Devil in a Deep Blue Pantsuit
Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency is driven by a lust for power, a sense of entitlement, and enough conceit to fancy herself the best one for the job. But none of these insures her success. To drive Hillary’s engine of ambition back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will require both high maintenance and high-octane fuel.
To date, the Clinton campaign has been sputtering, even as her handlers insist it’s right on track. Just to make sure, however, they reissued a “let’s do launch” invitation from their candidate to the American electorate. Clinton showed up on Roosevelt Island, in the middle of New York City’s East River, wearing a signature blue pantsuit. She clapped, waved, grinned, and pointed in supposed recognition to the small gathering of faithful. Bill was there in a bright red polo, trying to look inconspicuously supportive. Chelsea and hubby, Marc Mezvinsky, wore shades of white. Together their little family looked essentially like the America flag.
If the choice of colors wasn’t calculated, the rhetoric certainly was. Hillary’s long-awaited debut proved unenlightening but very telling. Before then, she’d been in peripatetic listening mode, nodding her head at selective groups of those “average Americans” she hopes to lift from their misery. With her newly acquired knowledge, it was time for Hillary to lay out a campaign blueprint that highlighted her views on the most pressing issues of our time.
If you anticipated fresh insights, fugettaboutit. In their place was a predictable laundry list of hackneyed generalizations, the biggest of which is that Republican policies are bad and hers are good. No middle ground between party lines was considered. No hopeful concept of moving America forward as a united, determined people. Her message – impure and simple – was vintage Hillary, reminding us that the messenger is the same divisive figure who was dumped by worried Democrats in her last presidential run.
But this time around, Hillary isn’t sparring with another serious Democrat. She’s fighting for her political life against a slew of Republicans, and she will come out swinging. A lot of the swing will be swagger; nobody can be more shrill or more smarmy than Her Heinous. She can gleefully tar the Republican field as a bunch of choirboys singing the same off-key tune, then turn around and pretend to be unfairly bullied by the lot of them.
Nothing would make Hillary happier than to see Carly Fiorina dropped from the GOP lineup…and the sooner, the better. That would admirably serve Hillary’s a-gender, which it is predicated on a Republican war against women and the urgency of electing her the first female president of the United States. Count on her playing the grandmother card at every whistle stop.
Polls show that Hillary is not considered particularly trustworthy. But a candidate doesn’t have to be loved to be elected. All she has to do is convince enough voters to dislike – and even fear – her opponent more than they do her. To this end, she frames her arguments in “us against them” terms. This is a clever move, because it requires no plausibility and gets the most applause from a partisan crowd. I remember Madeleine Albright telling an audience of Wellesley women that they needed to “push back” against Republicans. It obviously never occurred to the former secretary of state that there might be Republicans like me in the reunion crowd. Liberals are like that. They cannot imagine anybody – especially females with a college degree – not holding to the same superior convictions. Hillary is determined to lift to the executive level the puerile charge of Nancy Pelosi that if Republicans took control of the Senate, it would be the end of civilization as we know it.
We can expect to see this “good versus evil” thread running through the entire fabric of her campaign. The choice she offers will be clear: either you rise with caring Democrats, or you suffer with selfish Republicans. A liberal acquaintance of mine confided that some of the Republican contenders “frighten” her, particularly Scott Walker. Asked why, she said that he had not gone to college. This is untrue, of course, but the main point is that liberals parade as egalitarians until snobbery suits them better. And while it may now be acceptable, for example, to perceive race in other than black and white terms, and gender as something neither male or female, such latitude is not allowed in party politics. For Democrats, the true sign of political correctness is to vote Democratic.
So once again Hillary Clinton finds herself foraging on the floor of the liberal forest primeval for the same old-growth wood by which to frame her political platform. She’ll recycle the tired bundle of charges against her opponents, such as “trickle down” economics, the war on women, class warfare, white privilege, the threat of global warming, the villainy of voter I.D., the tragedy of the minimum wage, the weakness of present gun laws, and no boots on the ground. While she is hesitant to associate herself with the policies of the Obama administration, Ms. Clinton excuses them as worthy attempts to recover from Bush’s legacy of the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. (By the way, those of us who were around in the ’30s find that comparison laughable.)
It’s commonplace for politicians to tell us what ails America. The harder part is to propose a cure that is something more than a promise, a platitude, or a pipe dream. The easiest gesture in politics is to point a finger at – or maybe even give the finger to – the other party. Hillary excels in all of the above. She is already promising to provide free college tuition to everyone in America, as if that would solve the educational crisis of K through 12.
Rahm Emanuel recognized that every crisis has the potential for political gain. He may have felt like eating those words when his Chicago mayoral re-election was in jeopardy, but his advice is not lost on Hillary. The more crises, real or imagined, the more she can cluck and harangue that something must be done and she is the woman to do it. She likes to warn that “we have come too far” to allow those nasty Republicans to turn back the clock. And as Obama did in reference to the recent tragic murder of blacks in a Charleston church, Hillary is quick to inject politics into everything. She wraps herself in a mantle of self-righteousness, admonishing that there is something “wrong” with a country when communities do not trust the cops that patrol them. On Roosevelt Island she proclaimed that there was something wrong when the leading hedge fund operators make more than all the kindergarten teachers combined.
Who knows if the stats she spouts are even true? And who in her camp even cares? Hillary knows that her base is so passionately loaded for Wall Street bear, they aren’t particularly bothered by the inherent hypocrisy of a rich woman whose wealth has been considerably enhanced by Wall Street cronyism; whose son-in-law, standing on the stage behind her, is a Wall street trader and hedge fund founder; and whose own daughter started her post-college career in the same lucrative trade. When pressed about the sizeable Clinton fortune, Hillary replied, “Bill and I feel truly blessed.”
Once a Republican standard-bearer is chosen, Hillary will likely ratchet up the fear rhetoric even further. She understands that a defeat in 2016 would spell her political doom. She would be a pariah in her own party, possibly ushering in a long Democrat power drought. Requests for her and Bill to deliver high-priced speeches would dry up as well. And the Clinton foundation would fall into deeper disarray. So what’s a woman running for president of the United States to do? Whatever it takes!