Don’t Start Thinking About Tomorrow

As promised, here is one from “The Vault”. This piece was written back in 2008 as Hilary Clinton was on the verge of losing the Democratic nomination to some guy named Barry. It’s interesting to read this back, seeing as how it is heavily influenced by one of my favorite political writers- Maureen Dowd of the Times- whose stuff I was devouring back in the day.

I was visiting Chicago when I wrote this. Surrounded by peeps who jumped Hilary’s ship in mid stream when their local hero started hitting homers. I stayed the course, all the while knowing it was Hil’s best chance to win it all. I wish I hadn’t been so prescient. 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

You were entitled, after all. It was yours. When the Kennedys bowed out of the royal family business, and the Bushes picked up the slack(er), you were supposed to be next. It was going to be twenty eight years of uninterrupted Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton. It would end with a lady on top. And please, watch what you insert into that sentence.

How ironic it is that Illinois (you do remember that place, right?) is biting you now. I know your Michael Myers-like thousand yard stare on 2008 couldn’t have foreseen this. Still, I bet you’re kicking yourself now for not having considered a Cubs cap and an Illinois Senate seat. You could’ve spelled those unforgiving winters by the Lake by making up with the Gores and renting out their guest room, where the thermostat is set on Miami come January. In the spring, you would have been the senior poobah and Obama would still be best known as Oprah’s most intimate relationship.

You could have spared yourself the Bataan Death March.

As much as you brave face a broken convention, you know it’s not going to end well. The League of Super Delegates will be a cranky bunch if they’re put on the spot. The Dems don’t want to be perceived as Supreme Courting the next nominee eight short years after Bush won his loss.

And not for nothing, but this wasn’t the time to be playing Michael Corleone to Mark Penn’s Tom Hagen. You had to make a break before this. You had to banish him from the family instead of continuing to allow him to break bread and knuckles at the table. I think you hesitated on a full blown divorce (again) because you were afraid of what Sunday morning was going to sound like. It’s enough to keep a girl up till three in the morning.

But here’s the thing. We’re past the point of playing scrabble with the media. Way past.

You would’ve been better off cutting the snake in half, the snake who has spread his poison into your run. Penn’s stewardship of a campaign which once looked like a surer bet than a Warren Buffett stock market tip, has been plagued with errors. Not enough Teflon or elan. Stockpiles of arrogance. Sad thing when the smart guy in the room looks inept because he was too busy checking his reflection in the mirror. Sadder thing when you have to call a press conference and call out the jaws of life simultaneously in order to extricate yourself from your chief strategist. Saddest thing is when it’s April and you’re trailing.

Penn’s nasty reputation is legendary, even for your campaign. You’re the High priestess of the coven and it should have been your nasty that counted the most. It doesn’t work so well when you have a High Priest competing with you for enmity among the staffers. There was about as much esprit de corps in your camp as there was in the New York Mets dugout last September.

Penn’s plan was to pass you off as establishment, when he should have been packaging the fact that you’re a bitch on wheels. Don’t run from the truth. Embrace it. Personally, I’ll vote for a bitch over a boob every day of the week. Barack wants to sit at the table with those Middle Eastern leaders- You want to bite their heads off. Barack votes against the war- You want to bite their heads off. Barack wants to stop the influence of special interests- You want to bite their heads off.

You’re on message, wake up! Those are points you’re throwing away!

And you’re missing the main point. A bitch means YOU’RE A WOMAN. Penn forgot that, and you bought into the amnesia. In so doing, you handed the novelty pitch to Obama and decided to run a Clinton II strategy when the angle of being the first female President was the way to go. Penn’s reign of error very well may have cost you a change of address. Not good, Queen Bee.

I get the embellishments re: snipers and insurance companies.

You’re a Clinton. It’s in your blood to mince truths and present them in your secret family casserole recipe. But your game plan is half baked here, Missy. You should have a well crafted bedtime story at the ready for every conceivable counterpoint. You should have been prepared for the Perry Mason smoking blue dress.

Sure, the talkies can drone on about how you’ll root for a McCain victory should Obama win the nomination, so you can take another shot in four years.

Are you kidding?

