Hillary Clinton Redux?
As the USS Barack Obama is running into increasingly stiff headwinds, the star of Hillary Clinton is rising higher and higher over the liberal horizon. Buyer's remorse over Obama's presidency and the prospect of ignominious defeat at the polls, with the president probably dragging underwater a slew of Democratic legislators frantically trying but failing to detach themselves from his sticky coattails, make for a powerful potion of nostalgia for the former First Lady of the United States, once a prohibitive favorite to become the second president named Clinton. The highly favorable backdrop (today, anyone would look good compared to Obama) and Hillary's sky-high approval ratings (over 60 percent, even up to 70 percent in some polls) make her the Democratic Party's Great White Hope (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Sorry, Hillary aficionados -- your hopes are an impossible dream. There is no way you can run your horse unless Obama withdraws from the race. There is good reason for that. By monopolizing the black vote, the Democratic Party has become so beholden to the African-American electorate that the tail is now wagging the dog, and no Democrat will dare run against the Hope and Change Prophet. Why risk alienating the most dependable bulwark of their party, or maybe even provoking inner city unrest? Still, hope springs eternal, and the "run, Hillary, run" thunder rolls ever more deafeningly in the liberal echo-chamber. So much so that even some in the conservative blogosphere tremble at the prospect of facing the Joan of Arc of the Democratic Party in 2012.
Suppose the Democratic grand poobahs muster enough courage to challenge Obama and run the former First Lady against him. Quite apart from the danger of offending the black electorate, the enormous difficulty of challenging a sitting president with his immense resources (ask the Kennedy clan about Uncle Ted's attempt to unhorse the hapless Jimmy Carter), and the proven viciousness of the Obama operatives, here is the big question: what will she run on? Is she any different from Obama? Not much. Like the president, she is an acolyte of Saul Alinsky, that original community organizer (she even wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on the radical guru, disagreeing with him on tactics while warmly embracing his ideology). She fully shares Obama's redistributionist views; her failed health care reform plan was a prototype of ObamaCare; throughout her lifetime, she has unswervingly hewed to the left-liberal line -- just like Obama. In a word, she is Obama's ideological Siamese twin.
She must present a plausible rationale for running against her boss. Would she try to sell herself as a patriot who has submerged her ego for the sake of the country to provide adult supervision in the romper room of infantile Marxists? Bob Gates could present himself in this light, but not Hillary, a faithful water-carrier who in every way has been playing a barely noticeable part in the administration. She is an outsider in a regime whose head honcho surrounds himself with praetorian Chicagoans and trusts nobody else. Hillary was allowed on board primarily to neuter her and for no other purpose -- other than maybe taking the fall for the Boss if push comes to shove. She has to take orders from the people truly close to Obama, like Samantha Power, who famously called Hillary a "monster" during the last presidential campaign. How can she criticize the policies she has faithfully executed? If she disagreed with them, why didn't she resign in protest? How can she attack Obama's record without looking a hypocrite? Bob Gates fought a valiant if losing battle for the interests of the Pentagon and made no secret of his disagreements with the president. Does anyone remember a single instance of dissent on the part of Hillary? Neither can I.
And what are her accomplishments as secretary of state? The only memorable episode in the foreign policy drama starring Hillary Clinton was her ridiculous, badly botched attempt at statesmanship when she presented a giant red RESET button to the Russian foreign minister. Not only was it transcribed in Latin letters rather than Cyrillic as elementary courtesy would demand, but the Russian translation was wrong: "overcharge" instead of "reset." Mr. Lavrov couldn't resist the temptation to embarrass his American counterpart, gleefully pointing out the mistake. In that sorry episode Hillary played the part of that guy from the joke: "Hey, you were hit and did not react. -- I didn't react? Who do you think fell down?" Other than that she has left no mark, faithfully executing the orders coming down from the White House and looking like an undistinguished gofer. Is she a force in her own right, the master of her domain, a John Foster Dulles or a Henry Kissinger? Not hardly, as John Wayne would say.
And then there is the issue of character. During the eight years of Bill Clinton's administration, Hillary's public standing followed what seemed to be an iron law of nature: as soon as she faded into the background, her ratings went up; no sooner would she force her way to the front than her popularity would take a dive. Small wonder, for who could help shuddering involuntarily at the aura of cold fury emanating from her; watching those pallid eyes blazing with demonic hatred; hearing those blood-curdling screeches that substituting for oratorical flourishes or the inane cackling that passed off for laughter in embarrassing situations? And how about the steady stream of "I means" and "you knows" that adorned the conversation of the smartest woman in creation? It is to her near-invisibility that she owes her current popularity. But once she steps into the glare of the limelight, all those memories will flood back.
And then there is her extensive lurid record: the Whitewater affair, the cattle-futures scam, the White House Travel Agency caper, the cover-up of her philandering husband's hyperactive "social life" by setting up and running a secret goon squad to intimidate and muzzle dozens of his paramours, the looting of the White House, the tender kiss the profoundly moved First Lady from Washington planted on the cheek of the First Lady from Ramallah after hearing Suha Arafat denounce those dastardly Jews for poisoning Palestinian wells (Hillary thereby achieved the impossible: in 2000, running for the Senate in New York, she managed to drive down the Jewish vote for a Democrat to barely above 50 percent), the innumerable little silly lies that flew out of her mouth as effortlessly as from Joe Biden's. The only miracle of her sordid public life is that she somehow managed to stay one step ahead of the law and avoid prison. Anyone else would land behind bars for a fraction of what she had done, but the ostensibly blindfolded Goddess of Justice studiously averted her gaze from the 43rd First Lady. There is no telling whose reputations were at her mercy in the mountain of FBI raw files Bill and Hillary Clinton took care to procure as soon as they ensconced themselves in the White House.
To sum up, politically, the secretary of state cannot challenge the president; she carries too much baggage, and on top of that, she fails to offer a genuine alternative to the current occupant of the White House. Why would the voter who has grown sick and tired of his old car trade it for an identical model except for the hood ornament? So how do liberals spell relief? It's anybody's guess, but it surely ain't H-I-L-L-A-R-Y.