Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why Can't Hillary Say She's Sorry?

New York's Junior Senator is in one hell of a double bind. Granted, she is -- like all Clinton's and Clintonistas before her and present -- unbearably, even ruthlessly scripted. Remember Rahm Emmanuel back in the old days (And even, sometimes, now; God Bless his scripted soul)? He made us want to smash our televisions sets when he was on Wolf Blitzer, spinning, obnoxiously, always -- always! -- on-message. Hillary Clinton, so you see, is not the only one Clintonista who is so "calculating (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)."

But her husband had the gift of Charm and Warmth that offset the degree to which he, like most Baby Boomers who are skeptical of "final vocabularies," appear frosty about thier career decisions. And Bill Clinton made the most of those sparkling gifts from the Political Gods, rising, brightly, to the Highest Office in the Land, from such humble beginnings. Hillary, unfortunately, does not possess those same rare gifts, so useful to a politician south of the Mason-Dixon line.

This is why we recommended -- and still do -- that Hillary Clinton do Saturday Night Live and poke fun of herself, maybe even do a "fembot" sketch, possibly even with Michael Meyers, a former SNL alum and Hollywood A-Lister with good bona fides in even red-states (Of course, Hillary may not want to bring that up on tv; too calculating by a whisker).

The Junior Senator from New York is not a Fembot.

Most Democrats would like Hillary Clinton to apologize, and don't you think she would have if she could? The Senator is one of the smartest political players in the Party. Hillary Clinton is smarter than her husband. But she cannot apologize because if she does, she is immediately characterized as having calculated the apology. And, what's worse, she would be compared unfavorably to John Edwards, who was there first and is territorial about that Apologetic Real Estate. Expect edwards to "push back" mighty hard if Clinton tries to occupy that Higher Political ground.

See: Hillary "gains" nothing by apologizing.

The Corsair knows what you are thinking: But why should it be about "Gain". Why Can't Hillary Just Apologize Because It Is The Right Thing To Do? The lovely Arianna Huffington, no stranger to political calculation herself, is weilds the stiletto:

"Team Hillary's attempt to out-weasel John Kerry's legendary 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it' continues in earnest.

"Its latest explanation/rationalization? 9/11 made her do it! That's right, the Clinton camp is now reading out of the Bush administration's wing-and-a-prayer book.

"There was James Carville on CNN's Situation Room, desperately trying to explain why Sen.Clinton voted for the war, even though other senators who had been given the same faulty intel she had, voted against it: 'But they weren't from New York,' he said. 'Their state wasn't hit. They didn't have to deal with the grief of these 3,000 people.'

"As if the war in Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.

"And it's not just Carville dishing out this nonsense. In an interview last month, Hillary herself offered the same excuse, telling the AP: 'As a senator from New York, I lived through 9/11 and am still dealing with the aftereffects.' Call it PTJS (Post Traumatic Justification Syndrome)."

Huffington pip-points two disturbing aspects of this evolving issue in the Clinton 2008 campaign: 1) The active shopping of alternatives to a formal apology by Clinton Camp allies is as agonizing a process to watch as the apology itself would be. In this Age of Blogs, this sort of spin fails miserably. We are, quite frankly, too self-conscvious a society, what with these blogs.

2) Arianna Huffington, a debate expert and most probably brimming with Scorpio in her astrological charts, sticks her stiletto twixt The Senator's political ribs: Hillary Clinton's icy prevaricating sounds not unlike "John Kerry's legendary 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it'" and that, my friends, is not the baggage that a Democratic Presidential candidate wants to be saddled with.

Still -- and this is something that looms large in the consciousness of the Clintons: The Senator has Nothing to Gain by apologizing. in fact, she will be hit -- and hit hard -- by John Edwards (As well he should), and by the Blogs.

But sometimes apologizing -- something that women, in their wisdom, have an easier time doing than the more hardheaded men -- is the right thing to do. And in an era of Hypermasculinity, Unilateralism, Unapologetic Macho Cowboy and Empire looms excessive on the political horizon ... apologizing from the Heart is not necessarily a political net negative. The United States of America could, quite frankly, always use some grown-ups in the gladiatorial fundament.


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