Hillary Clinton has earned the accolade “She Who Will Not Be Denied.” Relentless as one of the Furies in her pursuit of the nomination, she bears a remarkable resemblance to the ancient female avengers; determined to punish those who dare to upset her moral order, she mimics, rather closely, the anger, the jealousy, and the avenger of murder. And for Hillary, the appropriate moral order, of course, is a Clinton nomination, followed by a Clinton II presidency (which, sad to say, may be a viable possibility once again).
Perhaps, Samantha Power was thinking of Hillary’s Fury-like style when, in her interview in the Scotsman, she called Hilary “a monster” who is “stooping to anything.” Poor, naïve, Pulitzer Prize winning, Harvard Professor Samantha must have thought telling a British newspaper a juicy comment was “off the record,” would keep it “off the record.” It is decades since the subject of her tirade was that naïve.
Also back on public display are Hillary’s marvelous shape-shifting abilities. Since the beginning of the campaign, we have seen shifts from the Commander-in-Chief Hillary to the teary Victim Hillary. But in just the last ten days, we’ve watched:
Hillary gracious: “I am so honored to be sitting on this stage with Barack Obama.”
Hillary resigned: “And you know, whatever happens, we’ll be fine.”
Hillary school-marmish: “Shame on you, Barack Obama!”
Hillary feisty: “I am in the solution business, my opponent is in the promises business.”
And Hillary exultant: “We’re going on, we’re going strong, and we’re going all the way.”
So in just a couple of weeks she’s traversed, far and wide, the emotional and behavioral map — even flirting with the notion of a highly unlikely Clinton-Obama ticket. In her Mississippi speeches, even her accent seemed to change, as she morphed from the blue-collar Ohio worker to the wife of the kind of guy who can host a fish-fry in Tupelo. (Wonder if Big Bill did his Elvis imitation for the hometown folks.)
So what’s Obama to do? Currently, he seems a bit uncertain, rather like a guy who complains to his buddies that he doesn’t understand the woman in his life because she is always changing what she wants (she even wants him now!). Against such mood swings, his elegance and coolness are both his greatest strengths and his greatest weaknesses. It is hard to stay above-it-all when your opponent will bite, and scratch, stoop, and stoop again.
But, even as he figures out how to attack without stooping, he still has a considerable advantage (aside from his superior delegate count): he and the Democratic elders know that the African-American voters and the enthusiastic newbies that he has brought into the caucuses will sit on their hands election day if “She Who Will Not Be Denied” denies him the nomination, especially in some conniving Clintonesque way. It is clear he is a harbinger of the future. And, as important as his supporters, he has the untouchable advantage of his own youthfulness. Hillary can switch campaign styles as frequently as the color of her pantsuits but there is no doubt that a McCain/Clinton election would lack the freshness and youthful vigor of the alternative; Hillary is, quite simply, not new.
Reporters on the campaign trail have noted that Bill Clinton now looks old, and that both he and Hillary realize this is their last chance to return to power to enhance his shaky legacy. As free-talking Samantha Power noted, they will do anything to further their ambition and achieve their goals, and that just might include fracturing their own party. Remember, during Clinton’s presidency the Democrats lost Congress and a pack of governorships — but the First Couple never seemed to care all that much, as long as their poll numbers were favorable. One strategy Obama might consider is using Hillary’s own political savvy against her. Regarding her vote for Republican candidates in past elections, Hillary has said: “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me.” Obama would do well to remind voters that they’ve been fooled by a Clinton before.
– Myrna Blyth, long-time editor of Ladies Home Journal and founding editor of More, is author of Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America. Blyth is also an NRO contributor.