But you, my loyal supporters, know what it’s really all about.

Yeah. People knew. It was all about her. Everything was. Her entire Senate career. Her misadventures as first lady. Her decision not to kick Bill to the curb after one tryst after another. It was all about her.

There are people who scheme to protect their own political viability because they have earned the right to. Hillary was not one of these. For her, the viability was for its own sake. So was her candidacy.

What was its rationale? What has she ever accomplished? You can’t cite much in her Senate career, but even if you could, you’d have to acknowledge that she decided she should be president before she ever got there.

The spectacular failure of Hillary’s campaign is not that big a surprise. Puffed up well beyond what she deserved, protected from any serious competition or criticism, how could she possibly be expected to be prepared the first time she had to deal with the real political world?

She resorts to whining, shrill outrage and the release of unflattering pictures of Barack Obama because she has nothing else. The whole Hillary mythology was empty. She’s not smart. She’s not tough. She’s not capable. She’s not even formidable enough to make it as a second-rate county politician, let alone presidential material.

I can’t say it’s a shame. It’s pretty well what she had coming. People who run for president to affirm their own self-importance deserve to get humiliated. The nation has more important things to do than feed Hillary’s narcissism. It’s no surprise that this truth laid itself bare.

You might even say it was inevitable.

Original article posted here.

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