- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2014

It’s started. The Clintonizing of America has begun, or maybe it’s Clintonmageddon. This week, the nation can either revel in — or run from — Hillary Clinton, her memoir, interviews, personal tour, campaign bus, and the din of admiration from press and pundits, punctuated by a few critical yips and snarls. And maybe some baying. Meanwhile, the glittering marketing caravan has already been dubbed “Clintonpalooza” and “Clintonmania” in news accounts.

And meet the newly branded candidate: A cheerful and polished Mrs. Clinton debuts Monday via an ABC News interview which has been strategically leaked in video snippets akin to theatrical trailers. “Hard Choices,” the new memoir, will be in stores within 24 hours. The supporting monthlong, multicity promotional tour fires up Tuesday in New York and will even venture into Canada, accompanied by a shiny new campaign-style bus, this courtesy of the Ready for Hillary super PAC.

There are interviews with major broadcast and cable networks, including Fox News. Even a fictional Mrs. Clinton is drawing notice. CBS is already advertising “Madam Secretary,” a dramatic fall series starring flinty but gorgeous Tea Leoni, whose character is described as the “shrewd, determined, newly appointed Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home.”

Yeah, well. Though future Clinton Fatigue is also a possibility among weary voters, the buzz is headed for uproar. The memoir is appearing in the top 10 on multiple book sales lists. Mrs. Clinton continues to dominate favorability and presidential polls. And her coverage is going global. Even the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post asks, “Hillary Clinton embarks on book tour — or is it campaign trail?”

HILLARITY

From Cafe Press, a tiny sampling of what’s out there on bumper stickers charting Hillary Clinton and her potential quest for the White House:


SEE ALSO: LAMBRO: Hillary Clinton poses ‘hard choices’ for voters in 2016


“Madame President: Get used to it.”

“Honk if Hillary Scares You.”

“Yes she can.”

“Bill for first lady.”

THE BERGDAHL DYNAMICS

The saga of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl continues. Though the press pines for dirt on the former POW’s personal status, military officials are wisely staying out of chatty, chummy, Rose Garden-y mode.

“The Department of Defense does not comment on discussions that Sergeant Bergdahl is having with the professionals who are providing him medical and reintegration care. We will respect that process in all regards,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby on Sunday. “As we have noted, the Army will conduct a comprehensive review to learn the circumstances of Sergeant Bergdahl’s disappearance and captivity. That process, too, needs to be respected. Our focus remains on providing him with the care he needs.”

And the five Taliban fighters who were freed? “Their real value in the next 51 weeks is propaganda value,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News “This Week” on Sunday.

“We’ve made a serious, serious geopolitical mistake. We’ve empowered the Taliban. The one thing they wanted more than anything was recognition from the U.S. government, so they can use that to propagandize against areas that are unsecure still in Afghanistan. They got all of that,” Mr. Rogers observed.

DUEL OF THE DAY

“There is one guy who is kind of deserving, we ought to try to get home. And that’s the Marine who accidentally carried his guns into Mexico. So here’s what I’m thinking. Mr. President, you love to trade people. Why don’t we set up a trade? But this time, instead of five Taliban, how about five Democrats? I’m thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi. Couldn’t we send them to Mexico?”

— Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, to 7,800 delegates at the Texas Republican State Convention on Friday.

“Senator Paul’s suggestion is completely out of line. Comments like this are just the latest example of the GOP politicizing important national security matters to feed to their base. Try for a little more civility going forward.”

— A direct reply from Michael Czin, press secretary of the Democratic National Committee.

A MOMENTARY PATRIOTIC INTERLUDE

“For more than two centuries, Americans have saluted Old Glory in times of trial and triumph. Generations have looked to it as they steeled their resolve, and an unbroken chain of men and women in uniform has served under our flag. From the banks of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to European trenches and Pacific islands, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, they have risked their lives so we might live ours. When we lay our veterans to rest, many go draped with the stars and stripes upon them, and their families find solace in the folds of honor held tightly to their chest. Because of their sacrifice, our Nation is stronger, safer, and will always remain a shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.”

“With a familiar design that has evolved along with a growing Nation, our flag stitches the ideals for which America was born to the reality of our times. It reminds us that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges. As we prepare to meet the great tests of our age, let every American draw inspiration from this symbol of our past, our present, and our common dreams.”

— From President Obama’s official proclamation for National Flag Week, which began Sunday, and Flag Day, which is Saturday.

CONVENTIONAL THINKING

Now we know. The Democratic National Committee is considering Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Phoenix and New York City as potential hosts for their 2016 presidential convention. The organization wants all good Democrats to vote on the choice.

“The convention is going to be more than just where we’ll nominate the 45th President of the United States — though that’s pretty important. It’s going to be a celebration of who we are and the values we share as Democrats. And, trust me, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun,” predicts Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The Grand Old Party, meanwhile, is rolling. The Republican Party already has narrowed down its own convention choices to Denver, Dallas, Cleveland and Kansas City, and is also soliciting votes with a noteworthy designation in the pitch: “Your opinion matters as conservatives make history in 2016. Which city do you think should host the next Republican National Convention?”

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say Hillary Clinton is a strong leader; 40 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents agree.

60 percent of Americans overall say Hillary Clinton is “honest and trustworthy”; 31 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents agree.

59 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton has “new ideas for the country’s future”; 34 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree.

55 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton “understands the problems of people like you”; 27 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents agree.

55 percent of Democrats say Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats should run for president in 2016; 28 percent say she should run unopposed, 13 percent say she should not run.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted May 29 — June 1.

• Sighs and snarls to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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