The power of words

In the aftermath of last night’s Democratic presidential debate, the consensus seems to be that Hillary’s “change you can Xerox” line was an embarassing, disingenuous clunker and that her closing comments were a genuine moment that effectively showed her soft side.

Slate’s John Dickerson seems to capture the CW. He calls the Xerox line “a bad moment,” an unclever remark “cooked up by committee.” He called her closing remarks “her best of the night” because they “showed her heart and a little humanity.” I beg to differ.

Here is what she said (video), in response to the question of how she had been tested in a moment of crisis:

CLINTON: Well, I think everybody here knows I’ve lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. And…


And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans.

But people often ask me, “How do you do it?” You know, “How do you keep going?” And I just have to shake my head in wonderment, because with all of the challenges that I’ve had, they are nothing compared to what I see happening in the lives of Americans every single day.

You know, a few months ago, I was honored to be asked, along with Senator McCain, as the only two elected officials, to speak at the opening at the Intrepid Center at Brooke Medical Center in San Antonio, a center designed to take care of and provide rehabilitation for our brave young men and women who have been injured in war.

And I remember sitting up there and watching them come in. Those who could walk were walking. Those who had lost limbs were trying with great courage to get themselves in without the help of others. Some were in wheelchairs and some were on gurneys. And the speaker representing these wounded warriors had had most of his face disfigured by the results of fire from a roadside bomb.

You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country.

And I resolved at a very young age that I’d been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted.

That’s what gets me up in the morning. That’s what motivates me in this campaign.


And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest — and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored.


Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that’s what this election should be about.

First, she for the umpteenth time perversely and unsubtly alludes to and somehow tries to take credit for the fact she chose to stay married to a lying, philandering scumbag for decades in order to advance her political ideas. It’s mind-boggling.

Second, she segues ever-so-crudely into the prefabricated, prescripted heart-tugging anecdote in a transparent effort to demonstrate to voters she is not just an adding machine wearing a blonde wig and an ugly outfit. The moderator could have asked Hillary to explain the quadratic equation and she would have uncorked this manipulative nonsense. I imagine advisers Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson unzipping the back of Hillary’s blouse during one of the commercial breaks and pulling down a flap in the middle of her back to reveal a bunch of circuitry, a la Vicky in “Small Wonder“:

Penn: Where’s the “emote” button on this damn contraption?

Ugh. The male version of this robot was great at emoting. Had trouble controlling the mating function, though.

So it was a prefab, partly borrowed “genuine moment.” So what? In a way, that makes it worse when you parse what she actually said because you realize she spent all day practicing this claptrap and didn’t realize how horrible it was.

She says the par-for-the-course political attacks she’s received thanks to her vaunted 35 years of experience are nothing compared to the struggles of other Americans, especially soldiers who have been crippled in battle. But to whom, exactly, would it even occur to make this comparison? In what galaxy is Hillary a sympathetic or pitiable figure?

Let’s see. She is one of the richest people in the richest country in world history. Win or lose this campaign, she is virtually assured of two or three more decades as one of the 100 most powerful people in the world’s most powerful deliberative body — her incumbency to be perfunctorily interrupted every six years by a campaign against an underfunded, overmatched opponent. Yes, of course, she is “going to be fine.” More than fine. Who would suggest otherwise, except in a bogus attempt to “connect”?

Even Hillary’s vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to acknowledge her incredible good fortune is undercut by her self-serving evocation of wounded soldiers. The ugly truth that sits astride Hillary’s talk of faces disfigured by roadside bombs is that it was her vote, and her vocal support, that helped send those soldiers to the war where they were wounded. She has never even had the simple decency to apologize for the war she realized too late was not just wrong but tragically so, because to do so might weaken her politically.

And now, now, now, now — she has the audacity to use the victims of the war she helped to start as mere decoration for a concocted vignette in a vile effort to aid her own, fast-fading hopes for the presidency!

What kind of a disgusting human being thinks this way, believing not only that this is something short of an admission of callous indifference to her own role in perpetuating human suffering but that it somehow speaks well of her? How upside down is our thinking that people watch such garbage and hail it as demonstrating “humanity”?

Forget it, Jake. It’s campaign season.

(Also posted to Sinners in the Hands of Angry Blog.)