The drip, drip, drip of robotic, monotonous answers is finally revealing acute insights, exposing the real beneath the veneer. We're finally getting below the paint to see the real people hidden under the polished political surfaces.
Hillary's convoluted answers to simple questions suddenly betrayed her carefully applied cosmetic answers in the early debates, making it harder to keep her (face) powder dry. She's not just a front-runner and a woman, but half of a power couple who may finally be required to pay for the excess baggage, both his and hers. The former first lady is the most exposed candidate in the race, and the least known. Despite the endless revelations of scandal and sharp dealing, we've never got to the bottom of "Wifewater," her financial killings in the commodities markets, the whereabouts of the lost records that suddenly and inexplicably showed up in the living quarters of the White House.
We probably won't ever learn more about them than the mixture of facts and factoids in all the books by and about the Clintons. But the questions, like ghosts, haunt perceptions of her character as the focus on the present continues to sharpen. The double talk -- "the tripletalk, quadrupletalk, Olympic nonresponsiveness," as columnist and author Peggy Noonan calls them -- suddenly sounded an alert, like fog horns cutting through the mist on a dark sea.
Sally Bedell Smith documents in her new book, "For Love of Politics," how almost everything Bill and Hill did in their White House years was for the love of politics as a couple rather than for the love of each other, or for the love of country, for that matter. It's why Hillary characterized the Monica Lewinsky affair as "a vast right-wing conspiracy" rather than his betrayal of her. Bill was talking about their marriage when he said, "the truth is, most politicians are not candid with people." What they haven't been candid about is their love for politics as their primary (no pun intended) pleasure in life.
It's what Barack Obama understood when he said that Hillary was running a textbook campaign "that's all about winning elections but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems." Despite the polls that suggest that many women are for her because she's a woman, many women are suspicious of her because she runs a campaign where women's issues are more prop than passion. After the last debate, when her campaign accused her rivals of "piling on," she ran to Wellesley, her all-female alma mater, to draw attention to those bad men in their boys club, though she's totally dependent on the biggest, baddest boy of all.
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