Don't let the "Comeback Gal" spin fool you. Despite the unexpectedly
close finish in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton's campaign remains in a
tailspin. And the Clintons' pre-Granite State primary finger-pointing
has left an indelible mark. It's the media's fault. It's sexism's
fault. It's the vast right-wing conspiracy's fault.
it's all your fault that you laugh out loud when she tries to steal the
mantle of "change" from Barack Obama by surrounding herself on stage
with moldy political fogies like Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark and
Watching the Clinton "crack-up" before the
vote was less like watching glass shatter upon sudden impact and more
like watching wax melt under slow, steady heat.
It took a
lifetime of lies, deception, hypocrisy and hardball power grabs before
Hillary and Bill's political facades disintegrated. Now, finally, the
empty dummy molds underneath are bare completely.
point to Hillary's watery-eyed performance at a Portsmouth rally on
Monday as a watershed moment. Down in the polls and facing imminent
defeat, the erstwhile anti-Tammy Wynette turned on the spigot and
played damsel in distress: "It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I
didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I
have so many opportunities from this country. I just don't want to see
us fall backward, you know?"
The steely voice — infamous for
uttering profanities at staffers, state troopers and her Secret Service
detail, bellowing at the Bush administration and Rush Limbaugh, and
imitating a fiery Southern drawl — turned drippy: "You know, this is
very personal for me. It's not just political; it's not just public. I
see what's happening, and we have to reverse it." Insert heartfelt
pauses and choke-ups as directed.
So long, feminist hero.
Hello, weeping willow. Anyone who believes Hillary spontaneously teared
up and got emotional on the campaign trail has been in a coma the last
Bill Clinton's diarrhea of the mouth didn't
help. He flailed at reporters for putting his poor, poor wife at a
"breathtaking disadvantage" (never mind the countless regal magazine
covers of his wife and softball coverage over the years); lamented that
he can't turn her into something "younger, taller, male"; and whined
that "the wealthier have more right to free speech than the rest of us"
(never mind their $100 million war chest).
In an odd bit of damning with faint praise, Bill told Dartmouth
students, "I actually tried to talk Hillary into leaving me when we
were in law school, that's the God's truth. I told her, 'You have more
talent for public service than anybody in my generation that I have
met. ... I shouldn't stand in your way.' She looked at me and said,
'Oh, Bill, I'll never run for office.' " See, she has lied to him all
A few weeks after September 11, 2001, in another
moment of crisis in the Clintons' life, I noted Hillary's
flabbergasting demeanor during President Bush's address to Congress.
Americans around the country also noted her cold behavior.
Gale of Silver Spring, Md., wrote to The Washington Post: "She at times
seemed bored and uninterested, clapping perfunctorily, and at other
times she was talking during the speech. I thought her actions were
unbecoming a senator at this difficult time."
Larkin of Atlanta wrote to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "This is
behavior I would not accept from my sixth-graders listening to a
speaker, and I expected better of an adult from a state ripped apart by
terrorist violence. Hillary needs to grow up."
I noted at the time that adversity magnifies deep character flaws. That hasn't changed. And neither has Hillary.
can't fake a core. You can't fake charm. And you can't fake humility.
Mannequin Hillary tried during the ABC News debate in New Hampshire
over the weekend when questioned about her likability. "Well, that
hurts my feelings," she coyly purred in attempted mock self-effacement.
problem: The Clintons are too steeped in the politics of
self-entitlement to pull off credible self-effacement. Seated next to a
rival who has stolen her liberal thunder and who might make history as
the nation's first black president, Hillary couldn't help declaring: "I
am an agent of change, I embody change. I think having the first woman
president is a huge change."
She can't tolerate someone else out-politically-correcting her. This was supposed to be her year. Her triumph. Her her-story.
a few of those tears welling up in her eyes were real after all. Expect
more as this contested race — a race she thought would be a cakewalk —