Politics & Policy

A First Lady and a State Legislator

Richard Gere saw this coming.

Now that Hillary’s down on the canvas, blood gouting from her nose, looking up at B. Hussein Obama Jr., and trying to clear the tweety birds out of her brain, I’m breathing a little easier now.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing your guy Barry looming triumphantly over a fallen opponent, like Muhammad Ali glowering over Sonny Liston, while his lovely wife, Michelle, polishes the jumbo-sized chips on her shoulders masquerading as epaulets. Surely now it’s time for Ms. Beer-and-a-shot to know when she’s beat and throw in the towel. Hang ‘em up. Pack it in.

And yet, despite her drubbing in North Carolina and her slim, possibly Rush-induced margin of victory in Indiana, Mrs. Clinton immediately declared that, far from dropping out, she was in it all the way. In it to win it, come hell or high water or some really amazing piece of oppo-research that she’s been holding in abeyance as an insurance policy, something that will make Pastor Wright and Mad Bomber Ayers and Tony Rezko seem like the biddies at my aunt Hilda’s weekly Mahjongg game in Eagle Rock.

It doesn’t matter that our noble party — which admittedly once supported slavery, institutionalized segregation, abandoned religion for secularism and is now practically frank in its advocacy of sedition — is now taking the high moral ground and begging her to Bring Us Together for the Good of the Party by Getting the Hell Out and the Horse You Rode In On, Too. Her answer: Nyet, baby.

Which puzzled me for a moment. Can’t she see that she’s beat? Has she forgotten that, for Democrats, once our pet-poodle punditocracy says it’s over, it’s bloody well over? Who are we to question the mighty Russert?

But then I thought — Hey, wait a minute! This movie (or “lifie,” to use Neal Gabler’s infelicitous phrase, which somehow never caught on) isn’t Rocky or any of its sequels. The scene from Tuesday night, with the white guy on the floor and the black guy looming over him, isn’t really a boxing movie at all. Oh my God! It’s –

An Officer and a Gentleman. You remember, the 1982 Richard Gere-Louis Gossett Jr. flick in which Gere plays a smart-ass punk who wants to be a Navy flyboy, and Gossett is the Marine gunny sergeant who stands in his way. Gets in his face. And puts him down, hard, early, and often. For his own good, of course.

The emotional climax of the film comes when Gossett’s Sgt. Foley tells Gere’s young Zack Mayo that he’s washing out. Gere’s on the ground, in the rain, putting in OT on the PT when the sarge delivers this news, but he refuses to accept it. “I got nowhere else to go!” he cries. “I got nothin’ else.”

And that, officers and gentlemen, is Hillary Clinton in a nutshell. She’s not going to quit because she has nowhere else to go, and nothing else to do. She lives for this, and without it, she has no life. In fact, without it, she doesn’t exist at all.

I don’t know why we didn’t see this coming earlier. True, the Clintons are millionaires now, so rich that Hillary could walk into Bill O’Reilly’s wing at Fox the other day and commiserate with him about how rich they both are, God bless us. For months now, my friends out here have been trying to convince me that she’s an honorary Republican, but it wasn’t until I saw her waltz the big Irishman around the ring while playing patty-cake and kissy-face with him that I finally realized how right they are. Who knew that whole impeachment charade was just a practical joke among friends? Come back, Ken Starr — all is forgiven!

But even for a pair of grifters like the Arkansas duke and his lovely dauphin, money isn’t enough. After all, you can only spend so much time in your day counting coins. A couple that has spent precious little time in the private sector — a.k.a., the “real world” — and has grown fat and rich off the public teat, needs the Permanent Campaign like a junkie needs a shot, like a horse needs a carriage, like a fish needs a bicycle. It’s not the getting of the office that’s the name of the game, it’s the seeking of it. The thrill of the chase. The excitement of the hunt. The sound of the horns and the hounds, baying at the moon of political power.

So, as much as it pains me to say it, Hillary ain’t dropping out, not if she’s the man I think she is. After all, what has she got to lose by staying in? Bill’s legacy is already etched in stone: impeachment, the Marc Rich pardon and, nine months after he left office, two giant steaming holes in lower Manhattan. Now matter how many times he wags his finger or bites his lip, there is, amazingly, nowhere for him to go but further down. And now that he can’t hurt us any more, we’re even free to say it!

But her legacy — well, that’s something different. Forget Whitewater, forget her near-indictment by a grand jury. Forget the levitating ashtrays and the jet-propelled lamps, the missing White House furniture, the scorched-earth policy against Bill’s, um, lady friends. Forget the imaginary Bosnian snipers, forget the opportunistic Yankee caps. Forget the cattle futures and the sailor’s vocabulary. Forget the Wal-Mart board that she apparently slept on for years without noticing the company was a bona fide Enemy of the People. Forget the Rose law firm billing records. Forget the Barrett Report. None of that matters any more.

That’s the past. In Taylor Hackford’s movie, Richard Gere gets up off the deck and kicks Lou Gossett’s butt, then goes and sweeps Debra Winger off her feet and carries her right off the factory floor and into the sunlight of a bright and warm future.

Why can’t the same thing happen to Hillary? There’s no doubt she’s man enough.

Just one problem. In the climactic fight scene, Zack only appears to beat Foley. Extends his hand to him, to help him to his feet. Then, the sneaky jarhead delivers a kick to Ensign Zack’s privates that puts him down for the count, final lesson learned. “Oldest trick in the book,” says Foley. Why can’t Barack do the same thing to Hillary?

Too bad there’s some doubt whether he’s man enough.

David Kahane is the nom de cyber of a bitter, unemployed writer in Hollywood who is most definitely not David Zucker. You can commiserate with him at kahanenro@gmail.com

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...

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