Magazine December 31, 2016, Issue

Hillary Gone Wild

On the first weekend of December, Saturday Night Live — finally showing a little pep after its over-the-top, embarrassingly lachrymose mourning period for Hillary Clinton — debuted a new sketch, “The Hunt for Hil.” Mimicking the style of Finding Bigfoot, Animal Planet’s kitschy television sensation, “The Hunt for Hil” took various cockeyed fake “experts” into brave new territory: Clinton country, deep in the shadowy yet upscale hiking trails of Chappaqua, N.Y.

“Bigfoot. Chupacabra. The Loch Ness monster,” intones a tough-guy narrator. The video flashes over shaky images of various mythical creatures, including, oddly, a stray ordinary coyote, which I presume was shown in a half-hearted attempt to represent the legendary, fearsome, oft-misunderstood chupacabra. As a newish specialist on mythical creatures — in recent years, thanks to three kids with wild imaginations, I’ve watched more episodes of Finding Bigfoot than I should admit — I find this unfortunate, as well as an insult to chupacabras everywhere. But I digress.

“All rarely seen. All shrouded in mystery,” the “Hunt for Hil” narrator continues. “And tonight, we’re headed to the woods of Westchester County to search for the most elusive legend of all: Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Ah, yes: Hillary in the wild. It’s a post-election meme that has gained significant steam. Perhaps you’ve seen these viral chummy selfies, all starring the American politician most famous for being not very chummy or perhaps, as Barack Obama once declared her, “likeable enough.” Scan through these memes with me in your mind: There’s Hillary on a forest trail, bedecked in fleece, bereft of makeup, posing with a beaming fan. There’s Hillary in a grocery store, looking benign and grandmotherly (and also kind of like she just rolled out of bed, because hey, at this point, why not), cheerily posing in front of vats of guacamole and mysterious-looking potato salad.

There she is with Bill in a local restaurant, grinning with the whole staff, everyone apparently having a whale of a time. There she is in a quaint little bookstore. Next, a deli. Another nature trail! Post-election Hillary sightings have even earned their own Twitter account, HRC in the Wild, which has shot up to having almost 30,000 followers.

Because America is a kooky and creative place, we’ve even had a few faux Hillary sightings, including one image doctored to make it look like Clinton, not Bigfoot, is striding across the infamous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film. (Sasquatch enthusiasts will inform you that the Patterson-Gimlin creature appears to be a lady bigfoot, so there’s that.)

But Hillary Clinton, “wandering folk hero,” as Vanity Fair predictably hailed her, could not last for long. This is because Hillary Clinton is not a Willie Nelson or a Bob Dylan or even a Kinky Friedman. She is Hillary Clinton, which was the main reason she lost the presidential contest in the first place.

And so on December 8, in her first major public post-election appearance — wearing a purple pantsuit, no less — the real Hillary returned to the American stage. “This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election,” she said, “but after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out.”

Sadly, Clinton did not then drop the microphone, exit the stage, and wander back into the woods for more good times and jolly photos. Instead, she went on to honor the questionable D.C. fixture Harry Reid, blast a national scourge of “fake news,” and later, via her campaign confidant John Podesta, suggest that the Electoral College seriously rethink the act of finalizing a Trump presidency. Helpful, right? (Fact check: not helpful at all.)

Please, Hillary Clinton, go back to the forest. Buy some furry winter boots, quietly reflect during walks, and enjoy all of that money you amassed in ways we might not want to discuss. You don’t have to go full Bigfoot — emerging very rarely, in short, compelling appearances. Going at least 50 percent Bigfoot would work. If you can pull it off, America will like you more!

Not everyone would find Hillary-gone-Bigfoot a “folk hero.” Many Americans are relieved that the Clintons are out of their political hair. Others, while less than thrilled with Donald Trump, are downright elated that Hillary won’t be filling their ears and the airwaves with sanctimony and nonsense and tales of underlings stuffing secret documents down their socks and various strains of left-wing goofiness for the next four years.

But still, it would be glorious, wouldn’t it? Imagine a quiet Clinton, seemingly content, back in touch with normal people and normal life, occasionally rearing her head at a gas station or a Westchester Starbucks. She would re-learn a life without influence-peddling! She could volunteer for local charities! She would emerge and speak only when she had something to say, and sometimes not even then!

Alas, Hillary Clinton’s desired attainments do not seem to include “increasingly well liked former public servant as people’s memories fade.” The odds of her truly going Bigfoot are low — and, hopes and dreams aside, no one should be surprised.

After all, Hillary Clinton is a politician, a species that thrives on exposure, publicity, sound, and fury. Very few manage to do the job quietly. To do it quietly, in fact, seems to be drifting out of style. Witness our recently elected celebrity-in-chief. Like Bigfoot, he occupies the minds and imaginations of many Americans, but that’s where the comparison ends. Poor Bigfoot. The way he minds his own business, he’d never make it in Washington.

Heather Wilhelm is a National Review Online columnist and a senior contributor to the Federalist.

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