Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton for President?


So, now it's Hillary Clinton's turn.

I find it quite ironic that she should choose to announce her candidacy on the very day that Pam and I watched the last two episodes of House of Cards. In them Claire Underwood, after spending thirty years in a calculated political marriage whose sole purpose was the acquisition of power, suddenly discovers that the Oval Office only has one chair...and she is none too happy about it. In the final scene of season three Claire does something that Hillary never had the stones to do...she leaves her husband.

I say all of this because I find House of Cards to be a rather thinly veiled biography( or hack job ) of the Clintons. Bill and Frank are both southern Democrats with tons of charm and few scruples. Claire and Hillary are both publically devoted and subservient to their husbands, but privately, equally duplicitous co-conspirators. The series is a monument to the ugliness of pride and arrogance and the spawn of those two vices...entitlement.

So, now the smartest woman in the world will run for President for the second time, and like the first she will enter the race as the prohibitive favorite. When she couldn't win in 2008, when she couldn't beat a nobody first-term senator from Illinois, with the thinnest resume since Kim Khardashian, I thought she was finished. But, here we are eight years later and she is the front runner...again. I suppose you should never count out the wife of Bill Clinton.

A quick review of strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:

Experience. She has been close to the levers of power in this country for the better part of twenty years now. That counts for something.

Fund Raising. With the help of Bill, she has demonstrated an unprecedented ability to raise millions of dollars. The Clinton Foundation has shaken down not only every entity in the United States that hopes to get anything done in Washington, but foreign countries with the same objective. 

Symbolism. Hillary has the same advantage as the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is a symbol, a totem, the ultimate aggrieved minority, the latest "first." She would be the first female President, smasher of the ultimate glass ceiling. For an awful lot of people, men and women, this will be enough.

Weaknesses:

Accomplishments. Ask any Hillary supporter to sight five things that she has accomplished in her years of public service and you will hear a lot of stumbling and stuttering that usually ends with something about raising consciousness about some such thing or another. She was First Lady for eight years, and totally botched the only big job she was ever given, 1994's Hillary-Care fiasco. She was a carpet-bagger in reverse US senator from New York where she did less than nothing. Her years as Secretary of State have accomplished  the amazing feet of managing to make John Kerry look competent. 

And yet, here she is again, poised to make history. She leads in the polls practically everywhere and against practically everyone. If elected, she will give us the first "First Man," Bill Clinton. That alone might be reason enough to elect her. The First Rogue will be the single greatest thing to happen to late night comedians since Dan Qualyle.