The Woman Behind the Curtain
By Phil Perkins
November 5, 2007
Like the Wizard of Oz, Hillary Clinton is outwardly a powerful, charismatic and intimidating figure who remains, to quote Churchill's description of the old Soviet Union, a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma. The longer candidate Clinton can shield her true self from the voting masses, the better her chances of occupying the Oval Office someday-and she and her advisers know it. However, during the past week's Democrat candidates' debate, she momentarily let fellow candidates, media and viewers see the weak, indecisive woman behind the curtain.
Clinton's apparent waffling on the subject of driver's licenses for illegal aliens (or to use the politically correct term du jour, "undocumented workers") made her look foolish in front of her opponents, who were four-square in favor of the driver's licenses (and why not-the more licensed illegals, the more votes for Democrats). Not only that, Clinton's late and insincere support for New York's driver's license program fed into her opponents' none-too-subtle digs that she's not a true believer in liberalism. Her votes for the Iraq war and lately for the recognition of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group already had her, at various times, on thin ice with the uber-liberal base of the Democrat party.
This recent botched performance should tell voters all they need to know about Senator Clinton-that she has as much business running for the presidency as that benighted comedian Pat Paulsen. Unlike her favorite adopted team, the New York Yankees, who continue to be hyped even when they're losing, at least the Yankees have great past accomplishments to display. Senator Clinton has no such accomplishments, no matter how mightily her supporters try to find just one.
In its full "how dare you attack her" mode, the Clinton machine has painted a bull's-eye on the previously unassailable Tim Russert who co-moderated the debate. The Meet the Press host has a history of asking tough questions to liberals and conservatives alike, although in my view he's always tougher on conservatives (after all, he was a campaign manager for George McGovern in his younger days and clearly tilts Democrat now). Why is it that when Russert simply adopts his usual MO on the front-running Democrat candidate, that suddenly he's being "unfair" in "catching poor Hillary off guard?"
What the Clinton machine unwittingly shows is that they expect a double standard when it comes to the treatment of their candidate. Let the others deal with the tough questions; nothing but softballs for HRH Hillary. Anything or anyone diverting from that template is unacceptable. If she was unprepared to handle tough but reasonable questions from a journalist known for asking them, then we have to question how prepared she is to be the leader of the less-and-less free world.
Senator Clinton was also unable to answer questions regarding incriminating National Archive records from her husband's administration that were destroyed. These were totally appropriate questions given her use of her husband's disgraced ex-National Security Advisor Sandy Berger as an adviser in her campaign. Just because her friends in the media did their usual excellent job minimizing the seriousness of Berger's pilfering crimes does not mean that the issue was any less important in grading the Clinton Administration's foreign policy, especially regarding our response to terrorism.
Like the Wizard of Oz, Hillary's response to the (justified) criticism is to, Nixon-like, hunker down in her bunker and send Dorothy and her mates (AKA her starry-eyed supporters) out to collect a reward (in this case, more basketfuls of money), as if enough money will make this credibility problem go away. Like the great Oz, her message to them is get the money and don't come back until you do.
Rush Limbaugh as usual had a brilliant analysis of the situation, calling out Senator Clinton for wanting it both ways-playing the tough as nails feminist when it suits her purposes to show that she could certainly handle being our commander-in-chief, and alternatively playing the poor, picked-on girl in the schoolyard who needs to be rescued from her tormentors. The question is, when will voters catch on to this blatant hypocrisy, and will enough of them connect the dots to cause a mass defection from this totally flawed candidate? And, will Edwards and Obama have the guts to continue their "attacks" in the face of Clinton machine intimidation, let alone Rudy, Romney and the other Republican candidates?
All of them should keep in mind that in the Wizard of Oz, a simple farm girl and her dog exposed the so-called great one for who he really was. They need to keep telling the public, "Pay close attention to that woman behind the curtain."