Jonah Goldberg

The amazing thing is that she gets away with this. Although everyone understands that Clinton takes positions on issues based on political calculation, it somehow doesn't count against her. A recent episode of "Saturday Night Live" captured the essence of Clinton nicely. "I think most Democrats know me," the fake Clinton told a fake Chris Matthews. "They understand that my support for the war was always insincere. Of course, knowing what we know now, that you could vote against the war and still be elected president, I would never have pretended to support it."

Hillary's is a very old act, and sometimes she doesn't even care that people know it's an act. She baked cookies as an ironic joke about her remark that she "could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas" instead of having a career.

In 1996, she floated the idea of adopting a child, presumably to soften her image. When her husband's campaign was over, the urge to adopt miraculously subsided. In 2000, she deftly boxed her Senate opponent, Rick Lazio, into seeming like a bully against the poor lady politician.

This victim pose remains incredibly useful for Senator Clinton and her fans. In 2003, when Clinton's memoir came out, "reporters" like Barbara Walters virtually produced infomercials in her honor. Clinton insisted that she wanted to put her husband's infidelities behind her and that she was dedicated to the issues. It was a masterful charade in which the Great Woman of Substance was forced, reluctantly, to talk about her humiliation at the hands of that charming rogue Bill as well as by those sexist cads of the Republican Right. But when the Washington Post tried to interview her about the substantive portions of her autobiography, she, according to the Post, "declined to be interviewed about the political content of her book." Catch that? She didn't decline to be interviewed. She merely declined to be interviewed about anything other than her role as "victim."

Clinton's "joke" will be forgotten in a few days, and rightly so. But in the bigger picture, the joke's on us.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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