May 28, 2007

"An aging roué, who is almost too facile, and a grimly ambitious feminist lawyer, with a tough but conventional mind."

Noemie Emery -- in The Weekly Standard -- tells the story of Bill and Hillary as a long-running TV soap opera. What do the script writers have in store for us next season?
Can the couple bring it off once again? If they can't, it won't be the first time a show failed when main characters tried to spin off into separate series, losing much of the magic that made the act compelling. From the start, the thing that made The Clintons work was the unlikely union of opposites, held together in an attraction-revulsion dynamic, with the whole adding up to more than the sum of its parts. As a sum, they are, and remain, an incredible story. As parts, however, they are merely stock players: an aging roué, who is almost too facile, and a grimly ambitious feminist lawyer, with a tough but conventional mind. In 1992, they seemed fresh and exciting; now they are part of the system and the problem; they were young; now they're not far from the age that the elder George Bush was when they ran against him. And if her job was tough, Bill's is still tougher: It is easier to discipline a huge and unruly political talent than to try to breathe talent into a humorless disciplinarian....

Whether this pol will achieve her lifelong ambition is a whole other story, and one that is yet to be seen. Writers are working on three different endings: In the first, she loses and goes back to the Senate, where she makes peace with her limits and destiny; in the second, she loses, makes Bill's life hell, and rages on at him and the world for the rest of eternity; in the third, she wins, Bill pulls her over the finish line, and they go back to the White House for four or eight years of the same old dynamic, but this time with her owing him. However it ends, it will be quite a story. It will be must-see TV.
Ending 1 is way too boring. Ending 2 makes the best TV show -- for my taste, at least. But I'm not watching it on TV, I'm watching it in the news and trying to blog, and from that perspective, I've got to say that Ending 3 looks juicier than Emery makes it sound. Nevertheless, I'm not hoping for the news that makes the best raw material for blogging. That would be evil.

13 comments:

vet66 said...

No matter which ending is chosen, the theme song for each will always be the same "Boom-chicka- wah-wah" of seventies "B" porn!

I find these two perfect for each other and tedious in their public/private presentation. They personify that portion of the 60's generation glorifying juvenile nihilism forever in search of affirmation and substance.

Razorbacks indeed!

SteveR said...

Ending 4: She wins and makes *my* life hell.

Jeff said...

stever beat me to it!

"she wins, makes Bill's life hell, and rages on at him and the world for the rest of eternity"

Stephen said...

One reason I like your blog, Ann, is that you put a nice button on many of your posts. This one was about the presidency, so you paraphrase one of our most (in)famous presidents: "But that would be wrong."

Zeb Quinn said...

Ending 3 is obviously the most intriguing. It will be tumultuous for sure no matter what, but does Thomas Wolfe kick in with the maxim "you can't go home again?" If so, at what point does it kick in, and where does it all unravel for them? Or, is it true, the rules really don't apply to the Clintons, including that one?

Meade said...

Evil intriguing juiciness: still evil
Boring: way underrated

John Stodder said...

The biq question to me is whether Hillary is electable or not.

PRO: She has remained a centrist on national security issues, bucking hurricane-force wind blowing left inside the party. The netroots are tying the other candidates down to extreme, unsustainable positions, but Hillary has, awkwardly at times, resisted. This is in keeping with her husband's "triangulation" strategy.

CON: Because they associate her with positions far more liberal than she has in fact pursued, conservative-leaning swing voters are less likely to vote for her than for, say, Obama. Meanwhile, the left hates triangulation and might punish her for it by staying home or running a futile third-party candidate.

As is always the case with the Clintons, her best bet is to play the cards she's dealt, to capitalize on her opponents' mistakes, and to play wedge politics.

The GOP seems especially wedge-able this election: The chances are good they'll nominate either a too-far-to-the-right candidate, or, by not doing that, cause a right-wing third party challenge. Perfect landscape for Hillary.

From Inwood said...

Ending 5

Hil wins & the rest of the world (Planet as her supporters would say) makes our life Hell since she's unable to deal with anyone at any level except bullying & no one outside the US believes that she can or will back up her bullying.

TMink said...

John wrote: "She has remained a centrist on national security issues, bucking hurricane-force wind blowing left inside the party."

I would change the word "remained" to "began." Those winds have moved the Senator left on the war in my view.

Trey

John Stodder said...

TMink,

It's all relative. She has certainly nodded, bowed and curtseyed to the left. But she hasn't quite caved yet. That's all I meant.

Cedarford said...

Tmink is right, the Democratic Base punishes centrism. It forces commonsense Senators to the Left to "excite" the moneymen of Hollywood, turn out the anti-American types. It is akin to those who claim that no Republican can win without the support of the Religious Right. (Which is, IMO, less true than any Dem in the Primaries without the Progressive Moguls, full black backing purchased by "more gov't benefits pledges, and fealty to Nutroots types.) The Republicans actually have fielded candidates that did well and who have dissed the Far Right all along the way.

The ideal candidates to the Dem Base are not the Hillarys, Dodds, Richardsons, and Bidens "compromised" by years of decisions and by lobbys - but the "true believers" or tabula rasas like the State Senator from Illinois.

With Hillary, my wish is she isn't the nominee, nor the unqualified "Magic Negro" who will absolve guilty liberals of all past "sins" if he is elected. With HRC, it is simple aversion to dynastic politics to me. We will have had 28 years with a Bush or Clinton in the Presidency or a heartbeat away from it. Is the fate of America to go 32 years of Bush alternating with Clintons? With Jeb Bush ready to take over in 2012 if Hillary falters or in 2016 if the country isn't ready for Chelsea yet?
Shall we shoot for a good 40 years of Bush-Clintons on the Inuaugural Stand?

We know from past dynasties like the Adams, Roosevelts, Kennedys, and apparantly the Bushes - that the sons and siblings aren't as good as the 1st version.

We have 300 million people in America. Surely we have better talent and possibilities than 2 families swapping places as President or VP for 30+ years.

Fen said...

the Democratic Base punishes centrism. It forces commonsense Senators to the Left to "excite" the moneymen of Hollywood, turn out the anti-American types

But Hillary is much smarter than her Democrat base. I oppose her, but admit it will be entertaining to watch her play them, and also stomp lightwieghts like Obama and Edwards. They are so doomed.

Not sure if America is willing to elect such a corrupt female as POTUS though. Esp if they get a glimpse of her monarchist behavior. I think its a prejudice, the same way women are cast as "bitchy" when they emulate what's normally praised as "strenth" in men. Americans might excuse the corruption of males like Bill or Rudy, but lash out at similar degrees of corruption from Hillary.

PatCA said...

I think it's going to be a rough campaign. Both Clintons have a long and public history now, providing plenty of opportunity for criticism, fair or not. She promised us two for one last time, and accomplished nothing.

I still think it's creepy to have a president back in the White House on his wife's coattails, like some third world dynasty. Media was horrified when W was suspected of calling HW for advice; do they really think Bill will be hosting luncheons all day? I mean, when he's not dating.

We need new blood!