Saturday, March 1, 2008

Live From New York: It's Hillary Clinton

I'm tired of being snarky about Hillary Clinton. I don't like being mean to people, and I think that once she puts her Presidential ambitions behind her and settles into being a Senator (and a liberal one, instead of constantly voting for the war, bankruptcy "reform", and other conservative causes as part of her triangulation for the Presidency), she'll do a great job for New York.

In the meantime, though, her previously inexorable campaign continues to sag, and her appearance tonight on Saturday Night Live -- which explains her mysterious disappearance from the campaign trail earlier today -- is yet another example of judgment that's just half a bubble off of level.

I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. The SNL skit is a fun little piece. Clinton came across as pleasant, lighthearted, likable. It's always endearing when people who are supposed to be above such things have sufficient humor and humility to laugh at themselves, like Richard Nixon did when he deadpanned "Sock it to me!" on Rowan & Martin's "Laugh In." And on a personal level, after eleven straight losses to Obama, it had to be refreshing for her to get back in front of a friendly, home-town NYC audience.

Early in the primary season, a SNL appearance would have been a great tactical move (as Obama's November 2007 SNL appearance was). And after the primary was over, win or lose, it would have been simply fun (as ex-contender Rudy Giuliani's appearance later on tonight's show was). But was it smart doing this right now, with her candidacy on the ropes and the decisive primaries coming up in three days? Eh, not so much. It took her off the campaign trail for over half a day, and reminded everyone how she whined in the last debate about getting disparate treatment from the press (reinforced by a SNL skit making fun of that incident).

It doesn't help, either, that most of the press so far -- including media outlets in upcoming primary-election markets ranging from Cleveland and Dayton, OH to Houston, New Braunfels, and the Rio Grande Valley, TX to Carlisle and Pittsburgh, PA to Casper, WY, as well as NPR and USA Today nationwide -- is emphasizing the negative facts that Clinton's campaign isn't going well and that SNL is "absolutely not" endorsing Clinton. The skit made jokes out of these issues, but those facts were still reinforced.

Bottom line: her SNL detour was the right move at the wrong time, which makes it the wrong move. And poor timing is not the mark of the experienced, savvy campaigner Clinton claims to be.

Was it fun, both for viewers and for her? Sure. Does it demonstrate that HRC actually has a sense of humor, a human side? Absolutely, if we give her the benefit of the doubt and don't assume it was a purely calculated move by Harold Ickes (and we ignore the facts that while she was being oh-so-likable on-air, her campaign was simultaneously distributing negative ads about Obama and continuing to complain about getting negative treatment from the media).

Most imortantly, from her perspective: will appearing on SNL give her a boost with younger voters who currently are flocking to Barack Obama? I'm sure it will -- about as much of a boost as Mike Huckabee got from his SNL appearance just last week and his multiple Colbert Report appearances: specifically, a "bump" from back-bencher all the way up to second place.

The problem is, Hillary's not a back-bencher, she's not angling for a VP slot like Huckabee may be, and she's already in second place, so she doesn't have as much to gain from a good-natured detour like this as someone like Huckabee does. Tonight's bit of good fun was yet another error of judgment on Clinton's part, probably costing her more than it gains, which again underscores that she's not the sophisticated pol she claims to be. Hillary, no matter how hard she pretends otherwise, isn't Bill, and never will be.

But she'll be a great Senator, hopefully for a long time, once the primaries are over and she settles into the realization that being a great Senator from a great state is, after all, a tremendous honor, and more than enough. And, living in New York, it won't take her the best part of a critically important day to go play on Saturday Night Live.


mb said...

*The biased, slanted media continues to push B.O. and slam Senator Clinton. CNN spews the worst garbage, followed by FOX and MSNBC. Every effort to try to help Obama gain the nomination. Pure bias. They should be censored. Clinton is clearly denigrated in the press/tv talking heads while the freshman senator B.O. is praised. Clinton is the most qualified to lead this nation in foreign policy anddomestic issues. B.O. is all talk and no substance. Go Hilliary, in spite of the biased press you will get the nomination. Hillary for pres in 08.

earleccs said...

You are so correct timing is everything and it was the wrong time for her to do this skit. What I have noticed about Hillary over the last two weeks is that you can actually see the gears in motion, or the motive behind her actions, surreal like, this has left me an unnerving feeling especially from watching her personality changes over the years. If Senator Obama has some personal motive other then doing what’s best for this country you can’t see, but at the same time you feel connected. Even his book Audacity of Hope is written so well with no co-author.

Anonymous said...

ALL I can say is Hillary is a fighter of the people (period). Wake up DEMOCRATS. HILLARY IS THE BIONIC CANDIDATE.

Anonymous said...

HILLARY OVER OBAMA. Why?????????????

1. Rezko

2. bamboozling US

Anonymous said...

Readers, please note: the top comment, by mb, is an exact copy of a comment mb left on my last post -- the kind of "xeroxing" Clinton herself pretends to dislike. In that earlier thread, I answered some of the issues mb raised. But my main point is to note the unthinking nature of some anti-Obama criticism. I'm always glad to enter into fact-based debate with living humans; but it's hard to debate the "paste" function on someone's keyboard.

Anonymous said...

yeah but what about the updates amos 'n' andy animated piece....with revs. sharpton and jackson....
astoundingly condescending race
crud that nbc perpetrated...
don't you think....??

Anonymous said...

Gosh! I would have never thought the Saturday Night Live intro could be mucked up like this! I guess it's a first time for everything...hmmm
How DESPERATE can this individual be?? What's next?