Creating political viability

Gerard Baker:

...

Fifteen years ago there was once a principled, if somewhat rebarbative and unelectable politician called Hillary Rodham Clinton. A woman who aggressively preached abortion on demand and the right of children to sue their own parents, a committed believer in the power of government who tried to create a healthcare system of such bureaucratic complexity it would have made the Soviets blush; a militant feminist who scorned mothers who take time out from work to rear their children as “women who stay home and bake cookies”.

Today we have a different Hillary Rodham Clinton, all soft focus and expensively coiffed, exuding moderation and tolerance.

To grasp the scale of the transfiguration, it is necessary only to consider the very moment it began. The turning point in her political fortunes was the day her husband soiled his office and a certain blue dress. In that Monica Lewinsky moment, all the public outrage and contempt for the sheer tawdriness of it all was brilliantly rerouted and channelled to the direct benefit of Mrs Clinton, who immediately began a campaign for the Senate.

And so you had this irony, a woman who had carved out for herself a role as an icon of the feminist movement, launching her own political career, riding a wave of public sympathy over the fact that she had been treated horridly by her husband.

After that unsurpassed exercise in cynicism, nothing could be too expedient. Her first Senate campaign was one long exercise in political reconstructive surgery. It went from the cosmetic — the sudden discovery of her Jewish ancestry, useful in New York, especially when you’ve established a reputation as a friend of Palestinians— to the radical: her sudden message of tolerance for people who opposed abortion, gay marriage, gun control and everything else she had stood for.

Once in the Senate she published an absurd autobiography in which every single paragraph had been scrubbed clean of honest reflection to fit the campaign template. As a lawmaker she is remembered mostly, when confronted with a President who enjoyed 75 per cent approval ratings, for her infamous decision to support the Iraq war in October 2002. This one-time anti-war protester recast herself as a latter-day Boadicea, even castigating President Bush for not taking a tough enough line with the Iranians over their nuclear programme.

...

... the Clinton candidacy is a Grand Deceit, an entirely artificial construct built around a person who, stripped bare of the cynicism, manipulation and calculation, is nothing more than an enormous, overpowering and rather terrifying ego.
She is following Bill's script. The first hint of the Clinton core political belief was in Bill's letter to the ROTC commander about his loathing for the military but concluding he would do what ever he had to do to maintain his political viability. That is their only core belief. Everything else is negotiable as long as it maintains that objective.

While some have talked about Sen. Clinton toughness and ruthlessness as an asset in the war on terror they miss the point of this history. All of their examples are with people who threatened their political viability. When that was the case, they set loose the politics of personal destruction. Thus we now have the feeding of information about Obama's grade school education.

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