But schadenfreude doesn’t really do justice to Hillary’s potential downfall. Her career is indisputably a product of her marriage. But for most of her life, Hillary had an independent ideological identity that now seems to have gone down the memory hole. In her own words, she championed a whole new “politics of meaning” and sought to redefine “who we are as human beings in this postmodern age.” But, bit by bit, she sliced off chunks of her soul.
Hillary used to be the personification of hope for the left. On the welfare debate, she was supposed to be Bill’s conscience. She was the Eleanor to his Franklin. But now Hillary is the Democrats’ establishment candidate, pitted against the true believer, John Edwards, and the idealist, Obama. Even committed liberals tell focus groups she’s too cold, too calculating.
And how did she get that way? She studied at the feet of the master. Bill Clinton cast himself as a champion of the “Third Way,” a grandiose political phrase with disturbing intellectual roots. For Bill, it mostly meant that he could split the difference between any two positions. Any hard choice was a “false choice.” When asked how he’d have voted on the first Persian Gulf War, he said he agreed with the minority but would have voted with the majority. He smoked pot but didn’t inhale. Monica Lewinsky had sex with him, but he could swear under oath he didn’t have sex with her.
Bill can make those sorts of things work because he really believes them — or at least he does as the words are coming out of his mouth. Hillary has nowhere near that sort of skill. She’s learned the dance moves and she’s memorized the lyrics, but she can’t hear the music.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
She’s memorized the lyrics, but she can’t hear the music
From Jonah Goldberg's NRO column
Posted by Mark Newgent at 10:44 AM