Hillary Clinton can write the book on the risks and dangers to inevitable presidents. She’s been there, done that. She has her inaugural address written, revised and polished. She has stood before her mirror practicing her Churchillian thunder, updating Bubba’s laundry lists of the things that must be done. She has viewed with alarm and pointed with pride. She’s ready.
Maybe she’s ready (her bumperstickers say so), but she’s running a slight temperature again with “the inevitability disease.” The symptoms are clear. Daylight hurts her eyes, so she stays secluded in dark places, refusing to talk to strangers. When she is occasionally persuaded to say something to a harmless interviewer, she contradicts herself and forgets what she had been saying before reality so rudely interrupted her.
She misremembers 2008, when she was the inevitable president for the first time. Then a sweet-talking first-term senator from Illinois, mouthing platitudes and cliches he obviously didn’t mean, persuaded enough of the millions that he was the butter and egg man they had been looking for. He got to make the inaugural address and never had to deliver either the butter or the eggs. All Hillary got was the opportunity to be a good loser. She’s still working on it.
But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. She’s no longer flat broke, as she insisted they were when she and Bubba left the White House — the kitchen staff is still counting the silver — and she is taking the precaution of trying to erase the past. Hillary is big on symbolism and following the flag of the righteousness of the self. She joined current mob late, waiting to see how big it would become, and is eager now to free herself from the foolish ethnics who gave her welcome in Arkansas.
When Bubba ran for president she suggested that he use the Confederate battle flag, with the addition of the names of the Democratic ticket, to persuade reluctant Southerners to take them at their word. “Buy one,” Bubba said, “and get one free.” In her exploitation of the continuing riot over the battle flag, she neither explains nor apologizes for waving the bloody banner in the past she does not understand.
It’s the recent past she does not understand, either. She doesn’t understand why she should be held accountable for all the things she did wrong, some which cost others their lives. She was caught this week in an “inaccurate claim” about the House investigation of her conduct as secretary of state. The committee wanted to ask her about her private email server, and what light it might shed on Benghazi and other disasters. Then she told CNN News that she was never under a subpoena demanding her testimony under oath.
Rep. Curt Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the committee, called her on it. “The committee immediately subpoenaed [Mrs.] Clinton after learning the full extent of her unusual email arrangement with herself … The committee has issued several subpoenas but I have not sought to make them public. I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy.”
Hillary learned well from Bubba, preferring to mislead — gallantry demands that her fibs and “inaccurate claims” not be called “lies”— when an inaccurate claim is sure to be discovered a lie. The Clintons have always got away with murder.
Many Democrats think they have no choice but to stick with the second Hillary inevitability, or as one senior Democrat famously remarked: “She’s all we’ve got.”
Or is she? With Bernie Sanders having broken the ice, drawing big crowds in the early primary states, other bigger, more likely prospects are prowling through the possibilities. Joe Biden is putting together his team, to run as fulfilling a promise to his son on his death bed. Such a sentimental campaign is a natural in an age where sentiment rules and tears fuel dreams. Sentiment worked for Barack Obama. Lightning might strike twice.
It’s enough to make the little lady return to a trusted theme, posing as the faithful wife abused by the vast right-wing media conspiracy. A reporter is the last man or woman she wants to see, and she doesn’t have to answer to anybody because she’s a woman of the people. “I’m not running my campaign for the press,” she told CNN in that rare interview. “I’m running it for the voters.”
Blaming “them lyin’ newspapers” is a recurrent theme in politics, and the press deserves every shot it takes, and then some. But it’s nearly always the whine and whimper of the loser. She can’t hide under a rock forever, inevitable or not.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Times.
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Click to Read More and View Comments
Click to Hide
Please read our comment policy before commenting.