We all have our crosses to bear. Churchill’s was Charles de Gaulle. Hillary’s is her husband.
Ten years ago, we saw Robert Redford’s “The Horse Whisperer,” a soapy allegory about the magical healing power of a man who charmed an injured girl and her injured horse. The metaphor to it this year is supposed to be the politically-injured gal riding her hobbled presidential campaign, charmed into the White House. But the metaphor fails because the not-so-magical healer is Bill Clinton, the Hoarse Whisperer.
Hillary’s thrice-told whopper about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia was bad enough to revive all the memories of Travelgate, FBI File-gate and all the other “gates” that were so numerous they made the Clinton administration look like a farmer’s supply store. She told the whopper again and again — most dramatically on St. Patrick’s Day — and a week later the political uproar over it forced her to apologize.
The problem faded a bit, only to be revived by Bill on April 10. And, as we’ve become accustomed to with the former president, he tried to explain one fib under cover of another. He said:
"There was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995….And I think she was the first First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone."
The Hoarse Whisperer, as is his wont, ignored the inconvenient truth that Pat Nixon went to Vietnam in 1969 and forgot it was 1996, not 1995 that Hillary went to Bosnia.
But Bill’s healing powers are having worse effects than the original disease. In that same April 10 statement, he added a shot at Hillary:
“You woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them, when they’re 60, they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11:00 at night, too."
Hey, if you were as old as she is, you’d have senior moments, too. And, c’mon folks, if you were married to an old, tired gal you’d have more sympathy for yourself than for her, wouldn’t you? Redford’s “horse whisperer” was a source of sympathy and healing. In Bill’s mind he must be, forever, the object of sympathy not the source.
William Jefferson Clinton’s politics succeeded because his charm coupled with shamelessness enabled him to convince voters to believe his intentions were good no matter how many times he proved otherwise. Hillary’s shamelessness — decoupled from Bubba’s charm — doesn’t work to evoke sympathy. Hillary’s faults and foibles are on display, disproving the central theme of her campaign. She is supposed to be great leader and manager, but her campaign is ill-led and poorly managed.
Sen. Clinton’s campaign was planned on the old Clinton tactics, triangulation and the personal destruction of her adversaries. But triangulation hasn’t worked against the shimmering vacuity of Barack Obama, and — but for Obama’s own missteps — attacks on him have at least so far fallen flat. She has been inflexible, unable to adapt to events such as her failure to wrap up the nomination on Super Tuesday. Even her employment of her most potent political weapon — her husband — has failed. Because the Hoarse Whisperer apparently collaborates only grudgingly.
Bill Clinton should be effective with super delegates and with people on the campaign trail who still flock to see him. But when he speaks, as he did in South Carolina after Obama’s win there, belittling the voters and the results, demeaning key voting blocks, he hurts Hillary’s campaign. By calling her old and tired he only emphasized Obama’s youth and energy and lumped her with the even older John McCain. He fed the coming effort by “party leaders” to get Al Gore and Jimmy Carter to convince her to drop out reported yesterday in the Scotsman newspaper.
She won’t drop out, for two very good reasons. First, the older party leaders — and unfortunately for the Democrats, Gore and Carter are counted among them — have little leverage over Clinton. They don’t control the votes of any super delegates. As to Gore, her dislike for him is so deep it’s a wonder that anyone would even consider using him in negotiations with her. Carter is about to make a disgrace of himself yet again, this time by meeting in Syria with Hamas terrorist leader Khaled Mashaal. His influence is nonexistent except where he can perform the role of useful idiot for America’s enemies. Hillary will not take him seriously, nor should she.
Second, Obama is a flawed man. His ties to Middle Eastern radicals, to Chicago corruption and radical anti-Americans such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, are being revealed gradually. There is a lot more coming. And Obama is making serious errors on the campaign, like the slur against rural voters last week. Clintonian politics of personal destruction will make the most of it, and may yet turn a decisive number of super delegates against Obama.
Which leaves the Hoarse Whisperer out in the cold for a moment. An unwilling tool of his wife’s campaign, if she can win the nomination he will become campaign poison. The unplumbed depths of his corruption will come out, even the underpinnings of his last-minute pardons of people such as Marc Rich. And when it does his willing accomplice will be held accountable for it by the voters. Then, the old charmer will have to go home to face that old, tired gal. But only for long enough to pack for the next overseas speaking tour. The show must go on, and it will.