Recall if you will those unforgettable royal figures from yesteryear with their peculiar cognomens. Some of my favorites are Ethelred the Unready, a famously tardy English king from the Middle Ages. Or how about Charles the Bald, the Holy Roman emperor whose glabrous head was widely remarked in his time and still is to this very day? And who can forget Pepin the Short? Even standing on his tiptoes he was the diminutive king of the Franks.
Now early in the 21st century we have another epic curiosity, Hillary the Inevitable. She was first dubbed “the Inevitable” in 2008 before she lost the Democratic nomination to a junior U.S. senator from Illinois. She returned in 2015 and was again dubbed “the Inevitable,” at least until the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses and then her New Hampshire disaster. Now she is not being viewed as all that inevitable. Oh sure, she is still known as Hillary the Inevitable by James Carville and by Paul (the Skull) Begala, and forget not the guy down at the end of the bar at closing time. He, too, is full of hope. Yet, as for others, they have their doubts.
For instance, there is The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, who this week accused Hillary of having “killed feminism.” Said la Dowd: “The Clinton campaign is shell-shocked over the wholesale rejection of Hillary by young women .” Without those young women Hillary’s “coronation” is apparently far from inevitable.
Actually, I think there are other, more menacing omens out there. Truth be known, Hillary has more skeletons in her closet than a body snatcher. Going back to the 1970s, hardly a year has gone by without her being entoiled in yet another scandal. The Democrats are almost as impervious to reality checks as the Clintons, but now a growing number of Democrats, at least at the top of the party, fear defeat in 2016. They saw how rudely the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire electorate treated her. In New Hampshire, where in 2008 the Democratic stalwarts stood by her, this month they turned against her by 22 percentage points. Things are not looking up for the weeks ahead.
For one thing, there is her personal server. It continues as the mother lode of embarrassing emails. At first it was just her emails with Sidney Blumenthal, the fellow she had promised her boss, President Obama, to steer clear of. Now, however, there are hundreds of emails revealing her and her aides as mishandling intelligence documents like amateurs and commingling State Department work with her foundation work like crooks. There is an active FBI investigation pursuing these and other matters.
As I understand it, if the FBI recommends the indictment of Hillary and of her aides and those indictments are not acted upon by the Department of Justice, FBI Director James Comey and others in the intelligence community will mutiny. It will be worse than Watergate. If Hillary were to get away with her flagrant mishandling of intelligence documents, our intelligence community’s control of confidential documents would be forever imperiled. This prosecution goes beyond Hillary.
So Hillary’s prospects as a presidential candidate do not look auspicious. There is the FBI’s investigation. There are the young feminists who apparently favor that wild and zany guy, Bernie. And there is Hillary’s recent run-in with Donald Trump. If he is the Republican nominee, Hillary’s candidacy is beyond hopeless. She has already lost in a sneak preview of Trump versus Clinton.
In that preview, played out at the end of December and in early January, she and her husband were rendered speechless. Bill Clinton in particular was solidly whipped by the New York billionaire and neophyte politician. He will not be eager to cross swords with the real estate mogul again.
In answer to Hillary’s charge that Mr. Trump had “demonstrated a penchant for sexism,” Mr. Trump roared back that Bill had a “terrible record of women abuse” and that Hillary had a record as his enabler. Neither Bill nor Hillary has been heard from since in response to Mr. Trump. It is curious how few commentators have drawn attention to the confrontation. I am sure Mr. Trump has drawn the proper conclusion, and Hillary’s fumbling of the sex card is only one arrow Mr. Trump holds in his quiver.
The 2016 race has just begun, but it seems to me that the Democrats had better field a more competitive candidate than Hillary. Do I hear anyone mentioning Vice President Joe Biden?
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor-in-chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.