Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hillary gets a visit from the Blue Fairy

Hillary Clinton's victory in New Hampshire has surprised everyone, especially those whose business it is not to be surprised by such things. The media and the pollsters predicted an Obama win--a big one. Instead, they saw the Illinois senator have to settle for the consolation prize--or, as Mitt Romney likes to put it, the "silver".

How did Hillary win? The pundits, having consulted their augurs, say that it is because she cried. That's right: the thing that was said to have torpedoed Edmund Muskie in 1968 is today the ticket to success: showing you have emotions. This was particularly important for Hillary, who, it turns out, was suspected of not having any. In fact, as the post-primary commentary revealed, there was apparently some doubt, before the cameras captured her tearing up, as to whether she was actually human.

Commentator after commentator took refuge in the same explanation: Hillary won the New Hampshire primary because she showed voters that she was not, as rumored, an android. "Finally," said New York Magazine, "proof that Hillary is human." "Hillary's teary moment," said CNN, helped Hillary look "more human and more appealing." Whereas Edmund Muskie's show of emotion in the '68 New Hampshire primary caused doubt among voters as to his fitness for office, Hillary's show of emotion "humanized" her.

Unlike 1968, voters now apparently prefer someone from the species homo sapiens to serve in the nation's highest office. Me, I'm not so sure. I'm thinking I might prefer an android. Why? Because at least androids have enough sense not to say things like "I have found my voice."

It cannot be any coincidence that the discovery of her voice occurred almost simultaneously with her approving nod from the Blue Fairy. According to ABC News (in an article on the crying episode called, "Analysis: Hillary Clinton finds her voice"):
"It's very important to allow people to see her not only as a highly competent leader but also as a person who can connect on a human dimension," said Ruth Mandel, director of Rutgers University's Eagleton School of Politics. "She enriched her voice and she expanded her voice in New Hampshire, and that's how she found her voters." [emphasis added]
And now that Hillary has acquired this enriched and expanded voice that comes from the human dimension, she will be using it to tell us about her "heart":
"I come tonight with a very full heart," the suddenly "human" Hillary Clinton told screaming supporters at Southern New Hampshire University. "Over the past week, I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice."

"I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I’m so glad that you responded. Now together let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me." (NBC News) [Emphasis added]

Rest assured, you will be hearing a lot about Hillary's "heart" in the weeks to come--now that she has "found her voice". It is all a part of the campaign to make sure voters understand that she is, in fact, "human".

Far be it from me to question whether Hillary has a heart, or whether she is actually human. But I think she owes it to voters to provide some sort of medical documentation for the claim. If Obama is smart, he will demand as much in Michigan and South Carolina.

And speaking of Obama, his campaign has talked of little else but change. Could this end up helping Hillary? Although he has been the one talking about change, it is Hillary who has actually been the one doing the changing. Sure, Obama is young and charismatic, but when was the last time he morphed into anything?

Don't get me wrong: I think this is a positive development. In fact, if there is a welcome wagon or something for people who have just become humans, then I say send them down to her campaign headquarters. But the cynical part of me distrusts politicians who acquire their humanity right in the middle of a campaign. I'm also not entirely sure that I would not rather have politicians losing their voices than finding them--particularly if they're going to start talking about their bodily organs.

My guess is that this new human Hillary--the one who is using the new voice to go on and on about her heart--is going to start wearing thin. Before this campaign is over, voters will want the android back.

We want politicians who talk about change. We don't want them actually engaging in it.


Anonymous said...

What's sadder - that politicians pull these stunts or that voters buy into them? I am afraid we really do get the government we deserve.
[a non-partisan comment]


Kristina said...

My first thought when I saw this was, "if all else fails, cry."