We hear where she goes. We hear what she wears. We hear how much she makes. But what we don’t ever seem to hear about Hillary Clinton is what she would do as president. Her every move is reported, every speech covered as if it were a decree brought down from a mountaintop. But what does she want to do?
There’s no doubt she’s running. No one goes to Iowa to watch corn grow or spend time with Sen. Tom Harkin. Yet there she was last weekend at Harkin’s “Steak Fry,” an annual “kiss the ring” event for the Democratic senator and a must-attend event for any Democrat thinking of running for president. Hillary even brought Bill, and the two of them in public at a non-Clinton Foundation event is about as rare as a solar eclipse.
In addition to the two Clintons at the Steak Fry, there were roughly 200 members of the media on hand. Of all those journalists in attendance, not a single relevant question was asked or answered. The Clintons got the b-roll they wanted – them looking like normal Americans enjoying a cookout, not the out-of-touch filthy rich elitists they are. And the images of them being “normal” were eaten up by the media almost as fast as the food.
But when a human being eats something, it eventually becomes something else. For the media, that visual Clinton meal became their reports.
The vast majority of the coverage of Bill and Hillary’s trip to Iowa was about speculation – is she running or isn’t she? Again, she’s in Iowa, she’s running. But why?
What does Hillary Clinton have to offer? She was first lady who failed miserably at health reform, an unremarkable senator from New York and an awful secretary of state whose failures we are still trying to overcome. That’s her resume.
It’s improper to say Hillary Clinton is stupid; she’s just been wrong so often. So what does she want to do? The media isn’t asking.
They line up to interview her for her book, but what have you learned about what she stands for? Beyond platitudes – she thinks income inequality is a problem, opposes racism, blah, blah, blah – and bogus biographical information – she was the poorest person in the millionaire’s club when her husband left the White House – what do you know about Hillary Clinton?
Odds are you aren’t going to get a chance to ask her any tough questions, and if you do, you’ll be blown off with stump speech talking points. Journalists are the only ones who stand a chance at asking her anything specific before the coronation, and they aren’t interested.
Sure, they love to speculate. ABC News did This Week from Iowa because Hillary was there, but no new facts or positions were learned. It was all speculation and projection of what they want her to be, which is the way she wants it.
Hillary Clinton is an empty Paint-By-Numbers canvas that has no guide. Journalists and pundits are free to put whatever color they want anywhere on it because there’s so little record to compare it to. She’s whatever someone wants her to be. Very few people have spent so much of their life in the public eye and managed to have so little known about what they really believe.
She’s a lot like President Obama when you think about it. They were both unimpressive senators for a short period of time with no real depth to their resume before obtaining elected office. Their mere existence is considered their greatest accomplishment. Barack Obama was the first black president and won a lot of votes based on that prospect. Hillary would be the first female president and garners support from many for that reason alone.
The biggest supporters of President Obama were the media. They were his greatest protectors too, keeping inconvenient questions about inexperience, Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, his background, his policy positions and his public statements clear from public knowledge and scrutiny. Aside from his love of golf and leadership ineptitude, do you know more about the president than you did six years ago?
Hillary Clinton stands poised to inherit that activist indifference from the media (provided the even more thinly resumed Elizabeth Warren doesn’t decide to run). Her lack of accomplishment is being swept aside and replaced with “having been there” as some sort of resume enhancement. Her tenure as secretary of state is being portrayed as a relatively stable time, not the planting of currently sprouting seeds of problems because of her indifference and the president’s fecklessness.
She’s being remade in the image of an “historic candidate” who could be the first female president. There’s appeal to that among people who don’t follow the news. Worse, there’s appeal to that among people who get their news from mainstream media or The Daily Show. Worse still, there are an awful lot of those types of people.
So next time you speak to anyone who is even a mild supporter of the idea of Hillary Clinton for president ask them the one question they can’t answer, and ask it repeatedly to every talking point they throw your way: Why? That simple one-word question may be the greatest kryptonite to the concept progressives seek to make our reality.