As promised, here is one from “The Vault”. This piece was written back in 2008 as Hilary Clinton was on the verge of losing the Democratic nomination to some guy named Barry. It’s interesting to read this back, seeing as how it is heavily influenced by one of my favorite political writers- Maureen Dowd of the Times- whose stuff I was devouring back in the day.
I was visiting Chicago when I wrote this. Surrounded by peeps who jumped Hilary’s ship in mid stream when their local hero started hitting homers. I stayed the course, all the while knowing it was Hil’s best chance to win it all. I wish I hadn’t been so prescient.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
You were entitled, after all. It was yours. When the Kennedys bowed out of the royal family business, and the Bushes picked up the slack(er), you were supposed to be next. It was going to be twenty eight years of uninterrupted Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton. It would end with a lady on top. And please, watch what you insert into that sentence.
How ironic it is that Illinois (you do remember that place, right?) is biting you now. I know your Michael Myers-like thousand yard stare on 2008 couldn’t have foreseen this. Still, I bet you’re kicking yourself now for not having considered a Cubs cap and an Illinois Senate seat. You could’ve spelled those unforgiving winters by the Lake by making up with the Gores and renting out their guest room, where the thermostat is set on Miami come January. In the spring, you would have been the senior poobah and Obama would still be best known as Oprah’s most intimate relationship.
You could have spared yourself the Bataan Death March.
As much as you brave face a broken convention, you know it’s not going to end well. The League of Super Delegates will be a cranky bunch if they’re put on the spot. The Dems don’t want to be perceived as Supreme Courting the next nominee eight short years after Bush won his loss.
And not for nothing, but this wasn’t the time to be playing Michael Corleone to Mark Penn’s Tom Hagen. You had to make a break before this. You had to banish him from the family instead of continuing to allow him to break bread and knuckles at the table. I think you hesitated on a full blown divorce (again) because you were afraid of what Sunday morning was going to sound like. It’s enough to keep a girl up till three in the morning.
But here’s the thing. We’re past the point of playing scrabble with the media. Way past.
You would’ve been better off cutting the snake in half, the snake who has spread his poison into your run. Penn’s stewardship of a campaign which once looked like a surer bet than a Warren Buffett stock market tip, has been plagued with errors. Not enough Teflon or elan. Stockpiles of arrogance. Sad thing when the smart guy in the room looks inept because he was too busy checking his reflection in the mirror. Sadder thing when you have to call a press conference and call out the jaws of life simultaneously in order to extricate yourself from your chief strategist. Saddest thing is when it’s April and you’re trailing.
Penn’s nasty reputation is legendary, even for your campaign. You’re the High priestess of the coven and it should have been your nasty that counted the most. It doesn’t work so well when you have a High Priest competing with you for enmity among the staffers. There was about as much esprit de corps in your camp as there was in the New York Mets dugout last September.
Penn’s plan was to pass you off as establishment, when he should have been packaging the fact that you’re a bitch on wheels. Don’t run from the truth. Embrace it. Personally, I’ll vote for a bitch over a boob every day of the week. Barack wants to sit at the table with those Middle Eastern leaders- You want to bite their heads off. Barack votes against the war- You want to bite their heads off. Barack wants to stop the influence of special interests- You want to bite their heads off.
You’re on message, wake up! Those are points you’re throwing away!
And you’re missing the main point. A bitch means YOU’RE A WOMAN. Penn forgot that, and you bought into the amnesia. In so doing, you handed the novelty pitch to Obama and decided to run a Clinton II strategy when the angle of being the first female President was the way to go. Penn’s reign of error very well may have cost you a change of address. Not good, Queen Bee.
I get the embellishments re: snipers and insurance companies.
You’re a Clinton. It’s in your blood to mince truths and present them in your secret family casserole recipe. But your game plan is half baked here, Missy. You should have a well crafted bedtime story at the ready for every conceivable counterpoint. You should have been prepared for the Perry Mason smoking blue dress.
Sure, the talkies can drone on about how you’ll root for a McCain victory should Obama win the nomination, so you can take another shot in four years.
Are you kidding?
You know the fallacy of that news cabal logic. You’re not going to get another shot. This is your shot. The networks have to fill twenty four hours. If they happen to get five or ten minutes of it right, they’re happy. You can’t afford to be so cavalier with your time.
So my question is, why isn’t your Clinton showing?
You know, the Clinton that would have riddled Obama with innuendos and then stepped back and let him deal with the savagery. And when he stepped back, you’d be there to stop his fall . . by stabbing him in the back. The cameras would be clueless, all caught up in your disturbing little smile. And you’d be one step closer to your coronation.
You’re not Bill, I know. But I can’t help thinking this didn’t have to turn into a disadvantage. You are the principled half (I know, it’s like saying I’m the least crazy Manson, but it’s true. So use it.). You’re the adult (again, it still counts). You baked the special brownies Bill didn’t ingest. You defied while he denied. You could’ve summoned Bill when necessary and banished him to Scores the rest of the time.
Hell, what a waste; all those nights when the two of you would stay up talking, strategizing deep into the night. Bill messing with his sax in the bottom bunk and you, revising Sun Tzu in the top bunk.
Here are a couple of comebacks I was expecting from you:
Reverend Wright- Instead of “he wouldn’t be my pastor,” . . . what about “I have spoken with many people who have nothing but good things to say about Reverend Wright. I’ve been deeply involved in these communities, I know the struggles. You shouldn’t judge a man through the looking glass of one moment (wink, wink). Mr. Obama knows the man. He knows what the Reverend is about. I think we must leave this conversation to him and the Reverend Wright.”
You would’ve been invited to Mr. Obama’s church off this little bite. And that whole ‘Mr. Obama knows the man’ would’ve gestated beautifully- with Wright’s apologists and critics alike. Your wayward child detractors aside, you would’ve hit those inconvenient undecideds right in the gut. And your ‘acceptance’ of your opponent’s foibles? Mark it Rich (sorry, I couldn’t help one pardon pun). Yep. The big net is just sooooo Clinton. We are all the same. It’s just that some of us are better at being the same than others.
Bosnia- You could’ve insisted you had come under sniper fire . . . at some point during your trip to Bosnia. Play with the words, show irritation over not being believed despite the overwhelming evidence that you should not be believed. Play hurt. Implore all Americans to study up on their foreign policy. Tell them to Google Bosnia while you’re bitch slapping reporters into line. And if the American people want more, then give them your sad plight: My husband won the Presidency and all I got was a lousy trip to Bosnia!
Dammit Hil, you know this game with your eyes closed. Problem is, you’ve been playing it as if your eyes were closed. Meanwhile, Obama gets the dirty, sexy headlines. And you get closer to picking out his and hers summer retreats for you and Bubba.
Obama is dumping more money into Pennsylvania than our own Governor. He’s shaved more points off your lead here than a crooked cager with a questionable jump shot. He may not win the state, but his comebacking isn’t helping matters any. It’s just further evidence that you’ve morphed into Nolan Ryan. Without the fast ball. Or the right arm.
Fleetwood Mac called.
They want their song back.