Oh oh oh. Six weeks ago it was still possible to see something forlorn, even tragic, in the the parabolic arc of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yes, she’s worth tens of millions of dollars. Yes, she supported the Iraq war, and signed on for the usual Zionist-bot Middle Eastern politics of American liberalism. Yes, she sat on the board of Wal-Mart, union-busting town-wrecking behemoth. And yes, she wouldn’t be in striking distance of the Oval Office if she hadn’t been married to one of the great natural politicians of the last twenty-five years. Yes, yes, and yes.

But it was still possible to feel the bittersweet poignancy of the jam she was in – having stuck by that slobbering bag of appetites, her spouse, and gained eight years experience of the difficulties of even the mildest reforming presidency — having, it would seem, a greater desire to make real change than did Bill, she was now seeing her ultimate end, of a presidency bent on reform and tempered by realism put out of reach by the very means by which she got anywhpoliticianere near it.

Cruel fate! It seemed to encapsulate all the dilemmas and disappointments of the first generation of second wave feminism – that by the time the world had changed to make their wildest dreams and ambitions possible, a rising generation would prove more interesting. One wept, for life’s brevity, for its paradox, for ourselves reaching for the heavens perpetually dragged back to earth while clutching at the stars. And, yes, one wept for Hillary.

Now? Now she can go f-ck herself. Her latest move in the interminable Democrat dance of death has been to call criticism of this populist, mad, gas tax holiday idea has been to dismiss them as the concerns of ‘elite economists’. Elite economists. God oh god. A small phrase itself, but how pointed. The target may be Obama first and foremost, but the general means of attack has been drawn, as critics had earlier charged, straight from the Republican playbook – attach the idea of elitism to anything that isn’t a sort of knitting-needle-lobotomy celebration of the can-do spirit.

It’s a direct appeal to the Homer Simpson part of the brain. Maths? Sums? Long term calculations? Possible unintended counterproductive consequences? Nothing is heard by the brain but ‘must….have ….donuts- Donuts….arrrggghhhh’. Or cheap gas, or easy foreign conquest, or whatever.

It’s yet another example of Hillary basically campaigning for McCain – McCampaigning as twere. Given that rivers of blood, metaphorical or otherwise, will need to flow for Hillary to get the nomination, each and every attempt to distinguish herself by an appeal to the populist idea that she is Roseanne — without the multiple personality disorders, recovered memories of abuse, body image disorders, um eating disorders, oh gosh, (contd in appendix one) – is effectively a blow for the Republicans.

Yeah, the fault is partly the system (the system, man) which has turned this into a bizarre three-cornered contest, and yeah, Obama has tried to wipe out Hills as a candidate by suggesting – mostly in vain – that he considers McCain the enemy. But he’s by and large observed a limit on how far to go – and maybe he shouldn’t – in really going after the Clintons for the chaos in the last years of the 90s.

That is mostly self-interested of course – he thinks he’s got the nomination sewn up, and he doesn’t want to give out any more ammo to the GOP than he has to. But it was also a line he did not step over in the earlier days, when the contest was real. Possibly, I’m naive, but it seemed to me there was a smidgeon more commitment to the party than was displayed from Camp Clinton, big surprise.

With the ‘Elite economists’ remark, Clinton is displaying the ruthlessness and resolve that Obama should be displaying – but with such a chaotic and destructive energy attached, recklessness rather than audacity. Is it calculated? Is it predicated purely on the knowledge that Tuesday’s contests in Indiana and North Carolina have been set up as, god help us, Super Tuesday III (III?!!), taken as yet another watershed, must win, blah di blah.

Or is it by now uncontrollable, a blood in the nostrils sort of thing? The candidates have been talking for so long now, that they’re barely responsible for about 40% of what they say. McCain basically admitted that Iraq was a war-for-oil last week, while Hillary herself accidentally admitted that she had to win North Carolina to stay ‘conmpetitive’ in the weird meta-sense she is.

Quite likely it’s both, a sort of political angel gear – turn off the motor and point the rig down hill to see what happens. It’s a wild ride, so long as you understand the gravity of the situation.

Oh and there was a primary in Guam, which was a draw, pretty much. Hilarious. First chance to make a difference, and they pull a draw. No wonder they don’t have citizenship.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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