You know the fallacy of that news cabal logic. You’re not going to get another shot. This is your shot. The networks have to fill twenty four hours. If they happen to get five or ten minutes of it right, they’re happy. You can’t afford to be so cavalier with your time.

So my question is, why isn’t your Clinton showing?

You know, the Clinton that would have riddled Obama with innuendos and then stepped back and let him deal with the savagery. And when he stepped back, you’d be there to stop his fall . . by stabbing him in the back. The cameras would be clueless, all caught up in your disturbing little smile. And you’d be one step closer to your coronation.

You’re not Bill, I know. But I can’t help thinking this didn’t have to turn into a disadvantage. You are the principled half (I know, it’s like saying I’m the least crazy Manson, but it’s true. So use it.). You’re the adult (again, it still counts). You baked the special brownies Bill didn’t ingest. You defied while he denied. You could’ve summoned Bill when necessary and banished him to Scores the rest of the time.

Hell, what a waste; all those nights when the two of you would stay up talking, strategizing deep into the night. Bill messing with his sax in the bottom bunk and you, revising Sun Tzu in the top bunk.

Here are a couple of comebacks I was expecting from you:

Reverend Wright- Instead of “he wouldn’t be my pastor,” . . . what about “I have spoken with many people who have nothing but good things to say about Reverend Wright. I’ve been deeply involved in these communities, I know the struggles. You shouldn’t judge a man through the looking glass of one moment (wink, wink). Mr. Obama knows the man. He knows what the Reverend is about. I think we must leave this conversation to him and the Reverend Wright.”

You would’ve been invited to Mr. Obama’s church off this little bite. And that whole ‘Mr. Obama knows the man’ would’ve gestated beautifully- with Wright’s apologists and critics alike. Your wayward child detractors aside, you would’ve hit those inconvenient undecideds right in the gut. And your ‘acceptance’ of your opponent’s foibles? Mark it Rich (sorry, I couldn’t help one pardon pun). Yep. The big net is just sooooo Clinton. We are all the same. It’s just that some of us are better at being the same than others.

Bosnia- You could’ve insisted you had come under sniper fire . . . at some point during your trip to Bosnia. Play with the words, show irritation over not being believed despite the overwhelming evidence that you should not be believed. Play hurt. Implore all Americans to study up on their foreign policy. Tell them to Google Bosnia while you’re bitch slapping reporters into line. And if the American people want more, then give them your sad plight: My husband won the Presidency and all I got was a lousy trip to Bosnia!

Dammit Hil, you know this game with your eyes closed. Problem is, you’ve been playing it as if your eyes were closed. Meanwhile, Obama gets the dirty, sexy headlines. And you get closer to picking out his and hers summer retreats for you and Bubba.

Obama is dumping more money into Pennsylvania than our own Governor. He’s shaved more points off your lead here than a crooked cager with a questionable jump shot. He may not win the state, but his comebacking isn’t helping matters any. It’s just further evidence that you’ve morphed into Nolan Ryan. Without the fast ball. Or the right arm.

Fleetwood Mac called.

They want their song back.


44 thoughts on “Don’t Start Thinking About Tomorrow

  1. Interesting choice of a post from your archives – and brilliantly re-posted on Election Day. I was also pro-Hillary in 2018. Even rejected the candidates as I left the presidential spot blank that November (but did vote for Obama in 2012). Hillary didn’t run a good campaign in 2008 – little did we know she would run an even worse campaign in 2016. Yet, I hear her name for 2020 – but I don’t think she can do a Nixon-type comeback.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Frank,
      I came upon this post very much by accident and thought it would be a good one for election day.
      We need look no further than the New York Senate race that never was, between Hil and Rudy G. Hilary had navigated a lot and fought her way back into the lead in that race when Rudy dropped out after his cancer diagnosis. She coasted to victory in a very uninspiring senate race against LI congressman Rick Lazio. But it began a pattern- of playing not to lose- that defined her campaigns from that point on.
      I cannot imagine the Democratic party is going to allow her to run again. I’m not sure WHO they are going to enlist, but they have to be smart. They can’t afford to treat this as a throwaway, even if the chances get better for Trump all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “You were entitled, after all.”
    That says so much about the problem of Hillary Clinton, right there. I appreciate people who supported Hillary, both in 2008 and 2016, but I never could do it. Rightly or wrongly, she is one of the most divisive political figures of our time. While she may be able to win an election in a blue state like New York, she would never be able to win an election on the national level because of the legions of Americans who would never vote for her.

