December 3, 2007
Will Hillary's Sweet Nothings Persuade America?By Kyle-Anne Shiver
Every American could say a host of unflattering things about Bill Clinton, but one thing they could never, ever say would be that he was afraid to speak his mind in an off-the-cuff manner, to any and all who cared to give him the time of day. One might conclude that he was a born attention hound. But more likely, Bill Clinton understood that if he wanted to hold the Highest Office in the Land, he would have to communicate with the voters, especially through the voice of the "free" press. Not so, it seems, with his other half.
Hillary Clinton appears to be either scared to death of the voters and the people's press, disturbingly paranoid about the media's intentions, or haughty enough to believe that the Presidency is more of an entitlement, that is rightfully hers, than a prestigious and powerful job, for which she is interviewing at this moment in history.
Hillary Clinton seems to be running for President, amidst an electorate content with her Sweet Nothings of scripted run-arounds, the kind whispered in the ears of prospective lovers, with only one thing in mind. Seeking the prize without honestly and openly stating one's intentions, or answering valid questions, has a bad reputation among lovers. It stinks even worse in a Presidential candidate.
The lack of press access to Queen Hillary has become so pervasive, that talk of it is becoming a media cottage industry of its own. ABC News' Rick Klein summed it up thusly:
And despite the "It's-Oh-So-Presidential" fawning over Hillary's day-long-prepared statements at the happy conclusion of last week's campaign-office hostage taking incident, this does not equate to an ask-me-anything-the-voters-want-to-know open press conference. Enough said on that note.
After sifting through the already accumulated reams of stories about Hillary's shunning the people charged with reporting to us humble voters, a very disturbing pattern does emerge.
As reported by Politico's Ben Smith, among others, Hillary successfully killed a GQ story this past summer about, of all things, cat fighting in Hillaryland, by threatening the magazine with pulling a long-planned Bill Clinton cover story. In October, New Hampshire Public Radio's Josh Rogers reported that "non-negotiated access to Hillary Clinton is virtually nonexistent." Also in October, Hillary's New Hampshire Press secretary, Kathleen Strand, attempting to mollify this no-access chagrin, stated, "Well, reporters who have questions certainly file a request through the office." So there! Queen Hillary has spoken!
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz spent a whole column this week outlining the myriad frustrations of ABC correspondent Kate Snow on the Clinton trail. I'm not prone to have a lot of sympathy for any woman who whines about running through the rain in her high-heel boots, trying to catch up with a candidate; she needs to change her shoes. But Kurtz does manage a nice metaphor for Hillary's press access, or rather the lack thereof:
Perhaps Hillary believes that if she erects the glass wall between herself and voters, it will provide a protected opportunity for scaling up and through that glass ceiling about which she's always clamoring. But glass walls tend to give the impression that the person building them doesn't want others to hear something, while hiding in plain sight. Her message seems to be, "I'll let you see me, but not know me."
As the Associated Press confirmed just last week, not only will Mrs. Clinton's papers as First Lady (U.S.) remain under lock and key until after the 2008 election, but so will her papers as First Lady of Arkansas. There are two worrisome ways to interpret this. Seen in the first light, the papers won't be released because there is too much damning evidence in them. Seen in the other light, she is too incompetent to light a good fire under the archives folks and speed up the process. In either light, this little "oversight" looks downright un-Presidential.
From failing to release substantially relevant documents, to planting questions for her own scripted answers, to allegedly planting questioners in Republican debates, to dodging reporters' questions, to using access as a weapon, Hillary Clinton is starting to more closely resemble a Queen than an American candidate for the Highest Office in the Land.
And lest anyone forget, when Hillary became First Lady in 1993, one of her very first acts was to order an end to the customary and routine access to the West Wing that reporters had held for decades. She tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to have the reporters banished to the Old Executive Office Building, out of the White House altogether.
If she manages to scale that glass wall she is so busily building between herself and us, and pops through that glass ceiling as she imagines in her dreams, expect Hillary to become only more like a Queen, not less. Power does that to those who crave it so deeply.
Marie Let-Them-Eat-Cake* Antoinette set a standard for queenly arrogance that ended in the forceful loss of her head by that unique French invention, the guillotine. But that was an altogether different time and place. Here in America, in 2008, we may well see Hillary Clinton raise the bar for queenly arrogance, as her own slogan seems to be, "Don't worry your pretty, little, empty heads about the details, dahlings. Mommy will take care of everything."
Sweet Nothings indeed; I'd rather eat centuries-old cake.
*Marie Antoinette may never have actually said this. But the myth lives on.
Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.