Hillary Clinton No Longer ‘Inevitable’
While I remain firmly in the camp that it’s almost inconceivable that Hillary Clinton won’t win the Democratic nomination, a growing number of people think they see the wheels coming off the bandwagon.
Obama supporter Mark Kleiman believes the planted question kerfuffle has “legs” and that “the moment she stops being inevitable, we have a whole new ballgame.”
Writing in Salon, feminist iconoclast Camille Paglia delivers a particularly harsh assessment of “Queen Hillary.”
Hillary’s stonewalling evasions and mercurial, soulless self-positionings have been going on since her first run for the U.S. Senate from New York, a state she had never lived in and knew virtually nothing about. The liberal Northeastern media were criminally complicit in enabling her queenlike, content-free “listening tour,” where she took no hard questions and where her staff and security people (including her government-supplied Secret Service detail) staged events stocked with vetted sympathizers, and where they ensured that no protesters would ever come within camera range.
That compulsive micromanagement, ultimately emanating from Hillary herself, has come back to haunt her in her dismaying inability to field complex unscripted questions in a public forum. The presidential sweepstakes are too harsh an arena for tenderfoot novices. Hillary’s much-vaunted “experience” has evidently not extended to the dynamic give-and-take of authentic debate. The mild challenges she has faced would be pitiful indeed by British standards, which favor a caustic style of witty put-downs that draw applause and gales of laughter in the House of Commons. Women had better toughen up if they aspire to be commander in chief.
Whether John Edwards or Barack Obama (toward whom I’m currently leaning) has conclusively demonstrated his superiority for the top of the ticket remains to be seen. They may unfortunately split the anti-Hillary vote (a majority of registered Democrats) so that she slips through. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I will certainly vote for her. But I continue to find it hard to believe that my party truly craves that long nightmare of déjÃ vu — with scandal after scandal disgorged and an endless train of abused women returning from Bill Clinton’s sordid, anti-feminist past.
Alex Knapp questioned her inevitability last night on OTB Radio, noting that recent events are highlighting her image as a robotic candidate. He believes, as do I, that in their heart of hearts most Democrats would prefer one of the other candidates to Clinton but are thus far sticking with her because they think she’s not only the inevitable nominee but will be assured of having all the resources she needs to compete in the general election.
The problem, it seems to me, is that for Clinton to lose, someone else needs to win. Obama is smart and charismatic but incredibly inexperienced on the national scene. Are Democrats really ready to turn the keys over to him? And Edwards, not particularly seasoned during his last run, seems to have actually lost gravitas since 2004. None of the second tier candidates seems to be catching fire.
So, if not Hillary, who?