One reluctantly knocks the political wizardry of HBO's top satirist, Bill Maher. And yet, how rude: telling his party's heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, to take a hike, in fact a year off from publicity: "Just go away." Uh oh, here's a hugely visible Democratic donor scolding the era's ultimate career politician -- though the chance of Hillary (HC) abandoning her paid PR campaign/celebrity book-tour, or her White House run, hovers above absolute zero. Her entire schtick is perseverance personified.
Is Maher aware he's messing with the substratum of the plutocratic universe, as dramatized by the movie, "Network," disturbing the "ecological balance" of the "primal forces of nature," disrupting the "one holistic system of systems"? How many savvy lieutenants, let alone stand-up comics, get to tell off the Clintons and live to tell the tale? Aside from the mundanity of governing the country, imagine how Hillary's election crowns the glory of this wannabe royal family, a peerless pinnacle to a collective public legacy.
Winning goes beyond her triumph as the first woman president: here's the first presidential couple to top the lists of lists. Hear the chuckling from these slick, hit-the-jackpot hustlers when they blast past that two-term Constitutional "inconvenience." Here's true, up-from-the-bootstraps exceptionalism, with a vengeance, and on our very TVs. Write off the boring Bushes for the Olympic, one-on-one face-off with the Kennedys, our greatest royal clan, though losing ground with only one incomplete presidency.
Advice Falling on Deaf, Tin Ears
The good news for Clinton detractors is that Maher's warning shots, and far better advice, will fall on deaf, tin ears. Only destiny and higher powers, as in Greek tragedies, thwart Clintons' high drama. Maher blatantly ignores what makes Hillary run: not great legislative feats, nor leading great reform movements, nor diplomatic breakthroughs (conspicuous throughout by their absence), but unshaken, unmatched, gritty endurance. Standing alone (with Bubba), Hillary's raison d'Ãªtre is simple: be tough enough to tough out the toughest times. Sounds downright Churchillian.
Who else triumphed as the victim of a philandering governor, then as long-suffering wife of a philandering president? Who survived decades as long-time prey of the vast, rightwing conspiracy which, though lacking the malice of Obamabashing, commands greater duration? And who will certainly persevere through every Benghazi farce, coming to rival the charade parade of 40 anti-healthcare House votes?
Grit and never giving up are what Hillary has to sell: she will as likely withdraw from any public fray as defend genuine progressive principles. Here's the making of not just the first woman president but the first modern American warrior queen ready to fight to the death. Well, like all politicians, not exactly to her death, but only the disgrace of a lost national election stops the hard-boiled Madame Secretary shifting from verbal pugnacity to Commandress-in-chief fire-power.
Hillary as Biblical Job
If there's one champion from the single most "influential" book that "guides" her every thought processes (no, the Bible, she claims, not Machiavelli's The Prince), thy name is Job, the epitome of never giving up. And that mythic model of virtue faced an even vaster, heavyweight conspiracy. Actually, Job not only had higher moral principles, but greater earthly achievements. Let that bide. Is not high ambition, and the quest to explode the ultimate glass ceiling, sufficient virtue for HC? Do not the Clintons pander for acceptance, thus Andrew Sullivan's quip they poll-test "where to go on vacation"?
Etiquette aside, Maher's pertinent advice is prudent when tallying HC's array of unforced gaffes only since May (see below). "People say Hillary being out there on her book tour talking about this stuff, it's going to inoculate her," intoned Maher, but there's a "fine line between inoculate and we're sick of you . . . We're going to see each other. In a couple of years, a lot. Just go away. Because otherwise you're going to blow this."
Now here's your ultimate post-modern test: can the world's most exposed woman politician get too much exposure -- and "blow this"? Does she not obey Oscar Wilde's dictum, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about"? She won't be deterred even when blunders lower her initial 60% approvals (when leaving State) to the current 50%. Polls that still defy gravity award her 7 of 10 Democratic primary voters.
But here's the charm for progressives: Hillary is her own worst enemy, exemplified in '08: few stars put out their own lights like her dismal campaigning. Call me contrarian, but I say: let Hillary run, let her boast about jailing Edward Snowden while defending spying overreach. Let her support the disgraced Egyptian boss, Mubarek. Let her demonstrate painfully-close kinships to Romney's notions of wealth, equating the best people (and closest advisers) with the highest salaries and highest earthly possessions. No paired public entrepreneurs know better how to leverage political capital into cash capital and live the high life -- all the while pitching poor minorities. Bill Clinton's Foundation spends $1.2 million dollars annually just for his travel, enough per week ($23K) to feed and house a host of jobless families.
Advice HC will Follow
If like millions you view another Clinton presidency with horror, sing out: "Defy friends and critics alike, Hillary. Stay the course, never say die, never stop equating governance with never-ending campaigning, punctuated by gaffes and overpriced fees to pontificate." Join in: let the nation learn early, rather than too late, who and what lurk behind the mask. Gaffes expose reality like no predigested sound bites. Remember, here's a weak public campaigner who's never won a close election. Perhaps she won't repeat the '08 blunders that let a neophyte with a funny name outhustle her. Perhaps she won't duplicate her sub-par Secretary of State time, with the dubious prize of clocking more air miles while notching few lasting, diplomatic wins. No conflicted region is healthier since '08; most are worse, some much worse.
Few leftists posit HC an improvement over the dismal Obama. She is less likely to offset Bush's reign of Constitutional errors, less likely to demilitarize overseas belligerence, nor reverse the appalling rightwing lurch. Wingnuts elevate government (per Reagan) as the "problem" to now the full-throated "enemy" of the people. If HC wins, brace for "audacity of the status quo" and the gruesome projection Bush II (Obama) becomes Bush III, inflicting further blows on what President Carter bemoans as crushed democracy.
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