Hilary Rocks My Socks

Chris Neefus

The so-called Lady Macbeth of the American political arena is drawing blood as quickly as she can scrub it off lately, callously executing her kitchen sink policy in an effort to thwart Barack Obama’s meteoric ascendancy, even as she self-righteously recoils and chides him at the mention of negative mailings he sent out in Ohio. Senator Clinton’s campaign is undoubtedly in crisis mode. So what is HRC, as her staffers here on Capitol Hill affectionately call her, still doing in this race?

As she fights off calls from nearly every party elder to withdraw her candidacy, Clinton will have a surprisingly potent argument to make before pledged delegates and superdelegates alike this summer. One of the major issues she’s been pummeled with throughout this marathon primary is her, “Yes” vote on an authorization for action against Iraq. Obama and the mainstream media have gotten a lot of mileage out of branding her a hypocrite for this, but a quick look at her record shows she would be a delightfully hawkish alternative for McCain-sympathizing independents. She’s continued to support unconditional funding for the Iraq troops, clashed with uber-liberal Pat Leahy (D-VT) on arms trading issues, supports Israel’s desire to construct a security fence along the West Bank, and has as much patience for the hemming and hawing of the United Nations as John Bolton (not to mention she’s taken a harder-line stance against Iranian nuclear proliferation than even the Bush administration has ventured). If the pundits are to be believed, this woman was practically under the covers with a bag of JiffyPop when the first President Clinton ordered the bombing of Baghdad. It wouldn’t be tough to imagine she’d use waterboarding as some kind of kinky foreplay.

Her infamous “Yes” vote, so damning in the primary, would become a major asset in the general election, perhaps doing a good deal of work toward neutralizing the one issue John McCain appears to own at the moment: national security. The same issues that are crushing Clinton in the Democratic debates, ardent support for Israel and support for the war on terror, would be giant assets in the fight against McCain. All of a sudden, a moderate Democrat willing to engage in four years of ruthless battle to deliver a Congress-tested healthcare plan while proudly wearing her flag lapel pin seems unerringly appealing. Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s hesitance to discuss his sport coat accoutrements or Jimmy Carter’s powwow with Hamas leaders looks increasingly suspect. He’s delivered a speech on race that has been called anything from the best of the election cycle (so what?) to more black victimization rhetoric. His wife has, true or not, unwittingly confessed to living through four decades without feeling an inkling of pride for this nation – the same nation whose ideals have put her in a position to kvetch about the prospect of trying to pay for Barry Jr’.s tennis lessons on the measly half-milion dollars a head-of-state earns these days.

Clinton’s performance in the most recent ABC debate is just a taste of how much mileage Republicans will be able to get out of the most salacious of the recent allegations against the most junior member of the Senate. If need be, she could shake off unlikely Obama endorsements from big-wigs like Gore, Carter, or Pelosi, dismissing them as residual hurt feelings from the first Clinton administration. While Howard Dean has made perhaps his first bright decision of the election cycle in demanding commitments from all superdelegates by July, HRC can almost certainly convince some number of the 300 remaining to keep themselves sidelined and further highlight how feckless the captain of this sinking ship truly is. In fact, that so many are still uncommitted when the writing is supposedly on the wall ostensibly speaks volumes about the depth, breadth, and fervency of Clinton support among the Democratic elite. And if the ship really does sink and the party is torn open, as even some level-headed pundits are predicting, this would likely be of little consequence to the Senator from the great state of Arkansas…no, I mean Pennsylvania. Sorry, New York. Yes, I meant New York.

So, onward to the convention it is, no matter her performance in North Carolina. She can take the same issues that bolstered her Senate campaign and recycle them. She can argue her authenticity on the national security issue; she can tout her big victories in California, New York, New Jersey, and the virtually must-win Ohio; her perceived moderation can appeal to voters in swing states like Pennsylvania, New Mexico, or Colorada that Obama would likely have to kiss goodbye for a host of unseemly reasons that only Maggie Williams would feel comfortable discussing with Donna Brazile, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and oh, I don’t know, the entire mainstream media. I can speak for conservatives when I say even some of them would be at least amused by a second Clinton term, if only to mercilessly rehash everything from Whitewater to Monicagate while giving her healthcare plans the gridlock treatment for the second time. In any event, if this gets to the convention (and Hillary staffers surely already have their business class tickets to Colorado), it would be silly to count out our little landmine-loving American Bodicea when she has the chance to go table-to-table against the most hawkish of Democrats will have already done battle to claim the throne she so vigorously fought for through three decades of cynicism and one glorious stint on the House Judiciary Committee.

If all else fails, and it seems like it will since Rudy Giuliani seems to have set his heart on the New York governorship and snatched her consolation prize, Hillary, Maggie, and Donna can begin plotting her campaign for queen of Pennsylyorkansas. If the first issue of the Maroon-News in the fall announces that Clinton has strong-armed her way to the Democratic nomination, though, it will be because she is by far more electable, more credible on everything from homeland security to support for gay rights, and sporting the fiercest Macy’s pantsuits, while Barack Obama continues to go back on his doomed-from-the-start campaign taglines.