LOS ANGELES, February 19, 2015 — Hillary Clinton is in hiding. On February 2, she peered out, saw her shadow, and declared six more months of evasion. This is more than just political strategy. In Hillary’s case, it is a matter of political survival.
Start by dismissing the ridiculous. She is running for President. She has a burning ambition for the job that has never cooled. She loves power as much as any other candidate. The idea that she has not made up her mind is inane. She is raising money at a rapid clip and getting the old gang back together with all the tenacity of Bruce Willis’s crew in “Red.”
Unlike Helen Mirren, Hillary is definitely not a straight shooter. Her claim that she has no need to comment on issues right now is also false. When asked about the Keystone Pipeline, she refused to take a stand. Conversely, she happily tweeted out her opinion at the height of the brief kerfuffle over whether parents should vaccinate their children. The former position would have forced her to choose between an unpopular President Obama and the majority of the voting public. The latter had President Obama and most of the people on the same side.
It takes little courage to take a stand after everybody else has already done so. This is about as brave as predicting the Super Bowl winner after the game has ended.
Hillary is in hiding because she knows what her most fervent supporters either refuse to see or know deep down but will never publicly admit. The idea of Hillary has always been more popular than the actual person. The more people see of Mrs. Clinton, the less they like of her. When she opens her mouth on controversial issues, her support plummets.
Hillary gets her highest approval ratings when she is out of the public eye or is playing the victim. When her husband humiliated her by cavorting with Monica Lewinsky, Hillary became a sympathetic victim. When Rick Lazio walked toward her podium during a debate, she milked the victim card for all it was worth. When candidate Barack Obama pompously intoned, “You’re likable enough Hillary,” she shed one crocodile tear that powered her to an upset win in the 2008 New Hampshire primary.
The real Hillary has never been as likable or as liked as her husband. Bill Clinton is a master at charming people. Hillary gets their hackles up. Her role as Secretary of State helped her rise in the polls and got her out of the country and way from political conflict. She was able to sip tea with people while exchanging pleasantries with people who say nothing and do nothing. This was the exact reverse from her heavy-handed attempt to remake the healthcare system. She was abrasive, combative and in the end ineffective. She was relegated to the sideline for the rest of her husband’s presidency, allowed to come out only when the Lewinsky scandal threatened her and Bill’s power.
The big mistake people make about Hillary is assuming that she stands for nothing. That would be Bill Clinton, who relied on pollster Dick Morris to tell him what to believe on any given day. Hillary is closer to Obama, a woman with very strong leftist beliefs who wants to keep them hidden until after she is elected. She is every bit as liberal as Senator Elizabeth Warren, but hopes to keep that hidden by acting sane. Hillary can scream with all the passion of any leftist protester, but hiding allows her to keep that side of her in check. Screaming did not bode well for Howard Dean’s candidacy, and it would not help Hillary either.
Hillary is seen as more disciplined than her husband, but this is not true when it comes to campaigning. Bill had to try and suppress his physical appetites. Hillary struggles to suppress her angry, nasty side. The only way to do this is to release carefully staged photos of her holding her grandchild. When she discusses politics, she lacks the ability to hide her utter contempt for people who disagree with her. Obama successfully hid this negative character trait in 2008. Hillary stays out of the way to avoid conflict before conflict becomes beneficial.
Hillary Clinton is a bright woman. She knows she is a polarizing figure with liberal political views that are out of the mainstream in a center-right nation. Her husband was a true moderate. Hillary went along for the ride. Even her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and her vote for the authorization to go to war in Iraq were more about political expediency and calculated positioning than a true evolution. John Kerry tried that strategy as the Democrat presidential nominee and it failed.
The most important reason Hillary is hiding deeper in the weeds than Waldo is because after spending four decades in politics, she still cannot answer the most basic fundamental questions. Why does she want to be President? What qualifies her for the job?
The politically toxic answers she cannot give are that she wants the job because of the power and she has nothing in her background that translates into any political successes. She has never passed any legislation. Her tenure at Foggy Bottom produced no significant achievements and ended the way every Hillary Clinton episode ends, with scandal. Her screeching “What difference at this point does it make” during the Benghazi hearings will be played over and over again, and rightfully so. That is who Hillary really is to many people, a cold, unfeeling, uncaring, unlikable person willing to let innocent people die to protect her own political power and ambitions.
If she had the ability to alter this view, she would have already done it. She knows that the more people see of her, the less they like. Her only hope is to hide for as long as possible and hopes the media gives her a free pass like they did with Obama for much of the last decade.
Until then, she will spend every waking minute holding her grandchild in one hand and a telephone in her other hand. Raising money and talking to pollsters away from the public eye will give her time to learn what she is supposed to think, feel, believe and say in her carefully parsed realistic remarks.
She can run, and she can hide. She is running, and she is hiding. It is her only chance at winning.