Well, we’ve been watching the roll-out of Hillary Clinton’s latest Coy Presidential Campaign that Pretends Not to Be, and if Bertie Wooster were assessing it, he’d likely say that so far “it’s come up a smeller.” Despite President Obama’s assertion that at some point (around half a million bucks a year or so) one has earned enough money, many of Hillary’s verbal gaffes have centered around her apparent belief that she still needs to scrape and save and make do, or something. I have read, here and there, that Mrs. Clinton is only saying stupid, impolitic things right now because she is “rusty” from having been so long off the campaign trail.
My question: when did she ever not say stupid, impolitic things while campaigning? Forget that she exposed her disrespect for women who choose the home-maker’s path back when she said she hadn’t “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas. . . I’m not sitting here like some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette.” Forget the fact that she has happily benefited from both the successes and the sins of her husband. Just ask yourself this: when she has not been on-script, and carefully managed, has Hillary Clinton ever said something great, and inspiring, or even just memorable — not for being paranoid (“there is a vast right-wing conspiracy!”) or half-hysterical (“what difference does it make?”) or shrilly over-dramatic — but for being genuinely moved by the nation she wants to lead? When she cried in ’08, in New Hampshire? Please…I predicted she’d do that in this very blog, five days before it happened.
Hillary is not saying stupid things because she is “rusty.” She’s saying them because she says stupid, empty things all the time. As politicians go, she is awkward, clumsy, and tone-deaf. There is a reason why, when she ran for the Senate in 2000, it began with a “listening tour” through New York, where she would say little-to-nothing on the record, all while “listening” to the folks upstate, who never did see the 200,000 jobs she promised.
So, yesterday, a passenger plane was shot out of the sky and there are reports that perhaps 23 or 26 Americans were on board, or maybe no Americans were, because the State Department Hillary ran for four years, touting “smart” diplomacy, can’t put a finger on that. Whether it needs Americans to be aboard for the shooting (or threats of same) to be an outrage really shouldn’t matter, but so far our leadership — which formerly liked to jive on about global communities and being “citizens of the world” — is continuing their isolationist trend; the president did his best to push the matter away like a rancid steak, and former Sec State Hillary promptly called it a European problem.
Now, here is where it gets interesting, at least to my way of thinking. The downing of a passenger jet perhaps involving American deaths, is something for Europe to deal with, says Hillary. But then — talking to John Stewart just hours later, and asked frankly about what America’s foreign policy actually is, anymore — she had this to say:
What I found when I became secretary of state is that so many people in the world—especially young people—they had no memory of the United States liberating Europe and Asia, beating the Nazis, fighting the Cold War and winning, that was just ancient history. They didn’t know the sacrifices that we had made and the values that motivated us to do it. We have not been telling our story very well. We do have a great story. We are not perfect by any means, but we have a great story about human freedom, human rights, human opportunity, and let’s get back to telling it, to ourselves first and foremost, and believing it about ourselves and then taking that around the world. That’s what we should be standing for.
So, Hillary’s disingenuous, empty, intelligence-insulting, emotion-tweeking answer is that our foreign policy is…to tell the world our story! Tell the world that America used to look outside its borders and see injustice and address it; see the suppressed and help to free them; see the war-vanquished, now cold and hungry, and risk the lives of its own victorious military to bring food and consolation; see a need for a continued American presence and plant our people in their midst. Our foreign policy, Hillary claims, is to say, “we used to be great, and we used to give a crap about the rest of the world. And when a commercial airliner is blown to bits over not-American skies, well, that’s a tragedy, isn’t it? Europe sure has something to deal with, over there.”
Our politics have become so strange that I wouldn’t for anything predict what the 2016 election has in store for us, but I will go out a little ways on one limb. Having predicted Hillary’s New Hampshire tears, let me make another prediction: Hillary will not be the Dem nominee. She’s done, she just doesn’t realize it, yet. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King said that a lie can’t live forever, and the authentic mediocrity that is The Rodham — advocate for women and children and the most brilliant woman on the planet, circa 1990-2012 — will no longer be hidden by a press that has become bored with her.
I expect Elizabeth Warren will be the nominee, if she can avoid exposing her own mediocrity beyond what the press can spin and excuse. She’s become more confident, and has learned to suppress the expression of perpetual befuddlement which she wore early on. Warren is the new “pol to protect at all costs” for the mainstream media, so she will get all of the protections Hillary used to enjoy, and a dollop of the “most brilliant person” narrative that is routinely bestowed upon Democrat candidates (I can’t recall one in my lifetime who wasn’t uncannily “brilliant and nuanced” including John Kerry, who clearly is neither, and who got worse grades that even Dubya while at Yale).
But as to who she will face from the GOP? No clue. It won’t matter. That person will instantly become “stupid, out of touch, malapropish, insensitive, probably racist, definitely a Captain in the War on Women…”
It’s all so illusory and predictable that it’s not even interesting anymore.
What is interesting is Peggy Noonan’s latest column, which never mentions Hillary Clinton by name, and yet deals her a “bang, zoom” worthy of Ralph Kramden. She talks about Harry Truman, and the humility of his post-presidency — he really did leave the White House “dead broke” — and she writes:
We live in a time when politicians relentlessly enrich themselves. We are awed and horrified by the wealth they accumulate, by their use of connections, of money lines built on past and future power. It’s an operation to them. They are worth hundreds of millions. They have houses so fancy the houses have names. They make speeches to banks and universities for a quarter-million dollars and call their fees contributions to their foundations. They are their foundations.
They grab and grub. They never leave. They never go home. They don’t have a “home”: They were born in a place, found a launching pad, and shot themselves into glamour and wealth. They are operators—entitled, assuming. They “stand for the people.” They stand for themselves.
It’s time for Hillary to go home; she is done. She is past her sell-by date and stale, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to realize it says a great deal both about her political instincts, which have always been terrible and nothing like her husband’s, and her detachment from the public mood. She has made a lot more money than Obama once implied was “enough.” Let her enjoy it, or better yet, let her give a good portion of it away, which always feels really good, and can give real assistance to the people for whom she has advocated.
And life is short; at what point does the quest for power get put aside for a bit of rest, and simple human pleasures before death rolls in, as it does for us all? Perhaps Hillary needs to finally get off the planes and put down some roots and take the time to do with her grandchild the things she was too busy to do with her child — plant and harvest a garden, give time to the small, still voice. Perhaps she can finally bake some cookies and make some tea, and share it with a toddler and a teddy bear. A party of her own devising.
I still really like this photo of her.