What is it about the summer season that causes pundits to initiate wild tales about Hillary Clinton that are patently unlikely or untrue? Do their brains cook in the heat? Last summer, on these pages, we dealt with a series of Vampire Tales that refused to die.
As you can see, these tales that would not die started in early July and did not die out until late January. Now the whole circus begins again.
I left untouched, and probably should not have, the speculation that Hillary Clinton would replace Robert Gates at Defense. It was a ridiculous scenario. For once we have Secretaries of Defense and State who genuinely are a tight team, respect and like each other aaaannnd AGREE! Why would ANYbody break that up? But, of course, that little unfounded rumor had to spawn something bigger. I present, for your careful inspection, the Hillary as VP meme.
Gewirtz claims to have voted for both Democrats and Republicans and acknowledges voting for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. According to Gewirtz, “At various times in my life, I’ve called myself a Republican and at other times, a Democrat. These days, both parties have sufficiently pissed me off that I’m pretty much an independent.”
Seems non-partisan enough. By mid-June this meme was drop-kicked first by Sally Quinn at the Washington Post and then by Colleen O’Connor at the San Diego News Network. I do not know anything about O’Connor, but I do know that the waters have never been calm between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sally Quinn since the former FLOTUS first set foot in D.C. One has to wonder what her agenda is in moving this story forward.
The biggest splash came with Douglas Wilder’s Op-Ed at Politico. By last week, the story had made it all the way to the Wall Street Journal having made a stop a week ago at Chris Matthews Sunday morning network TV spot – serious discussion, I am told. I missed it because I was watching my friend Will Bower on Fox discussing the Democratic Party’s “Change Commission” on Primary reform (which is code for no change/no reform).
So what of these sources? All but Wilder have not held elected office, and what his motivation might have been has borne speculation itself. Several of the others (Quinn, Matthews & Co.) have shown protracted, open hostility to our Homegirl-in-Chief in the past. Why would they tout her for VP?
The obvious answer is Obama’s tanking approval rating. Their boy is in trouble, and they want one-time lifeguard, Hillary Clinton, whose approval ratings are the highest in the administration to keep him afloat. The story has survived for more than two months and continues to make news – the mark of a truly strong Vampire Tale.
If the DNC were smart (and we know they are not), they would realize that the problem is not the Vice President. It is Obama’s pitiful performance in office. Would Hillary on the ticket keep him afloat? Maybe. Maybe NOT! If she were VP certainly she would transform that post as we all stood by dazzled. It would assure Hillary-watchers of years of spectacle. But, you see, neither is the Vice Presidency in need of transformation, no, not any more than Joe Biden as VP is the problem.
If Hillary Clinton were president, she would transform the executive branch in the same way that she is tranforming the State Department. She would order reviews at all departments like Defense’s QDR and the QDDR she initiated at State. These reviews would result in recommendations for streamlining and updating agencies and practices that have been allowed to stagnate. She would bring the executive branch, finally, into the 21st century. Ironic, is it not, that the candidate everyone said would be transformative is not. But the Secretary of State, she is a change-agent extraordinaire!
Our American practice seems to be that if you fail, we provide tutoring and remediation. We need to rethink that as an application to the highest office in the land. We might start by killing off this vampire tale of Hillary as VP with a mighty stake, and replacing it with a real prospect for this country, that of a truly transformative, brilliant, hard-working, and creative, dedicated candidate at the top of the ticket where she has always belonged but now more than ever.
(I believe the adorable gifs are the handiwork of Homegirl Conanincharge. If they don’t play, try clicking on them, and they will open in a new window and play.)
From Team Hillary Clinton just for this blog: