The 90’s called. They want their Clinton scandals back.
There is no way those liberal die-hards who proclaimed themselves “Ready for Hillary” were ready for what took place this week. While her supporters envisioned a Hillary Clinton campaign that would remind voters of the more positive elements of the Bill Clinton presidency, her email escapades instead reminded us of the dark, seedy elements of those years: duplicity, obfuscation, entitlement, possible criminality and contempt for the law.
How ironic that Hillary cut her political teeth in the 70’s working for the House Committee on the Judiciary during Watergate. Her heavily choreographed press conference at the United Nations, meant to stop the hemorrhaging of her nascent presidential bid, was positively Nixonian. Did she learn nothing from that early career experience?
Rather than follow the PR crisis handbook and get in front of the scandal, Camp Hillary gave no response for days as the story gained legs in the media. Turning over her email server to an independent third party for examination would have defused the scandal and framed her as someone with nothing to hide. Instead, she smugly proclaimed that the server would stay private. As she bobbed and weaved through the press conference, all that was missing was a five o’clock shadow and perspiration on her forehead to make the Nixon parallel complete.
Madam Secretary’s ham-handed treatment of the scandal has caused even the most ardent Democrats to question whether a Hillary coronation is best for the party. Their concern is well-founded. It has raised questions like, why exactly is she considered such a formidable candidate? In an age when a natural, telegenic personality is almost a prerequisite for anyone with presidential aspirations, she comes off inherently phony and trying to present an image that is other than her true self. The recent Saturday Night Live take on the scandal was both funny and spot-on because it accurately captured a Hillary who is seething with ambition and desperate to portray herself as relatable to average Americans.
Her icy personality aside, the biggest asset of the Hillary campaign is the fundraising political network she inherited from her husband. This is not someone who stirs the electorate with passion and connects with them on a personal level. Rather, she is a throwback to the old school Democrat machine politician, who owes her success to high-dollar bundling and schmoozing corporate bigwigs. For all Bill’s flaws and peccadilloes, many Americans saw him as a likable schlub with whom they could enjoy beer and football. Hillary evokes images of Nurse Ratched telling Randle McMurphy that it’s medication time. If Hillary’s campaign had to produce a truthful slogan, it would be: “Same Clinton scandals, no Clinton charisma.”
Perhaps a more apt pop culture reference for Hillary is Reese Witherspoon’s Tracy Flick from the movie Election. Like Hillary, Tracy is shrewd and ambitious, and it enrages her that everyone doesn’t appreciate just how brilliant she is. That anger has led to paranoia, and paranoia has apparently led Hillary to believe that setting up her own server and communications system was perfectly appropriate and necessary, the law be damned. Now that Barack Obama’s 2008 promise to lead the most open and transparent administration ever seems like a sick joke, it’s no wonder that voters are wary of electing someone with outright contempt for anything resembling transparency.
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