- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Brace for impact: Here comes the Hillary Clinton presidential brand, and it’s a doozy. Her much ballyhooed new memoir “Hard Choices” — which has been available for pre-sale for almost a year — will be published in 13 days. That’s 312 hours, or 18,720 minutes from now. Simon & Schuster may not be counting the number of seconds until the stupendous moment, but the publisher might as well be.

On Tuesday, the publisher unleashed a 20-paragraph sampling from the book on a very slick website. There is an audio offering of Mrs. Clinton reading her work, plus a video. The careful timing and the showbiz that has accompanied the 656-page book are almost unprecedented, defining the dimensions of a presidential hopeful for press and public alike. The book will also be a useful marketing tool and distraction should Mrs. Clinton actually run for the White House, when the inevitable questions about Benghazi and other issues surface.


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But who is the entity — the political brand — presented here? Meet the author, looking poised and attractive and in full stateswoman mode, reminding viewers in the video that she’s visited 112 countries. She talks about her life and motivations, she appears ready for global prime time. It’s melodramatic. But it’s also a glowing portrait of Candidate Clinton for a mass audience, and one sure to irk conservatives.

On the practical side, the publisher also provides links to nine retail outlets for those who want to order the book, and requires an email address from anyone who hopes to access anything. Yes, one can ponder the excerpt via the curiously designated “HillaryClintonmemoir.com” — left over from the days when the memoir had no title, but was still on sale to the public. The tactic worked. A million copies of “Hard Choices” have already been sold.

Meanwhile, here is an excerpt of the excerpt:

“This book is about choices I made as secretary of state and those made by President Obama and other leaders around the world. … I worked to reorient American foreign policy around what I call ‘smart power.’ To succeed in the 21st century, we need to integrate the traditional tools of foreign policy — diplomacy, development assistance and military force — while also tapping the energy and ideas of the private sector and empowering citizens, especially the activists, organizers and problem-solvers we call civil society, to meet their own challenges and shape their own futures. We have to use all of America’s strengths to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, more shared responsibility and fewer conflicts, more good jobs and less poverty, more broadly based prosperity with less damage to our environment.”


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WHO’S A REPUBLICAN LEADER THIS WEEK?

Among those set to stride on stage at the Republican Leadership Conference, which begins Thursday in New Orleans: “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson; Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz; Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn; Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry; Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; Donald Trump; Allen West; Haley Barbour; Newt Gingrich; and Rick Santorum.

YOUR WEDNESDAY VIEWING

It could be a most significant commencement speech: President Obama’s appearance Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has already been heralded by several news organizations as one that will offer major insight into the president’s evolving foreign policy, particularly where the Middle East and Syria are concerned. C-SPAN will be there. See for yourself at 10 a.m. ET.

Also of note on Wednesday: The public-affairs network will also offer live coverage of Dr. Ben Carson’s appearance at the National Press Club luncheon starting at 1 p.m. Both appearances are also available on C-SPAN Radio.

THE REVISED OBAMACARE NARRATIVE

“Most conservatives regard President Obama as, above all else, a radical who seeks fundamentally to transform the United States on all fronts. But the mainstream media have never viewed him this way. What conservatives see as radically transformative, the mainstream media tend to consider the next logical step,” declares Paul Mirengoff, a contributor to the ever-incisive Powerline.com.

“Realizing early on that Obama could not plausibly be portrayed as the messianic figure of the mainstream media’s dreams, he became a cerebral pragmatist searching for the middle ground in the face of fierce and unreasonable opposition from ‘the far right.’ But then came the Obamacare rollout followed by the VA scandal,” Mr. Mirengoff notes.

The scandals have given rise to a new media narrative, one that is likely to carry the day at least until historians write the ‘second draft’ of the Obama administration’s history, he says.

“The new narrative — the first rough draft — is expressed in this column by Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times, a mainstream media mainstay. The title says it all: ‘VA scandal fits an established Obama narrative: skilled politician, lousy manager,’” Mr. Mirengoff observes.

SAVE THE PROPELLER

The SS United States Conservancy has valiantly tried to preserve the 990-foot historic vessel, dubbed “America’s Flagship.” Indeed, the SS United States remains the fastest passenger ship ever built, and the largest ever made in the U.S. It took its maiden voyage in 1952, carried celebrities, presidents and troops, and is currently docked in Philadelphia. The caregivers are determined to repurpose the famous ship as a museum or tourist destination.

Yes, the United States is bigger than the Titanic.

Up for sale to raise some quick upkeep money: one of the ship’s 18-foot diameter, four-blade, 60,000-pound propellers crafted of nickel, aluminum and bronze, the design so innovative that it was classified as “Top Secret by the U.S. government,” the group reports. If a buyer is not found in six days, the conservancy will be forced to sell it to a recycler.

“In so many ways, we’ve never been closer to realizing our vision of saving America’s flagship,” says Executive Director Susan Gibbs, whose grandfather designed the powerful, elegant ship. “However, our time grows perilously short. We agonized over this decision, but the proceeds from this sale of the propeller will buy us some crucial time to finalize promising negotiations with investors.”

Four additional propellers are currently preserved in museums and other institutions in New York and Virginia. See the ship here: SSUSC.org. Anyone interested in the propeller should contact media@SSUSC.org.

POLL DU JOUR

93 percent of Americans give the U.S. Congress a negative job performance review; 94 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 96 percent of independents agree.

95 percent of conservatives, 91 percent of liberals and 93 percent of moderates also agree.

62 percent overall give President Obama a negative job review; 91 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agree.

87 percent of conservatives, 33 percent of liberals and 60 percent of moderates also agree.

65 percent overall give Mr. Obama a negative review for his handling of the U.S. economy.

48 percent expect the economy to “remain the same;” 27 percent predict the economy will get worse. 26 percent expect it to improve.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,286 U.S. adults conducted May 14-19.

Semaphore, ahoys to jharper@washingtontimes.com.