The most contrived, planned-ahead political campaign of the last 50 years would do it each and every time if they knew they could get away with it.
But the real issue is how Hillary’s campaign try to play the “poor me” angle (Scrappleface‘s got a great post on that):
“However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event.”
Hillary’s spokesman stops short of saying “the student made me do it”.
It’s always someone else who makes Hillary and her convenient-husband “do it”. Theirs is due all of the credit and none of the blame all-the-time-every-time.
Hillary Clinton wants women to vote for her because she is a woman. At the same time, because she is a woman, Hillary doesn’t want people asking her tough questions.
Well, folks, it can’t work both ways. Either you are tough enough to be President of the United States, or you are not.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan:
When Hillary Clinton suggested that debate criticism of her came under the heading of men bullying a defenseless lass, an interesting thing happened. First Kate Michelman, the former head of NARAL and an Edwards supporter, hit her hard. “When unchallenged, in a comfortable, controlled situation, Sen. Clinton embraces her elevation into the ‘boys club.’ ” But when “legitimate questions” are asked, “she is quick to raise the white flag and look for a change in the rules.”
Then Mrs. Clinton changed tack a little and told a group of women in West Burlington, Iowa, that they were going to clean up Washington together: “Bring your vacuum cleaners, bring your brushes, bring your brooms, bring your mops.” It was all so incongruous–can anyone imagine the 20th century New Class professional Hillary Clinton picking up a vacuum cleaner? Isn’t that what downtrodden pink collar workers abused by the patriarchy are for?
But even better, and more startling, people began to giggle. At Mrs. Clinton, a woman who has never inspired much mirth. Suddenly they were remembering the different accents she has spoken with when in different parts of the country, and the weird laugh she has used on talk shows. A few days ago new poll numbers came out–neck and neck with Barack Obama in Iowa,
Iowa, where that inconvenient student asked that planted question.
I have worked with very tough women. Some I despised, and some I admire – because of the same reason: the tough women of purpose gained my respect and admiration. I concur with Peggy Noonan:
A word on toughness. Mrs. Clinton is certainly tough, to the point of hard. But toughness should have a purpose. In Mrs. Thatcher’s case, its purpose was to push through a program she thought would make life better in her country. Mrs. Clinton’s toughness seems to have no purpose beyond the personal accrual of power. What will she do with the power? Still unclear. It happens to be unclear in the case of several candidates, but with Mrs. Clinton there is a unique chasm between the ferocity and the purpose of the ferocity. There is something deeply unattractive in this, and it would be equally so if she were a man.
Character is not something you can put on for show and remove at the end of the day by the door of your house like an old pair of shoes. Character can’t be faked.
And faking it is all Hillary and Bill are all about.
Oops, she did it again
As a postcript, Peggy Noonan has a shoe anecdote:
She is still tough. A Reagan aide told me that after she was incapacitated by a stroke she flew to Reagan’s funeral in Washington, went through the ceremony, flew with Mrs. Reagan to California for the burial, and never once on the plane removed her heels. That is tough.
When you are who you really are, those heels never come off.
Dr. Krauthammer looks the dynasty:
vote for Hillary is a vote for the last entry of a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton quarter-century.
We’ve had just two father-son presidencies in the 230 years of the republic, and the first (the Adams family) had the son taking over 24 years after the father, and just one year before the father’s death. The Bush succession is more anomalous with only eight years separating the two presidencies, a proximity that has launched a thousand Maureen Dowd ruminations on the hidden furies driving Oedipus Prez.
But the father-son connection is nothing compared to husband-wife. The relationship between a father and an adult son is psychological and abstract; the connection between husband and wife, concrete and quotidian. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. George Bush, pere, didn’t move back into the White House in January 2001.
Which is why Hillary’s problem goes beyond discomfort with dynastic succession. It’s deep unease about a shared presidency. Forget about Bill, the bad boy. The problem is William Jefferson Clinton, former president of the United States, commander in chief of the Armed Forces, George Washington’s representative on earth.
The cloud hovering over a Hillary presidency is not Bill padding around the White House in robe and slippers flipping thongs. It’s President Clinton, in suit and tie, simply present in the White House when any decision is made. The degree of his involvement in that decision will inevitably become an issue. Do Americans really want a historically unique two-headed presidency constantly buffeted by the dynamics of a highly dysfunctional marriage?