White House

What Is Hillary Clinton Thinking?

(Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)
She actually believes she still has a shot at the White House.

When Homer Simpson looks in the mirror, he sees ripped chest muscles and arms like the trunks of beech trees. When Hillary Clinton looks in the mirror, she sees America’s sweetheart. She thinks: America adores me. She thinks: America already chose me to be president once! She thinks: Everyone is comparing me with Donald Trump and realizing I’m a better choice. She is hoping for a call that will never come: an earnest, sobbing plea from the Democratic party to be their standard bearer in 2020.

How else to explain Clinton’s latest media blitzkrieg? You’d think she’d be in Jimmy Carter mode: quiet, making a display of humility, working hard to rebuild her reputation for posterity by doing good deeds and writing non-political books (like Carter’s disarming series of memoirs). Instead, she is acting like a fired-up political candidate. The poor dear actually thinks she’s still in the game. The woman who, on Election Night 2016, slunk away in ignominy from thousands of supporters in the glass-ceilinged Javits Center without even saying thanks to the many who would have lain down in front of a bus for her, these days is once again singing her fight song. But it’s a pathetic 4 a.m. karaoke act and no one can bear to tell this frail elderly lady to stop screeching so they can mop the floors and turn out the lights. Because she has the personality of a cactus and hates everyone, H-Rod never should have entered politics to begin with, but her inability to leave it behind is an embarrassment. Not to me, mind you. Not to Republicans. We all hope she keeps talking. For us every HRC tweet and MSNBC appearance is a dopamine cookie. It is merely herself she is embarrassing.

The media are, of course, a big part of this auto-humiliation, having constructed around her a fake township of fawning admirers: It Takes a (Potemkin) Village to keep her self-delusion alive. She is the geriatric version of the Batkid, the leukemia-stricken little boy for whom the entire city of San Francisco agreed to dress up in costume and behave as characters from Gotham City to cheer him on for a day. (Batkid is reportedly in remission and recently celebrated his ninth birthday, by the way.) As Hillary tears her way from the pages of The Atlantic to Maddow to Twitter, her acolytes cheer her on. She’s a “rock star,” exclaimed one fan on Twitter this week. Nay, she’s a Power Ranger! said another. Last year Clinton herself invited us to think of her as Wonder Woman. Yeah, remember that time when Wonder Woman collapsed while she was getting into her limo on a balmy September day? Remember when Wonder Woman frumped it up in pastel pantsuits, blamed the “glass ceiling” whenever she failed, and loaded up her staff with sexist men? Remember when Wonder Woman owed her entire career to leveraging the success of her immensely more charismatic husband? Remember when Wonder Woman remained married to a sexual predator for decades and put down her golden lariat of truth to help him smear his female victims? Hillary Clinton is as much like Wonder Woman as Dianne Feinstein is like Beyoncé.

Hillary Clinton’s tweets have little to do with promoting this fall’s slate of presidential candidates, most of whom, truth be told, would prefer not to be too closely tied to her anvil-like presence, given that her 27 percent approval rating is lower than Donald Trump’s has ever been. No, her public declarations are all bits and pieces of the exceedingly tedious stump speech (“We need systemic economic reforms that reduce inequality and give a strong voice to working families,” yadda yadda yadda) that she pictures herself being begged to deliver from a podium in front of 20,000 agog fans. In one instance of Twitter incontinence earlier this week, she claimed in one breath outrage in the face of all the “institutions and traditions under siege” and then, three tweets later, called for “abolishing the electoral college.” Never mind that the odds of the Electoral College being abolished are about the same as those of Colin Kaepernick being named Man of the Year by the National Association of Police Organizations — isn’t the Constitution sort of an institution and a tradition around here?

“You won’t be surprised to hear this,” Clinton informs us in the tweet calling for this radical revision of the Constitution. No, we aren’t surprised, just as we weren’t surprised to learn that the end result of a Supreme Court case about whether it’s okay to censor a film critical of Hillary Clinton was Clinton calling for a rewrite of the First Amendment to prevent the likes of Citizens United from being rude to her. It isn’t surprising at all that Hillary Rodham Clinton would keep relitigating the 2016 election she so astoundingly and hilariously managed to lose and call for the upending of norms as old as the Republic for such a self-serving purpose. What might be surprising is that Clinton would be so brazen as to think “let’s abolish the Electoral College” is an applause line, rather than just a reminder that she failed to connect to voters in the heartland. Hillary Clinton should do herself a favor and realize that big-time politics is done with her. The good news is she has the rest of her life to spend more time on her hobbies. Like Chardonnay.

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