The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Over the Hill
This --as any Steyn piece--must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated.
Hillary is what the Clintons look like with their pants up. Their much-vaunted political savvy turns out to be a big nothing: The supposed masters of "the politics of personal destruction" can't turn up anything better on Obama than some ancient essay from his Jakarta grade school, plus a few limp charges of plagiarism. And instead of getting the surrogates to crowbar the enemy every time Hillary opens up on him she looks mean and petty, and he gets to do his high-minded Obamessiah routine.
Their star quality was also, as noted above, mostly a giant bluff. In his heyday, Bill could channel his narcissism into a famously sure "common touch" – he liked to bask in proof of his awesome empathetic powers. But, in the years since he left the Oval Office, he's played too many gazillion-dollar-a-plate jet-set dinners in France and Switzerland, and the "common touch" has curdled. That was plain even by the 2002 midterms, when you could more or less correlate Democratic losses by his travel schedule. He's a bust on the stump.
And, worst of all for Bill and Hill, the Dems found a new star – their first in 16 years. Look at it from Hillary's point of view: She'd expected to run against the likes of Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd – the usual mediocrities and misfits. Then Barack Obama came along, and did what the Clintons did in 1992 – saw his opportunity and seized it. All of a sudden, she's the Bill Richardson – worthy but dull, earthbound and joyless, lead weights round her ankles.
She has a melancholy dignity in decline. She knows she would make the better president, but every time she tries to explain why it sounds prosaic and unromantic. Bill gave the party an appetite for slick lounge acts, and this time round Barack's the guy delivering it in buckets of gaseous uplift. Can Barbra Streisand and the Supergays get Hillary airborne again? I doubt it. Go back to that Staples Center entrance in 2000, and try to imagine Hill walking that walk. How far would she get before the applause died away and she'd be padding that endless corridor to no audible accompaniment but the clack of her heels?