Sen. Hillary Clinton, with her usual shameless bravado, is currently repackaging herself as Winston Churchill in a campaign where she has already tried on more identities than a psychiatric patient suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. But her ravenous hunger for supreme power suggests another role model entirely: India’s late prime minister, Indira Gandhi.
Hillary‘s relentless quest for the Democratic presidential nomination has turned the ancient Hindu practice of suttee — the ritual burning of widows — on its head. Instead of meekly consenting to become a widow burning on a funeral pyre with her dead husband, she is burning to ashes her still-alive husband’s political legacy and the recovery hopes of their political party.
If there was one thing Bill Clinton was good at it, it was the obsessive raising of enormous sums of money far beyond anything any previous Democratic president or presidential candidate had ever dreamed of. Yet Hillary has now managed to turn this too into another of her hapless failures. News reports Monday documented her inability to pay even the ongoing operating bills of her campaign. Far from maintaining her husband’s expertise at least in this area, Hillary has instead revived the classic Democrat tradition of the deadbeat who can’t even pay her own bills. Her campaign has become a black hole, sucking everything in and giving nothing back.
Only the lust for power remains. And in this she is following in the pioneering footsteps of Indira Gandhi (another economic illiterate) who took her divine right to rule — as a ferociously anti-American leftist who loathed the United States but loved the Soviet Union and Yasser Arafat — from being the daughter of the Republic of India’s first prime minister Jawarhalal Nehru.
Indira, like Hillary, was a formidably feminist, “progressive” and power hungry lady who knew what she wanted — everything — and would not let anyone or anything, including the much cherished Constitution of her country — slow down her determination to grab it. Just as Hillary is making a funeral pyre of the Democratic Party and, without any doubt, would act in the same way towards the Constitution of the United States as soon as it got in her way, so did Indira shamelessly try and suspend the most venerable, cherished and successful democratic constitution Asia has ever seen.
The Indian people would not stand for it. Widespread popular revulsion at Mrs. Gandhi’s usurpation of emergency powers forced her to call an election in 1977 in which, to her own astonishment, she was unceremoniously booted out of office. When she won legitimate re-election a few years later, she still had not gotten the lessen but used the Indian Army to crush a Sikh separatist take over of the most sacred Sikh holy site in Amritsar. Arrogant and stupid enough to believe that her Sikh bodyguards still revered her after she had made a shooting range and morgue of their holiest site, she died with astonishment when a couple of those same guards gunned her down in her own garden in 1984.
Democracy in India proved a lot more vigorous than Indira Gandhi (no relation of the Mahatma) either expected or wanted, and no doubt American democracy will similarly survive Hillary‘s self inflicted melodramas. But they aren’t over yet.
The Junior Senator from New York is now demanding that the childish mess the Dems have made of choosing their own convention delegates in Michigan and Florida must not be resolved until the Democratic National Convention. If that doesn’t incinerate the Dems’ chances of reassuring the American people that the country will be safe back in their hands, then nothing will. After 40 years, the Dems are still traumatized by the hysterical madness and violence at their Chicago convention in 1968. A fierce Obama-Clinton floor fight this summer over Michigan and Florida — that State of Hanging Chads — is the last thing they need to revive old nightmares.
Hillary’s palpable hunger for the presidency and all the power it offers has already provoked the ferocious opposition not only of all conservatives, but also of at least half the liberals in the country as well. She and her husband have even managed to alienate the black stalwarts of their party who at first looked ready to stay loyal to them even in the face of Sen. Barack Obama’s unexpectedly formidable challenge.
Hillary’s inadvertent bid to turn the entire Democratic Party into a funeral pyre has already burned up what was supposed to be her most impressive credentials — the argument that after eight years as First Lady and eight more years in the Senate she knew far better than any other Democrat how to run the country (not that that is saying very much).
Instead, her campaign so far has been a ludicrous fiasco. She appointed her girl friends as campaign chiefs and then saw them perform in a way that left Michael Dukakis looking good. She could not even retain the loyalty of a campaign chief she fired. The lady immediately defected to Sen. Obama. So did her husband’s old loyal retainer, Bill Richardson.
Even when Clinton managed to claw back a new lease of electoral life in Texas and Ohio, the consistent bungling of her campaign‘s performance in caucuses throughout the country suggests that 14 years after messing up health care reform she still could not manage her way out of a paper bag. After 16 years of continuous experience and exposure at the highest levels of national political life, — all she can come up with is an occasional over-hyped tear on the cover of Newsweek and — this?
If Hillary somehow still manages to win the presidency, against all odds, it is impossible to see it turning out well for the American people — or even for her. She is Richard Nixon redux with a feminist twist. Posturing as Germaine Greer’s Dream Woman, she is instead the spirit of Bella Abzug run amok, a 21st century feminist Flying Dutchwoman, doomed to sail the primaries and caucuses of the Democratic Party forever, always cursed to seek and never to find, robbed of any possibility of contentment or rest. Fated above all to destroy that which she claims to cherish and defend, already predetermined to turn political feminism into an eternal laughing stock burning brightly on the altar of her ambitions.
However, all is not lost. For Hillary can still become a conservative icon. After all, no one is trying harder to turn the Democrats’ presidential hopes to ashes yet again.