“I’m ready for Hillary,” read the bumper stickers in fashionable Georgetown, the swankiest part of Washington, D.C. These messages are juxtaposed with many a tattered “2012” bumper sticker with the fading Obama logo. Are these plugged-in liberals telling us their dream has faded, too? The never-quite-retiring Barbara Walters spoke to their disillusion when she wistfully sighed: “We thought he was going to be the new Messiah.”
So, buoyed by public opinion polls showing her the most popular politician in America, Hillary Clinton launched her latest “listening tour” with a new book. It was supposed to be a non-campaign rollout. But it turned out not so promisingly.
Liberal journalists have panned her performance on the stage. Her first stumble was in announcing to Diane Sawyer that she and Bill had left the White House in 2001 “dead broke.” She tried to gain sympathy and show empathy through poor-mouthing. Not since Mitt Romney announced he “likes firing people” in the midst of 10% unemployment has a supposedly serious politician so badly gauged the popular mood. Hillary was hit with unfavorable stories recalling the fact that she left the Executive Mansion with a paltry $8 million book advance. And Poor Boy Bill would soon snag another $15 million for his book. Then, of course, there were the speeches, lots of speeches, at $200,000 a pop.
Determined not to let her role in the Benghazi affair dominate her “rollout,” the former Secretary of State went to what she presumed would be friendly interviewers. But she had to “walk back” her poor little rich girl comments to Diane Sawyer. That’s never a good thing when you are supposed to show mastery and competence. That stumble prompted a spate of stories about how rusty she was on the hustings.
Then, rather unexpectedly, she ran into a buzz saw on NPR, of all places. Terry Gross of “Fresh Air” put Hillary on the spot. First, she pressed her on her vote as a U.S. Senator in 2003 to authorize President Bush’s use of force in Iraq. In time, she said, she became disillusioned by Bush’s actions in Iraq. She explained:
I did not believe that it was in the best interest of our country, and it was not something that I any longer wanted to be associated with.