Slate magazine is not generally regarded as a part of the vast right-wing conspiracy. In the week since New Hampshire, however, three of its writers have derided Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in strong and similar terms. For those old enough to remember the bitter divisions between supporters of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy in the spring of 1968, the tone of their comments suggests that the Clinton-Obama contest is going to leave deep scars.
First, Anne Applebaum argued that “the idea that Hillary is a very accomplished person because she was a star at Yale Law School, got involved in a few minor Washington issues, and had a decent career at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock before becoming a full-time presidential spouse just doesn’t hold water. . . . [H]er standing as a national political figure is derived solely from her marriage, and from nothing else. No man with that kind of personal biography would be considered electable.”
Yesterday, Christopher Hitchens chimed in with “The Case Against Hillary Clinton,” which was, in part, a case against a third term for the Clinton co-presidency. “What do you have to forget or overlook in order to desire that this dysfunctional clan once more occupies the White House and is again in a position to rent the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign donors and to employ the Oval Office as a massage parlor?” Speaking specifically of the Clinton who is nominally on the ballot in 2008, Hitchens says, “Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut.”
Finally, Timothy Noah called Hillary’s attempt to run as the “experienced” candidate a “lie.” If that’s the quality Democratic voters ought to focus on, Hillary, Obama and John Edwards should all step aside and ask Joe Biden back into the race, since he has been a U.S. senator longer than the three of them, combined, have held elective office. Since neither Obama nor Edwards is running on his slender c.v., Noah asks, “Where the hell does she come off claiming superior experience?” He concludes, “Clinton’s claim to superior experience isn’t merely dishonest. It’s also potentially dangerous should she become the nominee. . . . Dennis Kucinich has more government experience than Clinton. . . . If Clinton doesn’t find a new theme soon, she won’t just be cutting Obama’s throat. She’ll also be cutting her own.”