Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Smith: Go home, Hillary

By George Smith
July 16, 2017 at 4 a.m.

George Smith

Hillary Clinton. Shut the front door. Behind you. Please.

For some strange reason, Clinton, one of history's most controversial political figures, still seems to think she is relevant, that her opinion matters; she absolutely believes she still is the leader of a fractured and rudderless Democratic Party.

The former Hillary Rodham, married to one of the most charismatic politicians in history, had two chances to live her dream and become the first woman president of the United States. She blew those opportunities facing Barack Obama and Donald Trump because of her inability to overcome two daunting liabilities: 1) Failure to understand that a prized position must be earned, not simply given because, in your mind and in the minds of mindless minions, it's your turn at the trough; and 2) She has, when compared to her husband, the charismatic appeal of a box of hair.

Many of those who have known her for decades know she is a sincere, extremely personable conversationalist in one-on-one and small group scenarios. But something inside of her, when confronted with larger, clamorous crowds, or when faced by those she considers foes (and that list became lengthier as she aged) cannot contain an inner insecurity, causing her to lash out at inopportune times.

Many give her an overt pass on her more-than-occasional outbursts at what she considers stupid questions, or her less-than-accommodating responses to media representatives merely seeking a "filler quote" for that day's story. After all, her friendly, long-time followers baptized in the Clinton doctrine will readily tell you, she has been hounded for decades by conspiracy theorists and dogged surrogates of the Republican Party so long and with such venom that she is often suspicious of the most benign of actions by those she considers enemies.

Of course, she is exhibiting a human response, but not many humans are constantly in the spotlight and judged by every single utterance, like are public figures.

Clinton is often charged with being an elitist and never, really, fit in the downhome Arkansas scene. The stories of her looking like she would like to be anywhere but Arkansas go back to the late 1970s, when she was Hillary Rodham, declined to even mention Bill Clinton's name when she was campaigner-in-chief, dressed like a New England beatnik and did whatever she could do to look… well, dowdy.

In those days when Bill was the youngest attorney general in the state's history and in the late '70s known as "The Boy Governor," Hillary was wearing glasses the size of binoculars, dressed in only what could be called "Sears and Roebuck - Bohemian Collection," wore shoes that could pass for brogans with heels and Mixmaster-ed her hair into what one scribe called a "neat rat's nest."

She believed that looks and manner of dress should not be important in life and certainly not in politics. She was right, they should not be. But, DAGNABBIT IT!, they do matter to some folks. You know, some folks who vote.

To his credit, Bill Clinton absorbed slings and arrows from detractors and worked hard to turn the criticism into praise. Hillary, when demonized or even when she sniffed out a perceived slight, put that person or group on her personal enemies list. And there it stayed. How long? Until … "eternity" is about right.

It was her sincere empathy for the downtrodden, the poor, the afflicted of our nation that gained her a legion of faithful who were blinded to her discernible faults, who stood behind her and pushed her further and further up the political ladder. She truly believes, and continues to believe today, that government should be all things to all people, even though that goal is unattainable.

It seems somehow unseemly that after losing the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008 and Donald Trump in 2016 that she is still pushing to be relevant, that she believes she still has a place waiting for her in the White House - the Oval Office.

With the deletion of two words from a memorable line from an oft-quoted poem, Welch poet Dylan Thomas offered Clinton the best possible advice:

"Do not Go gentle into that good night."

  • George Smith is a former publisher of the Marshall News Messenger.



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