    And, ultimately, there is the problem that she just isn’t a good campaigner. There is something lacking in her ability to connect with people in a campaign environment. She truly comes off as feeling entitled to the position. As though simply through her patience, because of her gender, and as a result of her “experience” the position is now hers and she should just be anointed President. Well, that ain’t the way we do it in this country.

    I was monumentally frustrated that she was the nominee in 2016 and did not vote for either her or Trump — I wrote in a name. The Dems nominated the one person who wasn’t able to beat the orange clown and we are now suffering the consequences. I shudder as she starts showing up more and more in the media and couching her statements about her 2020 plans. If she runs again, the Dems will deserve what they get. Party leaders need to stand up to her and tell her “Not Again!!” I don’t expect that will happen, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark,

      She played not to lose in her 2000 Senate race against relative unknown Rick Lazio. And I was saying to John, it established a precedent going forward. Hilary has NEVER run a good campaign.
      I get the boiler plate dynamics of North East politics not playing on a national level- see Chris Christie for the latest example of this. But I think in Clinton’s case, it was more about her inability to forge a cohesive message to which she stayed on point. She played a better campaigner in non-campaign years. Yes, she is polarizing as all get out, but I still think it was more a matter of her losing the 2016 election than Trump winning it.
      I cannot imagine who the Democrats are going to tab for the 2020 election, but it sure as hell can’t be Hilary again.

      Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right, she was. Arrogance is no bueno when the stakes are this high. Or should I say, showing your arrogance is no bueno. ESPECIALLY when going up against someone as arrogant as Trump. She morphed into a “lesser of two evils” candidates along the way, which doesn’t move the needle for most folks. Hubris is a good word, indeed.
          I wanted Hilary because I think she would have done a good job. But we will never know . . .

          Liked by 1 person

          • HRC is a wonk’s wonk and has never been able to connect with people even though she’s smart as hell and can see the “Big Picture” (unlike the candidate who beat her). In 2008 her hawkish record dogged her as well as a kind of charismatic guy from Chicago wooed the electorate. She thought she knew best and took the race for granted.

            Liked by 1 person

          • A “wonk’s wonk” is applicable AND it also happens to be anathema for most candidates- See Gore- because then peeps see them as being unable to relate to the average voter. No bueno.
            The candidate who beat her looks at the big mirror, and sees something entirely different from the rest of us.
            She had a chance to put Obama away early, but once he gained traction, you could see it turning into an eventuality that he was going to win.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. While I admire HRC on many levels – she really is a sharp politico – and supported her in 2008 and 2016, I do see her shortcomings. Still she would, I believe, have made a better leader for the country (not just an angry segment of it) than the current president.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Eilene. She let Trump back in, when she should have been throwing down the hammer. The electorate that was set on Trump was never going to vote for her, but she had to mobilize those who simply thought her victory was fait accompli and she failed to do that. I think she would have made a good President, I really do. That’s coming from a person who switched sides to vote for her husband in the nineties.
      It would be nice if voting was less about partisan rhetoric and more about who we believe will do the best job for the greatest number of people. It’s why I don’t have ‘sides’ any longer. I vote according to who I believe has the goods to lead, and she did.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. B,

    These are the types of posts I hesitate to comment on as I always fear my ignorance will show. Not just coz I’m a Canuck and not really into politics, especially American ones (not into the Canadian one, either, just so you know) – I try to get the basics and the rest of the time, I change the channel, so to speak… 😉

    That said, besides your as per usual fabulous writing, you mention that Hilary didn’t show her Clinton… it is a not who she is as she is a Rodham, who MARRIED a Clinton… only so much can rub off, yanno. I will completely agree that she lost her “balls” and didn’t go in and do what needed to be done. Millenia of “woman’s” training gone deep, I guess.

    Shall stop before I make a fool of meself…


    Liked by 1 person

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