Nostradamus in Nylons


"You know. I just, I don’t understand it," Hillary Clinton said last Friday, of calls for her to withdraw from the Democratic primaries.

Nor, it seems, does anybody else.

It took just a few minutes for Hillary’s ungainly utterance, in which she referred to the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy in her argument as to why the race wasn’t yet over, to find its way onto the world wide web. By then, any registered Democrat even mildly opposed to the gaudy indiscretions of the Clintons was feeling queasy. By then, those few urban liberals who’d forgiven months of HRC’s slips were aghast.

By then, I was sitting in a western Massachusetts home with Beth, my fuming hostess.

"No one understands you, you psycho bitch," said Beth to her postage-stamp Hillary. And as we crowded around Beth’s iBook, we couldn’t help but assent to this sentiment. Clinton, it seems, is eluded by a plot, a clue or a faithful constituency.

Here in the broken US, op-ed writers have their work cut out for them making sense of this campaign. When Hillary was asked by the Argus Leader newspaper in South Dakota to explain her tenacity in the face of stifling public disinterest, she came off like Nostradamus in nylons. If you’ve somehow dodged this wretched exchange, this is what Clinton said when asked why she continued to bother to pull her pant-suited arse about the primaries:

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it."

As Beth was busy turning her white iBook blush with a stream of learned abuse ("Bubba had it wrapped up long before June, you certifiable shrew" or, more bluntly, "you’re gone, psycho shill") I had to watch this disaster unfold several times before I understood its gist.

And it took me several beery conversations with locals later at a bar to understand its significance.

Clinton would prefer that we take her awkward words to mean that she was merely dismissing the idea that her run was over. Bill Clinton’s dash, she explained, was hardly complete by June. (Although Beth disputes this.) And Robert F Kennedy’s race was still being run when he claimed victory in California shortly before his infamous assassination.

Had Hillary’s expensive retinue taken a poll in the Obama stronghold of Hugo’s Bar, they’d be aghast at the paucity of their spin. Like many US commentators, the drinkers were horrified at HRC’s Manchurian Candidate swagger.

Sane Americans are alert and sensitive to history. Unstuck, self-assertive Muppets like Mike Huckabee are not. (If you’ve already digested lunch, watch him court an NRA crowd with "gags" about the assassination of Obama.) Hillary should know better.

But, as she’s told the press a thousand times this past weekend, "the Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days." Hence the Bobby reference. As the beloved Massachusetts senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy wrestles with a brain tumor, he leaves behind an impeccably liberal voting record and a documented penchant for Obama. Nonetheless, Hillary was so moved by his plight that she enacted the gaffe of the campaign.

Beth is still laughing and Ted Kennedy’s constituents are still evolving theories from within the late night fug of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

"She knows she’s lost," said a local hipster. "And now she’s doing her best to screw it up for the Party."

"This is McCain’s year," said another from behind a fall of emo hair.

And then he warned me to watch out for Hillary M II in 2012.

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