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Richelieu: Clinton's Real Problem

11:52 AM, Nov 1, 2007 • By RICHELIEU
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Hillary Clinton fumbles a debate and I'm shocked, shocked to hear the tiresome howls of a gender excuse. It's amazing, really. In the special reality of Hillary-world, First Lady experience = Presidential
experience; being the Democratic frontrunner = rightful Place in History; and yet suffering the frontrunner's inevitable position of receiving slings and arrows from the competition at a TV debate is the political equivalent of a wilding. Pouting, Madame President, is unpresidential and not the style of wannabe commanders in chief.

Although it is their spastic instinct whenever attacked, I think Das Hillary Apparat is making a big mistake with this ridiculous battered-candidate defense. To win, HRC needs to be more than a gender candidate. Yet this whining is a quick retreat into that limiting corner.

Hillary's real problem, both in the debate and across the campaign, is also her big problem; she's a little too clever by half. Dodgy answers, parsing phrases, using gender to seek special treatment, transparently fake sincerity, multiple accents ... it all adds up to a slippery ooze of intellectual dishonesty. That's not at all uncommon in politics, to be fair, but somehow it's even a little more off-putting from Ms. Clinton, who seems to wrap up her sophistry under a big bow of smugness.

In an election where the hunger for big political change is ravenous, it is Clinton's tired and cynical style, not just the chronology of her career, that makes her the candidate of yesterday's politics, not tomorrow's. And that is poison. Watch Obama begin to climb.