Saturday, July 17, 2004


What the hell was that all about this week? Were they trying to keep her off the convention speakers' list because she’s a "polarizing figure" -- or the opposite, because she's such a star that she'd outshine the ticket?

It doesn't make sense either way.

If they think Hillary's offputting to some voters, why feature Bill so prominently? The Kerry people, who are trying to appeal to blue-collar males in the Midwest, ought to know that the Joe Lunchpails who think Hillary is a broom-riding hag find Bill slick and unsavory as well. (Maybe more so in his current somewhat self-satisfied I-sold-a-million-books mode.)

As for the other argument -- that Hillary would bring the house down and leave Edwards and Kerry struggling to steal back the spotlight -- remember that in 1988 dull Mike Dukakis emerged just fine from the shadow of Jesse Jackson, an extraordinary orator, the winner of several primaries, and, I seem to recall, a bit of a "polarizing figure" in his own right. Dukakis left the convention with a 17-point lead in the polls –- it was only after that that he started screwing up.

And besides, Hillary isn't all that good. No offense intended, but she doesn't have the gift –- her voice is adenoidal and her delivery's usually dull. (This actually helps her to debunk the demonization, or at least it did when she was running for Senate in 2000 –- she drones on about milk price supports and people think, This is the Hildebeast? If you want to appeal to people who hate her, it might actually be better to let them hear her speak -– otherwise, they conjure up an image out of her out of right-wing folklore.)

And if she was left off the speakers' list because the campaign doesn't want to give her a leg up on Edwards for '08 in the event of a Kerry loss this year, I say: Get a grip. People in the party are already thinking about '08, but here in America WE DON’T CARE. We're not going to remember a four-year-old speech come next primary season. (Did we remember Bill's '88 convention speech in '92?) All we care about this year is this election.

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