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Mrs. America

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In a recent post, Matthew Palevsky of The Real News offers a thoughtful interview with Tom Hayden, who wrestles with Palevsky's question: "Why Is Clinton Pandering to the Right?"

Senator Clinton is not pandering to the right, not exactly. She's pandering to America.

She's pandering to those who are more ignorant and less intelligent and more bitter and more frightened and clinging more desperately to guns and religion than she is, because she wants them to think she is like them, so they will vote for her. Those people aren't "the right," are they? They're just ordinary Americans who kind of like the idea of obliterating a whole country full of bad people; who could care less that their leaders met in the White House to assign various tortures to various prisoners; who are tired of all the yapping about torture. (They don't mind if somebody on our team tortures bad people. But only bad people! because we're good people!) She's pandering to the people who don't demand an end to this war (they do think it was a mistake, though). She's pandering to people who don't demand the impeachment of admitted war criminals. She's pandering to people who don't object to their country's probably irreversible slide into fascism. (They don't have any real idea what that means, but they do know that it is a crazy left-wing fringe thing to say things like that and to call people fascists, whatever it means.)

She's pandering to the great ignorant, frightened, belligerent, selfish American middle, to the independents, the Reagan Democrats, the disaffected Republicans who don't want the government raising taxes or borrowing, the shopper-Democrats who are for peace, sure, but a little nervous that soft-hearted liberals won't really know how to or be able to defend the country. She's pandering to the people who gather together in the middle, united by their fear and the yearning to have somebody tough enough running things, somebody who will protect them (without, of course, charging them for the service).

Everything Hillary Clinton says and does is carefully calculated to get the most possible votes. She voted against the Levin Amendment and for the Iraq War authorization (without bothering to read the NIE) because she calculated that if she wanted to be President she would have to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has somehow blessed her with Falkland Island-sized balls. (Falkland balls, as everyone knows, are better than the real but unreliable balls of liberal male war heroes). She voted for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment for the same reason. And all her talk while she was in campaign heat in Pennsylvania -- all her talk about killing ducks and Iranians, about massive retaliation and immediate obliteration -- was just her Goldwater Girl equivalent of the padded display little W sported in his flight suit on the day he declared the mission accomplished.

I guess it worked, too. She needed a big victory in Pennsylvania, and nucular jingo evidently sounded good enough to enough bitter voters there to give her almost the double-digit win she longed for.

She's pandering to America. She wants to harvest the greatest number of possible votes from every action, every statement, every soundbite, every slur, every insinuation, every attack, every mindless whining repetition ("Day One, Day One, Day One!"). She's not worried about my vote, of course, or Mark Palevsky and Tom Hayden's votes, or the votes of anyone reading this. Her calculation is that we don't matter so much (especially compared to the new friends she is attracting from the Fox News-Rush Limbaugh-Richard Mellon Scaife circles). Her calculation is that Mark and Tom and I won't vote for McCain or Nader or stay home or throw away our votes: we'll move to the middle, because what else can we do, and vote for her, too, because we have to. So why not go after all those voters who don't have to vote for her but will when they see she has what it takes?

Another calculation is that the superdelegates will have to give her the nomination because they know the Party can't afford to contest the election with a nominee who is merely thoughtful and gentle and decent and diplomatic, a wimp of peace, with good judgment and character, a man with no prominently-displayed or symbolically-referenced ("massive!" "obliterate!") testicles. The Party has to have a candidate with real National Security balls, Hillary Clinton knows we all know that, so there she goes, Mrs. America, striding by poor old doddering confused McCain, head up, arms swinging, and, as she moves across that great Commander-in-Chief threshold, ostentatiously adjusting her cup.