Thursday, December 25, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Hillary Clinton

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"Pity this busy monster, manunkind, not.” – E. E. Cummings

Hillary Clinton’s book rollout has had all the excitement of one of those sequels to a summer blockbuster – it’s something that you really aren’t dying to see but you end up buying the ticket anyway.

With the calculated leaks, the carefully-scheduled interviews, the appearances that aren’t officially about hyping the book but really are – it can leave an audience member wanting something more than a bag of stale political popcorn.

Clinton’s only “spontaneity” during her current relaunch has been a massive gaffe when she told Diane Sawyer that she and her husband, Bill, left the White House “dead broke” – causing even her pal Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to tweak her.

But just when things get dark for Clinton, some sunlight is usually right around the corner. And the piling-on during the unveiling of the Hillary Model 4.0 is getting a little – dare I say it? – unfair.

In a fascinating interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Clinton yesterday got detoured through a rabbit hole when trying to explain the evolution of her stance on gay marriage.

“I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage, and I don’t think you probably did, either,’’ Clinton told Gross, who was tough but fair in the grilling of the former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State.

While Gross had to all but pull Clinton’s teeth to get an answer out of her, her lengthy response made a lot of sense: Clinton, like many people 20 years ago, wasn’t a supporter of gay marriage – but her position changed.

The anti-Clinton Twitter and Blogosphere explosion following the interview, though, was intense with the Washington Post even providing a humorous diagram of her explanation.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, pundit and author John Heilemann also weighed in on Clinton’s re-unveiling.

“I don't think she's handled things well at all this week," said Heilemann, who appeared with his “Game Change” co-author Mark Halperin. “She was very rusty. Mark said earlier he thought the book... was 'mush and the interview was 'tone deaf,' I thought that was probably true.”

But did anyone really expect anything but some well-heated mush in a political book by Hillary Clinton? And with all of the polarization in Washington, is triangulation such a dumb thing?

Clinton isn’t banking on being the best speaker at the rally; she’s channeling Lisa Simpson – the person who you want to do your taxes. This was her plan eight years ago; when she mocked Barack Obama on the presidential campaign trail, saying: “You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear.”

It will also take more than a magic wand or a week of lousy publicity to make Hillary Clinton disappear. It’s a movie franchise that keeps churning out sequels.

Bob Hardt

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