Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Happy Ending

She’s Still Here!
Published: June 4, 2008

Part of the drama of the primary season has been watching Maureen Dowd scramble every Tuesday night to stick some news peg into her Wednesday column. Her sportswriter training taught her a valuable tip about writing on deadline: Have all the post-game analysis written before the players take the field. That way all you have to do is stick the scores in the right place and file the article before last call.

The “winner” of the final primary has been a foregone conclusion for a while and pundits have been waiting for the Kabuki theater to play out. The only suspense has been what will Hillary say. And if you were expecting a gracious concession, you’d be disappointed. Here is Dowd’s sigh of exasperation with one final none-too-subtly disguised Obambi:

He thought a little thing like winning would stop her?

Oh, Bambi.

Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn’t met the Clintons.

If Hillary could not have an acceptance speech, she wasn’t going to have acceptance.
And the acceptance line is first of several Dowdversions®. The much better one is:
But even as Obama was trying to savor, Hillary was refusing to sever.
As befits a valedictory farewell, several common Dowd themes are recalled, dusted off, and buffed up. If Bill Clinton is The Big Dog, then Hillary is a yappie Jack Russell Terrier that refuses to admit to being outmatched:
Barry has been trying to shake off Hillary and pivot for quite a long time now, but she has managed to keep her teeth in his ankle and raise serious doubts about his potency.
And potency is just one of a few emasculating asides. Seriously, can anyone else get away with calling Barrack a sistah?
Hillary’s camp radiated the message that Obama was a sucker who had played by the rules on Florida and Michigan, and then reached an appeasing compromise, and that such a weak sister could never handle Putin or I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket.
And Maureen will use that Iranian rhyming slang until her last dying day.

Another common theme is Obama as Magical Negro, although perhaps with a devilish twist:
As he was reaching the magic number of delegates, she was devilishly stealing the spotlight.
We get yet another random Movies With Maureen® reference to Gone With The Wind :
She did not bat her eyelashes at him and proclaim him Rhett Butler instead of Ashley Wilkes.
In order to inject some actual analysis, she posits two theories about Hillary’s against all hope last ditch strategy:
Theory No. 1 is that it’s the Cassandra “I told you so” gambit: She believes intensely that he’s too black, too weak and too elitist — with all his salmon and organic tea and steamed broccoli — to beat her pal John McCain. But she has to pretend she’ll do “whatever it takes,” even accept the vice presidency, a job she’s already had and doesn’t want again, so that nobody will blame her when he loses on Nov. 4. Then she can power on to 2012.

Theory No. 2 is that it’s a “Bad stuff happens” maneuver, exemplified in her gaffe about the R.F.K. assassination, that she figures that at least if she moves a few blocks from Embassy Row to the Naval Observatory, she’ll be a heartbeat away from the job she’s always wanted.
Rather than dwell on the RFK analogy, I prefer to call this the We Are Marshall Strategy. Accidents happen and it is best to be prepared. Either theory relies on Obama listening to the demands that Hillary has earned a place on the ticket. And Maureen has a response:
“It would be,” said one influential Democrat, “like finding out there’s no tooth fairy.”
And Hillary knows all about fairy tales. She just can’t quite catch that happy-ever-after ending. In the meantime she is just sitting in the theater watching the credits roll wondering what happened to her script.

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