I’m glad it ended this way. It could have ended differently. Hillary could have lost the New Hampshire primary five days after finishing third in the Iowa caucuses. Within one week of actual voters getting their say, her candidacy would have gone from inevitable to untenable.
Instead, she pulled off a surprise victory and lived to fight the next battle. She went on to interrupt her downward trajectory with other victories – Super Tuesday, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. After each one I despaired. Perhaps there really was no escape from a second Clinton presidency.
Now that I can exhale, I’m happy her repudiation was protracted rather than swift. Think of everything we would have missed if Hillary’s campaign had ended in January. We couldn’t have watched her go from being entitled to embattled to embittered to unhinged. We never would have learned the breathless details of the daring commando raid carried out by the Lioness of Tuzla. We would have been deprived of the spectacle of this graduate of Wellesley and Yale, whose family raked in $100 million over the past seven years, channeling George Wallace. Nor would we have seen the woman praised by her husband for having a “responsibility gene” boast that not a single economist endorsed her gas tax holiday, or claim that she had a plan to litigate OPEC out of existence.
Her defeat, of course, is their defeat. Finally, conservatives get two for the price of one. We’ve watched the trickle of liberal commentators who sign off on every mean and derogatory thing conservatives said about Bill and Hillary in the 1990s become an avalanche. His reputation is permanently, thoroughly diminished among the academics and journalists who will determine his legacy. And he did it for nothing. She lost.
Now that the Clintonian epoch is behind us, we need no longer be forced to ponder their grotesque and incomprehensible marriage. Emily Yoffe of Slate watched Bill as he stood behind Hillary in Indiana after Tuesday’s debacle, and imagined him thinking, “Hill, you haven’t got it. I’ve got it, and you haven’t, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Hill, guess what, all those years you sacrificed for my career – well, it turns out I wasn’t holding you back. You’re only on this stage because of me, and even so, now that it’s your turn and you had everything in your favor – Hill, you just haven’t got it. And let’s face it, Obama, he’s got it.”
Better still, the Clinton tenacity is a gift that keeps on giving. We’re now in the Wylie Coyote phase of the campaign, where she insists that if she keeps pumping her legs and doesn’t look down, she can run past the edge of the cliff as far as she likes. Coming soon to YouTube, Hillary’s press conference outside Obama’s inaugural ball, demanding to know why he can’t close the deal. It’s an amazing journey – from Eleanor Roosevelt to Harold Stassen in five excruciating, wonderful months.