It's been more than a quarter-century since Bill and Hillary Clinton emerged on the national landscape, and we still don't get Hillary Clinton. That apparently is the belief of cautiously optimistic Democratic operatives after Donald Trump narrowed Clinton's lead in the polls last week.
The Washington Post reports: “One new goal for Clinton now, aides said, is to spend more time trying to connect directly with voters by sharing a more personal side of herself — and by telling them where she wants to take the country.”
Of course, undecided voters don't have to wait for Clinton to tell them where she'd take the country. Anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection can examine her track record as first lady, senator from New York and Secretary of State and form a reasonable idea of who she is and where she'd take the country. No doubt many have, and her polls have sagged as a result.
But let's pretend like Hillary's consultants know what they're doing, and the problem is people just don't know the real Hillary yet.
Clinton has made a career out of being misunderstood, so is naturally on board with the plan. Last week, on the popular touchy-feely blog Humans of New York, she admitted she can be perceived as “aloof or cold or unemotional” and that people just don't get her.
“I’m not Barack Obama. I’m not Bill Clinton,” she reassured us. “Both of them carry themselves with a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences. ... They work and they practice what they’re going to say. It’s not that they’re trying to be somebody else. But it’s hard work to present yourself in the best possible way. You have to communicate in a way that people say: ‘OK, I get her.’ And that can be more difficult for a woman.”
The 68-year-old Clinton further explains that because there were fewer female role models when she was growing up, she modeled her speaking style off of male mentors, and that's why it looks out-of-place when she waves her arms around and sounds grating when she screams into microphones. Men can get away with it, women can't, no matter how much corporate banks pay for her speeches.
For the record, the only male who's ever gotten away with it is Gilbert Gottfried, but anyway, we're just getting to know the real Hillary. Perhaps sensing that time's a-wasting, Clinton brought everyone up to date last Friday night, at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser in New York City: “I know there are only 60 days left to make our case — and don’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think well he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic (sic), you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables (sic). Right?”
What's a deplorable, according to Clinton? Anyone who exhibits any of the following symptoms:
“The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people—now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric.”
Clinton was obviously referring to the controversial alt-right political movement that exists mostly online, supports Trump's candidacy and mercilessly trolls Clinton supporters, liberals and other so-called social justice warriors. Republicans—many of whom have by no means embraced the alt-right—accused Clinton of casting too wide of a net, branding millions of Republicans “deplorable.” Proving once again her campaign has learned nothing from Trump, Clinton apologized.
Here's the problem with that: Clinton, perhaps speaking off the cuff, is more right than perhaps she even knows. More than any other issue, even immigration, Trump has been running against political correctness, recognizing that deplorable adjectives such as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic are used to silence any debate concerning their respective issues. Political correctness is the tool the establishment uses to set the limits of the debate. A few examples:
Anyone who doesn't support Black Lives Matter is a racist. Anyone who suggests the unborn may have civil rights is a sexist. Anyone who thinks a Christian baker should not be forced to bake a gay wedding cake is a homophobe. Anyone who doesn't support open borders is a xenophobe. Anyone who points out the latest terrorist act was carried out by Muslims is an Islamophobe.
All of the above terms were once sufficient to shame into submission all but the most hardened neo-Nazis and right-wing evangelicals. Now, after Huffington Post has been using all of the terms in Clinton's basket of deplorables in a disclaimer at the bottom of every story it runs on Trump for the past year, after every mainstream news organization has joined in the piling on of pejoratives, the words have lost their sting, and millions of people who used to feel stung—yes, mostly white people weary of being scapegoated and ignored—are speaking out, with their political choice.
Clinton is 100 percent correct that we're in a volatile political environment. Our allegedly long-delayed national conversation on race is playing out in professional sports stadiums across the country as I write. According to some estimates, there may be as many as 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States—no one knows the upper limit. The U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China fight over the emerging new world order even as the global economy appears to be mired in an ongoing economic slump. The very tenets of globalism -- open borders and free trade -- have been called into question.
With political correctness gone out the window and three presidential debates in the upcoming weeks, I was looking forward to a vibrant national discussion like one that's never occurred during my lifetime. But as I was writing this on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the news came in that Hillary Clinton had left early from a service at the Manhattan 9/11 memorial after experiencing a “medical episode.”
A video filmed by a private citizen attending the event showed Clinton stumbling and falling off a curb as she attempted to step into a van. If members of her entourage hadn't caught her, she might have hit her head one more time.
I was really hoping that Clinton's health would turn out to be a non-issue drummed up by Tea Party remnants, who've been pushing it non-stop since she declared her candidacy. After countless coughing fits, two seizures caught on video and this latest fall, it's clear that it is an issue. Now even seasoned establishment journalists like Tom Brokaw are calling for Clinton to release her medical records. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign has claimed Hillary was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday—which doesn't explain why she's been coughing her brains out for the past year.
Has the Democratic National Committee been covering up her health issues the entire time, even as it rigged the primaries against Sen. Bernie Sanders? How sick is she? Is she well enough to carry the battle to Trump in the coming debates? Is it too late to replace her with, say, Vice President Joe Biden? Bernie Sanders?
At this point in time, it's still Hillary Clinton's election to lose. Unfortunately for Clinton supporters, she's showing that she's entirely capable of accomplishing that task.