A funny thing is happening on the way to the restoration the Clinton White House. Discerning Democrats are discovering that Hillary, for all her bewitching feminine charm, just ain’t a patch on ol’ Bubba.
She doesn’t have Bubba’s sure-footed skill on the stump, his roguish ability to disarm critics, his manipulation of language to step out of the way of incoming bullets, bombs and nuclear missiles. He has survival skills that other politicians can only envy and that Hillary has never shown she has a gift for.
Miss Hillary sat down the other day with Diane Sawyer, ordinarily an interviewer eager to save liberals from themselves, for a send-off on her $8 million book tour. Miss Sawyer, the onetime beauty queen from Kentucky, asked a pertinent question of the sort that Miss Hillary didn’t expect from a media princess of the Sisterhood:
“Is there anything you personally should have been doing to make it safer in Benghazi?” “Well,” Miss Hillary replied, “what I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security — “
Miss Sawyer, emboldened by her impertinence, cut her off. “But, personally you — “
The onetime first lady and full-time presidential wannabe had none of the wolfish Clinton charm that Bubba would have spread on as thick as honey mustard on a roast-beef sandwich. She could offer only a hint of sarcasm, mustard with a touch of horseradish. Not as deadly as a thrown lamp, perhaps, but cheeky nonetheless.
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“Well,” she said, “that is personal, Diane. I mean, I am not — I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise.” (So take that, missy.)
Miss Sawyer applied a little unexpected horseradish of her own: “I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins, from you, ‘I should have, I should have.’”
People who expect that, as Diane Sawyer well knew, haven’t been paying attention to Hillary Clinton in either this century or the last. Hillary neither apologizes nor explains. Royalty, despite an exile to Arkansas, never learn, as most people do, to apologize or explain.
Nevertheless, this exchange tells a lot about the kind of president we could expect from Hillary. If she can’t be bothered with the details of what happened to one of her ambassadors and three of his aides, and who was responsible for leaving them twisting slowly, slowly in the smoke and wind, with help that was never summoned though only an hour away, no one would be surprised if she wouldn’t answer a ringing White House telephone at 3 o’clock in the morning. She still thinks she doesn’t have to account for her sins and shortcomings. “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Bubba could make a credible pretense of feeling the pain of everybody else, unlikely as it really was. Hillary, like her onetime boss Barack Obama, pretends to worry a lot about “income equality,” and to prove it spins a piteous story about how she and Bubba struggled in poverty, “dead broke,” in the awful years after they left the White House. “We had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off debts and get us a house and take care of family members.” (Imagine, paying taxes and mortgages and taking care of “family members.”)
Such abject poverty was enough to send Hillary back to selling Bubba’s lightly used underwear to Goodwill again. There were all those lawyers who defended ol’ Bubba against uppity and ungrateful women. They wanted to collect their fees while the getting was still good.
SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton: ‘Dead broke’ poverty drove Bill and her to lucrative speaking circuit
If you’re a Clinton, it’s not easy to play poor mouth. She has earned $5 million in speaking fees since she left the State Department, and got a further $8 million in advance for her new book. Together she and Bubba have scooped up $109 million over the past seven years. They’re entitled, but she could show a little perspective.
She didn’t have a good answer when Diane Sawyer asked whether she thinks Americans will understand why she gets “five times the median income in this country for one speech.” She was only thinking of others, of course, as a Clinton always does. “I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company, as so many people who leave public life do.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald would understand. The rich are very different from you and me. Bubba would have knocked that one out of the park.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.