Hillary Clinton provides her own tawdry example inspiring a pessimistic view of pols — with her claims of vast “experience” in national and world affairs as the wife of Bill. Finally 11,000 pages of Clinton administration papers are dragged into the public arena, and they lend little support to her experiential testimonies. She lies about arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire — only to recant in the face of withering videos. And not even Bill Clinton’s “My Life” memoir backs her up.
Hear longtime Clinton adviser Dick Morris, in his Clinton critique “Because He Could,” describing what he calls the Clintons’ “prickly relationship with the truth”:
“The most curious thing about ‘My Life’ is not the former president’s tendency to canonize his scandal-plagued wife, but his virtual omission of any description of her role in the design, formulation, or implementation of public policy. . . .
“‘My Life’ and (Hillary’s) ‘Living History’ fail to match up in their accounts of (Hillary’s) accomplishments, or even her role in her husband’s administration. In his memoirs, Clinton generally mentions Hillary only when paired with Chelsea — accompanying him on one state voyage or another. Where, one wonders, are Mrs. Clinton’s great policy initiatives and proposals that she has trumpeted so loudly?”
None of this helps those possessing the audacity to hope that this or that pol (as Barack Obama invites them to do) somehow breaks the mold and transcends the rest. Hillary Clinton certainly does not, nor — post the Wright videos — does Obama. Despite the thrills their gallantries may have given the faithful, both leave us feeling smacked in the gut — our dreams shattered by our most anguishing fears. Both tap into deep-running pessimism, cynicism, and disillusion about the political class.
And that may be why both the Gallup and Rasmussen polls these days are showing John McCain — “pale, stale, frail and male,” as Gloria Steinem delights in dissing him — with growing leads in match-ups against (presumably) the best Democratic horses strutting in the paddock.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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