A mod­est pro­posal to Hil­lary Clin­ton

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRU­DEN

Hil­lary Clin­ton needs a con­science trans­plant, and she needs it now. Her book tour is in a sham­bles, the fate of her $14 mil­lion ad­vance from her pub­lisher is ma­rooned some­where in limbo. She’s un­der 50 per­cent ap­proval for the first time in the pres­i­den­tial polling for 2016, and, scari­est of all, she’s hav­ing to call on Bubba for help. She knows bet­ter than to be­come merely “a wife of,” but 2014 is be­gin­ning to smell like 2008, and she’s Miss In­evitabil­ity once more. This is déjà vu all over again.

Some of the learned pun­dits, who only yes­ter­day were writ­ing about “the five rea­sons why Hil­lary is a lock for the White House,” are writ­ing now about “five rea­sons why Hil­lary won’t run.” The budding con­sen­sus is that (1) she’s just not very good at pol­i­tics; (2) there’s no “fire in the tummy”; (3) who wants to clean up af­ter Barack Obama, any way; (4) the coun­try wants real change; and (5) an­other round of “Clin­ton, Bush, Clin­ton” with chil­dren of both fam­i­lies wait­ing in the wings, is thrilling no­body.

The poll­sters, con­sul­tants and cam­paign wiz­ards who are paid to know all the an­swers are puz­zled by Hil­lary’s flop­ping around like a hen sud­denly be­headed by events she was ex­pected to con­trol. “Even more than her dwin­dling leads over Repub­li­can con­tenders is that while she is pretty much run­ning against her­self, in a very high­pro­file book tour, she is los­ing ground,” says poll­ster John Zogby. “Her big­gest prob­lem is the in­evitably fac­tor. It helped do her in in 2007-2008, and right now it looks to be her ma­jor neme­sis. She has this whole play­ing field to her­self and is de­clin­ing in the polls.” That’s def­i­nitely not good.

A poll taken in 2014 is gos­samer, as sub­stan­tial as a cloud in a sum­mer sky, and isn’t worth much as a pro­jec­tion of who can ac­tu­ally win an elec­tion in 2016. It can tell a lot about the strengths and weak­nesses of a prospec­tive cam­paigner. Since ev­ery voter al­ready knows what he thinks of her, Mr. Zogby tells colum­nist Paul Bedard, there isn’t much she can do, even with Bubba at her side, to broaden her sup­port. Her num­bers should be go­ing up, and they’re def­i­nitely go­ing down.

The Clin­tons, him and her, are re­vealed as money grub­bers, look­ing for cash in all the easy places, and Hil­lary imag­ines no­body will no­tice the greed if she poses as the self­less phi­lan­thropist, Lady Boun­ti­ful giv­ing away her $250,000 speaker’s fees to the Clin­ton fam­ily foun­da­tion. The pub­lic, how­ever, is on to the foun­da­tion scam, which looks like a tax dodge. The Clin­tons con­trol their foun­da­tion, and the pub­lic sus­pects that the chief ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the foun­da­tion “char­ity” are named Bill, Hil­lary and Chelsea.

Con­science trans­plants are be­yond the skill of mod­ern medicine, and short of a mir­a­cle from Oba­macare, maybe she should look for some­thing use­ful from the funny pa­pers.

Joanie Phonie was a char­ac­ter in the hey­day of Al Capp’s “Li’l Ab­ner,” be­lieved to have been loosely mod­eled on folk singer Joan Baez, who, like Hil­lary, was bereft of the com­mon touch. When Joanie ran across a child who had fallen, ly­ing help­less and bruised in the street, she imag­ined that the way to help was to step on him. That gave the kid an in­cen­tive to get up and give her a smack.

Then Joanie heard that the or­phan­age had run out of heat, light and gro­ceries, and the chil­dren were starv­ing. So she, with the heart as big as all out­doors, do­nated $10,000 to the or­phan­age — not in mere cash, but in Viet­nam War protest songs.

Miss Baez, with the lib­eral’s usual dis­dain for some­body else’s free speech, de­manded that Mr. Capp elim­i­nate the char­ac­ter, threat­en­ing to sue and to do all man­ner of ugly things to make him stop. Mr. Capp was puz­zled. “Joanie Phoanie is a re­pul­sive, ego­ma­ni­a­cal, un-Amer­i­can, non­tax­pay­ing hor­ror,” said he. “I see no re­sem­blance to Joan Baez what­so­ever, but if Miss Baez wants to prove there is, let her.” Miss Baez shut up, and Miss Phonie lived out her days in Dog­patch.

There are hun­dreds of thou­sands of young people, some of them in or­phan­ages and some of them on cam­pus, and a lot of grownups who live such bar­ren lives they have never heard a $250,000 speech. They have never heard Hil­lary’s rollicking jokes and funny sto­ries, her warmth and wit, the tim­ing that put Bob Hope in the shade, her abil­ity to keep an au­di­ence scream­ing for more.

Hil­lary could treat them all to one of her fa­mous speeches, proof that what she’s sell­ing is not ac­cess to a pres­i­dent to be named later. Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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