Of course, this is not unique to Obama. On the
Republican side, no one can deny John McCain’s heroic perseverance at
the hands of his captors at the Hanoi Hilton. McCain has a great line:
When asked why he could not join the likes of the Clintons and their
comrades at Woodstock, he explained he was “tied up at the time.”
Indeed, he was—a fact that impresses voters.
Many successful politicians have stories like
these. George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole had extraordinary World War II
experiences. Even Hillary Clinton’s husband, like Obama, has a
rags-to-riches tale of a boy and his mom surviving together, with the
youngster ultimately ascending to unthinkable political heights.
Consider Bill’s story:
One summer night in 1946, a 27-year-old
traveling salesman named Billie Blythe was driving his Buick along
Highway 60 outside of Sikeston, Missouri, heading back to Hope,
Arkansas from Chicago. As his pregnant wife awaited him, Billie lost
control and crashed headfirst into a drainage ditch, where he was
knocked unconscious. Other drivers saw the accident and searched for
the body but could not find it in the dark of night. He drowned in a
few inches of water. The child Billie left behind would become a
president, but not before little Bill survived not only the death of
the father he never met but his unstable mother’s soap-opera series of
nutty marriages, including to an alcoholic who beat her, Bill, and his
brother. No matter how much you disliked Bill Clinton, you could not
help but be moved by that story.
Yet, what applies to Bill does not apply to
Hillary. In Hillary’s case, the inspiring story is found in her
parents: Her father Hugh Rodham was a rock-ribbed Republican born and
bred in the mines of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He played tough enough
football and earned just enough money to get a degree from Penn State
during the Great Depression, after which he hopped box cars all the way
to Chicago, started his own business, and built himself and his bride a
home that he paid for in cash. Hugh Rodham was a self-made man, whose
family would never be in want. His young wife, Dorothy, had an even
more difficult path, raised by a selfish, basket-case of a woman who
was unfit to be a mother. Dorothy, too, endured. The two parents taught
their kids to look to God, not to government for a handout; Uncle Sam
should never be a nanny.
Hugh and Dorothy Rodham had experiences most
Americans admire. To the contrary, what much of America perceives from
Hillary’s youth was a nice little girl, a Goldwater Republican and
self-described “straight-laced Methodist”—truly Hugh Rodham’s
daughter—who headed off to Wellesley with Hugh’s hard-earned savings
and became a radical, a rich liberal who in four years had figured out
how to redistribute wealth to the masses and usher in La Revolucion.
It was fitting that Ms. Rodham’s final moment at Wellesley was an
outrageous public reprimand of Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-MA) from the
class of ’69 commencement platform. Brooke was the first
African-American elected to the Senate since Reconstruction—later
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But the young feminist did
not approve of his remarks, and proceeded to candidly explain why, to
the horror of parents and delight of her stomping sisters.
From there, a fist-in-the-air Hillary went on
to defend the Black Panthers in the Yale Law class of Professor Thomas
“Tommie the Commie” Emerson; became an acolyte of veteran radical Saul
Alinsky; worked for the infamous Marxists Robert Treuhaft and Decca
Mitford in Oakland, California; embraced Roe v. Wade as a kind of political sacrament; and ended up the angriest member of the staff committee looking to impeach Richard Nixon.
Not only is there nothing there to inspire
Middle America, but many of those knowledgeable of Hillary’s background
are resentful of how she spurned the values of her parents. There are a
lot of traditionally minded Americans who harbor bitterness at the
secular universities that gobbled up their savings and indoctrinated
their children. They feel for Hugh, not Hillary.
Hillary’s inability to inspire has crept to the
surface and widened with the emergence of Barack Obama. Each time Obama
recalls his struggles he pounds the wedge further into the crack. As he
does, Hillary’s campaign crumbles before our eyes.
Alas, this is not to deny Hillary Clinton’s
achievements. No American woman has gone this far in politics. She has
blazed the trail. But she is being overtaken by a challenger whose
decisive advantage is that crucial ability to inspire.