I’ve always been skeptical of the Hillary juggernaut.
Skeptical of the idea that the Clinton machine could stomp its way to the Democratic nomination, crushing all comers underfoot like a stylishly pant-suited Godzilla.
That is, until the juggernaut made me laugh. Now, I am concerned, indeed.
The diesel that drove the Clinton machine in the 90s was Bill Clinton’s charisma. His downhome guffaw and charm covered a multitude of sins. The new Clinton machine, however, is fueled by a woman who comes across about as warm as flounder skin, and as real as a fish tale.
Lately, though, the icy Hillary we’ve known and loathed lo these many years has shown signs of warming more convincing than “An Inconvenient Truth.”It all started on YouTube. In 2007, YouTube seeing its political potency rising after the legendary “macaca” incident of 2006, decided to invite all the presidential candidates to talk directly to YouTubers via a special video message.
Each candidate’s message, from the Kuciniches to the Mitts, has been highly publicized in banner ads all over YouTube’s high-traffic site. The You Choose ’08 Spotlight offered a high-profile opportunity in new media for each candidate. It also offered a test.
Most candidates’ messages were adequate but boring. Mitt Romney asked YouTubers what they thought was the biggest challenge facing America today. Responses ranged from “getting young people to vote” to “protecting ourselves from politicians” to a special message from “Dead Osama.”
McCain asked what people thought was the most important issue not getting enough straight talk, “from me or anybody else.”
John Edwards asked YouTubers what they would do to change the country. One public school teacher said he’d do his part by teaching his students how they can make a difference, undoubtedly by voting Democrat and protesting the war (keep an eye out for physics teachers named “David,” conservative parents.)
But Hillary took a different tack. A smart tack, a—dare I say it?—funny tack. She looked at the YouTube universe—its hordes of mediocre singers and awkward lip-synchers, its legions of dedicated kitten-bloggers, its Jackassian pranksters—and decided to ask it the only question for which she could possibly get a useful answer.