Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hillary The Gaffeur

As a First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton is a woman of many firsts. The first to be elected to the United States Senate. The first to run for the White House. And, the first to become Secretary of State. This year, she has recorded another first. That is, the first truly disastrous book tour by a First Lady.  Actually, make that public official. Even Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin is having a smoother book tour than Hillary.

But that's what is peculiar about Hillary. She is always much more likable, popular when she is away from the limelight. As soon as she takes the center stage, everyone is reminded of one basic fact about Hillary: she has ZERO political talent. On paper she is a formidable candidate. On the campaign trail, she is a gaffe machine, always has been and, in all likelihood, always will be.

It is really amazing to see liberal political pundits scratching their heads and wondering how Hillary - whom they regard as the smartest woman in the world - could claim that she and Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House. Or how she could get into a testy exchange with an NPR reporter. Yes, NPR which is considered a natural constituency for Democrats. This morning Ruth Marcus on the MSNBC program "The Daily Rundown" blamed the gaffes on Hillary's "rustiness" from being away from the campaign trail for so many years.

Perhaps Ms. Marcus has forgotten Hillary's national debut when Bill ran for president in 1992. When she made a snide comment about "staying home and baking cookies" and, thus, insulting the very soccer moms that were key to Bill Clinton's victory. What about her claim that a "right wing conspiracy" was behind the Monica Lewinsky affair? The smartest woman in the world never doubted the word of her philandering husband and ended up looking foolish.

During her own presidential campaign, Hillary kept her gaffe streak intact with claims that she had to dodge sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia. Unfortunately for her, the media had been  on the trip and footage quickly surfaced showing a smiling Hillary receiving flowers from local children. What about when she said that she was staying in the race because anything could happen including - indirectly implying - Barack Obama being assassinated?

She began her term as Secretary of State with the widely reported "reset” button gaffe. Apparently, the State Department did not have Google translate available and instead of the button saying "reset" it actually said "overcharge". That was only the beginning. While speaking in Brussels, Mrs. Clinton asserted that American democracy had been around longer than European democracy to the dismay of the Greeks. She then referred to EU Foreign Chief Javier Solana but the incorrect title and gave EU External Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner a sex change by calling her Benito.

During a Middle East visit, an Arab leader reported that she shook hands with everyone she met on her way to a meeting, including the doorman. Some remarked she was probably still in campaign mode. In Mexico, Hillary viewed the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe  - which miraculously appeared according to the traditional account – and asked Msgr. Diego Monroy “Who painted it?”; he replied “God”. Upon leaving the Basilica, Mrs. Clinton was reported saying to locals gathered outside to greet her "you have a marvelous virgin!"

To be brutal about it, if it weren't for Hillary being the wife of Bill Clinton (the one with uber political talent) she would have never been elected to any office. She would not have been Secretary of State or, certainly, would not be seen as a potential president. Not because she lacks the qualifications. She simply is not great on the campaign trail.

As Hillary's book tour wound down, she had to defend her public speaking fees. She didn't know that Tories and Conservatives are the same political party even though she believes the United Kingdom is one of our closest allies. Her approval ratings have taken a hit.  Her latest misstep has been trying to distance herself from Obama on foreign policy only to back down and call for a "hug out". Not exactly what her handlers had in mind for the unofficial launch - as many believe - of her 2016 presidential campaign. But no one should be surprised by it. Just look at her record.