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Asides

Clinton out of control

Op-Ed Columnist

Combat and Composure

 

Published: May 6, 2008

Life is short, but campaigns are long. And during the course of them, each candidate will have impressive and pathetic moments. But underlying the highs and lows, there are the fundamentals. The fundamentals of the Obama-Clinton race were on display Sunday morning.

David Brooks

 

Hillary Clinton went on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” incarnating her role as the first Democratic Rambo. The Clinton campaign seems to want to reduce the entire race to one element: the supposed masculinity gap. And so everything she does is all about assertion, combat and Alpha dog dominance.

A few questions in, Clinton rose from her chair and loomed over Stephanopoulos. The country hasn’t seen such a brazen display of attempted middle-aged physical intimidation since Al Gore took a walkabout on the debate stage with George Bush. It was like watching someone get elbowed in a dark alley by their homeroom teacher.

But her attempt to take over the show was nothing compared with her attempt to dominate the truth. For the first 30 minutes, she did not utter a single candid word, including, as Mary McCarthy would say, “and” and “the.”

She peddled her sham gas-tax holiday and repeated her attempt to blame Indiana’s job losses on outsourcing and Nafta. Stephanopoulos asked her to name a single economist who thinks a tax-holiday plan would work, and the daughter of Wellesley and Yale took the chance to shove the geeks into their lockers: “I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.”

When Stephanopoulos pointed out that Paul Krugman, a Times columnist, has raised doubts about the plan, Clinton lumped Krugman in with the Bush administration and said she wasn’t going to listen to the people responsible for the last seven years.

This wasn’t just shameless spin, it was shamelessness with a purpose. Clinton signaled that she wasn’t going to concede even an inch to the vast elitist conspiracy. She wasn’t going to feel guilty about ignoring the evidence. She was going to stomp on it, flay it and leave it a twisted mass of jelly quivering on the ground. She was going to perform the primordial duty of an alpha dog leader — helping one’s own.  Link to complete story New York Times>>

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