Thursday, June 05, 2008

HillBillary Clinton

HillBillary Clinton is about the wealthiest, most educated pair of hillbillies on the block. In the 1990s, I was a fan of the duo. There's no question President Clinton had his foibles and made some outrageously stupid missteps, giving his numerous detractors copious amounts of ammunition against him. And for all of her cold, Nancy-Reagan-ness, Hillary struck me as a brilliant and capable person. It was so interesting to hear her criticized back when she had fired the staff of the White House travel office. Clinton detractors screamed about her interference and overstepping her bounds. Meanwhile, nobody disputed that she had done the right thing in firing a pack of wasteful bureaucraps. Heaps of criticism has been shoveled upon her over her attempts to jigger (semi) universal health care in America in the early 90s. She may have made many mistakes along the way, but at least she made the attempt.

Two years ago, when the notion of Hillary Clinton running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States was still in the rumor stages, it sounded to me like the best news imaginable. After the failed siege of George W. Bush and his klan of misanthropes and incompetents, Hillary Clinton would be like Moses coming down from the mount to clean up the mess. When the campaign began, Barak Obama also looked and sounded great, but I almost wished -- at that time -- that he wouldn't even waste his time because Hillary was all the country needed to get back on track. And then I watched the Democratic campaign for the nomination unfold, as every other newshound has in the past 18 months.

People have moaned about the campaign taking so long -- Christ, haven't we had enough of "drive-thru" democrazy with Herr Bush and his gang of rapist thugs? -- but I think this was a good thing. The most notable revelation to come out of this campaign is that Hillary Clinton is a shrill, bitter, ambition-tortured megalomaniac who would still be a vastly better president than George W. Fratboy, but who has displayed a shocking streak of putting her own ambitions ahead of everything, such as the truth, the country, and her party. And Bill Clinton on the campaign trail has embodied the adage "With friends like that who needs enemies." It's been a comical farce watching him torpedo his wife's campaign with his outlandish lies -- that Barak Obama saying he opposed the Iraq war was a "fairy tale," that Hillary's hilarious and bizarre oft-repeated recollection of being under sniper fire in Bosnia was something she said just once and while tired at the end of a long day. Bill's involvement in the campaign was the painful part of this fiasco because I finally came around to seeing him exactly as his detractors see him: as a base liar who will say, literally, anything, and who appears to have the personal honesty and integrity of a wharf rat.

Hillary's speech last Tuesday, when Obama essentially clinched the party's nomination as presidential candidate, reminded me of the year Julia Roberts won the Oscar for her role in Erin Brokovich. I don't rightly know if anyone was actually rooting for Julia Roberts that Oscar night, but there was the palpable feeling in the air that people were frightened of rooting against her. It was a foreordained occurrence. There was no way Julia Roberts wasn't going to win the Oscar that night. Not because her performance in Erin Brokovich was so stunning -- it wasn't; I liked her better in Mystic Pizza -- but that it was quietly understood that Julia Roberts would have clawed the eyes out of anyone who stood between her and that Oscar. And how Julia went on to thank her agent, her accountant, dog groomer, hair stylist ... everyone except the actual Erin Brokovich. That same sense of shrewish entitlement poured off Hillary at the beginning of the campaign, and resurged last Tuesday, like a pungent blast of jungle BO. And now there is talk that Obama must offer Hillary the position of his running mate, if only so that she can turn it down. Hillary supporters say she has "earned" the right to be Obama's running mate; that she deserves it. Bullshit. But this illustrates the ferocity of her rancid sense of entitlement, that the race was hers, the drama wasn't supposed to last much longer than Super Tuesday . . . Maybe in George W.'s 'Merica campaigns are scripted and elections mapped out long in advance. America -- and the world -- is trying to pull itself away from the malevolent vortex of W.'s 'Merica.

How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall after Bill's latest misstep, ranting about a Vanity Fair journalist being "sleazy" and a "scumbag." The verbal slap-back he must have received from his wife could probably have been measured in kilotons.

It's been a long campaign and I'm glad Barak Obama has won his party's nomination. I went from believing Hillary would have made a great president to believing she really doesn't make a good human being. She and Bill should be immortalized as a salt and pepper shaker set of caricatures, each with a missing front tooth and both clad in overalls sitting on the tables of truck stops everywhere. At least in that context we could trust what comes out of them.