October 18th, 2006

ozarque figure

Hillary Clinton revisited...

The cover story for the November 2006 issue of the Atlantic is a long (pp. 56-74) article by Joshua Green titled "Take Two: How Hillary Clinton turned herself into the consummate Washington player." [To read the whole article online you have to be a print-version subscriber, but there's a substantial excerpt from the piece at http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200611/green-hillary .]

It's a strange article; Green keeps giving with one hand and taking back with the other. He trivializes and he cutesipates. His dominant theme is "Yes, but...."

She's done amazing things, but.... She's a rock star everywhere she goes, but... Even Republicans admire her, but... She's highly skilled, but.... Hillary doesn't dominate a room the way her husband does, he says on page 74 -- "she dominates in the Senate by yielding."

And the way Green closes the article is instructive. Listening to one of Hillary's aides say that reviewing all of her accomplishments and involvement in various issues in the Senate was a sixteen-hour task, Green responds that the issues in question strike him as "small-bore." He complains that her Senate record is "an assemblage of many, many small gains." He provides the usual commentary about the way she dresses and the way she does her hair. And his concluding section is, in my opinion, vicious. Here it is:

"Her real accomplishment in the Senate has been to rehabilitate the image and political career of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Impressive though that has been in its particulars, it makes for a rather thin claim on the presidency. Senator Clinton has plenty to talk about, but she doesn't have much to say."

I learned a great deal from the article and I strongly recommend reading it, but....

But it's a hatchet job.

If Hillary runs in 2008 and loses, the verdict will be "If Hillary Clinton couldn't win that race, no woman can."

If she runs and wins, she'll inherit George W. Bush's unspeakable messes. Nobody, of any gender, is going to be able to clean up those messes in one, or even two presidential terms; if they can be cleaned up -- which is by no means certain -- it will take decades to get it done. If a man became president with that inheritance, people would say "No wonder he couldn't accomplish anything -- he got stuck with Bush's unspeakable messes"; if Hillary becomes president with that inheritance, they won't cut her that kind of slack. The verdict will be, "See? We tried letting a woman be president, and she couldn't accomplish a damn thing."

If she runs, it's going to be painful to see, to hear, and to feel. I continue to hope that she'll decide not to.
ozarque figure

Personal [overstressed] note...

Well.... I've had more than enough excitement for one day.

First, there was the helicopter circling my yard, maybe a hundred feet up -- and then going away -- and then coming back and circling some more.

Then there were the sheriff's cars roaring down our road to the river, and back up the road to the gateposts.

Then there was the helicopter coming back and circling my yard some more, maybe a hundred feet up -- and then landing, in the pasture next to ours.

Then there were trucks and cars and motorcycles and fourwheelers -- miscellaneous trucks and cars and motorcycles and fourwheelers -- roaring back and forth up and down our road, and parking by the helicopter, and people -- miscellaneous people -- milling about.

And there was me, of course, with my binoculars, trying to figure out what on earth was going on, and getting nowhere with that because of the way I was shaking. Terrified half out of my mind, since my first thought was that my husband, or one of my kids, had been hurt again. Or worse than hurt.

Obviously nobody had time to stop and talk to me as they raced back and forth, and I understand that; they were busy. Plus, I told myself, if whatever was happening was happening to my husband or to one of my children, somebody would have taken the time to stop and talk to me. Logically, I know that's true, but the message was getting cut off at some point well short of whatever part of my mind is rational, and I was just plain flat out scared to death.

Next there was an ambulance, and several more trucks, and I managed to flag down the last truck in the line and ask the driver what had happened. Somebody, he said, had been canoeing on the river, and had fallen from up on the bluffs and broken his leg -- but he was going to be all right.

I've had a glass of wine now, and my heart rate is roughly back to normal now, but I'm not doing any more work today.

I think I'm too old for this kind of fandango.

You should have heard my dog, and my kids' guineas, while all this was going on....