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Friday, July 14, 2006

A recent Gallup poll queried who Americans like for President in 2008. Republicans favored Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, and the Democrats picked Senator Hillary Clinton.

I didn't break into tears, per se, probably only because I know that there is no possible way this matchup could come to be. Allow me to explain.

Some people in the US are under the impression that Giuliani is presidential material, mainly because of his actions after the September 11th attacks in New York. I'll elaborate on why this is, a little later. Prior to the attacks, Giuliani had worn out his welcome as mayor, through a series of personal and political scandals. He was a lame duck, and a joke in New York. No one had any interest in anything Hizzoner had to say. The scandals were the main reason, but once you put this image in someone's mind...

Well, that's tough to come back from. Oh, what the hell, let's put the icing on the cake.

So, proclivities aside, no one gave a damn about Giuliani. He didn't withdraw from his Senate race with Hillary just because he had prostate cancer. He was going to get his ass handed to him by this woman, and he knew it. He wasn't going to have a good showing among NYC voters, and he needed a clear majority there in order to carry the state.

Game over. Get back to town, run out the string on your mayoral term, and fade into oblivion.

Then, September 11th, 2001 happened, and do you remember what Giuliani did? I do.

What he did, was not fall apart.

You probably remember it differently. "He was heroic! He pulled the city together and blah blah blah."

He did his job. He showed up, instead of hiding. Instead of spending seven critical minutes in a daze in some classroom in Florida, he spoke eloquently. He was a cheerleader, he rooted New Yorkers on, and kept their spirits up.

He seemed steely-eyed and brave only in comparison to Bush. That's a low standard.

Commendable? Yes. Presidential? Meh.

I am not a sentimentalist, and I watched what the mayor did. Rudy was smart to take advantage of the situation, and parlay it into political gain. Not with Geroge's expertise, admittedly, but he definitely made silk out of a sow's ear on 9/11.

This man has way too much baggage, and not even the Democrats can fail to sandbag him with it. Not that they'll need to, because the Republican primaries will leave Rudy as not much more than a battered, smoking, balding corpse.

So, there's your G.O.P. frontrunner, all done in a New York minute.

And what of Hillary? This won't take as long, and will not be accompanied by pictures.

Let me first say, that like Rudy, I believe that Hillary has the intellectual capacity to be president. Bill Clinton has a world-class mind on him, and he may not even be the brightest one in this marriage. Hillary is smart. Scary smart, like the leader of the free world ought to be.

My problem with Mrs. Clinton is that I don't know what she's about.

It seems impossible, given that she's been in the spotlight for over fifteen years, but I don't really know. I used to know what she felt about universal health care, but I don't now. I used to know how she felt about the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, but not any more. It's a long list. I don't even know who you are anymore.

My gut tells me that she is an opportunist, and will say whatever it takes in order to rack up one extra vote. This may not make her unique, but it does force me to turn away from her. All politicians lie when it suits them, but I can't tell when she is taking advantage, and when she really believes in something. Not anymore. I don't expect purity, but I can spot cynicism a mile away, and when I look at someone and can't read their motives, it means that their soul is dead.

None of that matters, though.

I'll allow that Hillary may make it through the Democrat primaries and secure the nomination. She's still very impressive, she has Mister Charisma in her corner, and that is going to be the difference. Bill is going to pull in a lot of votes for the missus.

She will remain unelectable, in spite of these advantages.

"Why," you ask, "because she's a woman? Sexist pig."

Actually, yes. And no.

No, because I don't care. It makes no difference to me. Hillary is as qualified as anyone who will be running. Make no mistake about it.

Yes, because Hillary's gender will matter. It will matter to some men, Democrat and Republican, and it will be an insurmountable barrier to more women than you can count.

A lot of women hate Hillary Clinton. There are the evangelical women, the good Christian type, barefoot and pregnant, who think Hillary must be some sort of bull dyke just for going to college. Stay-at-home moms find Hillary's ambition disgusting. And feminists insist that Hillary let them down by staying with that philandering husband of hers, instead of dumping him and going on to great success alone.

Mrs. Clinton's greatest barrier to becoming president is her sisters.

Get yourself a five-gallon bucket, and toss a dozen or so rats in. They rodents will run around and bump into one another, climb all over themselves, and generally be a seething mass of confusion.

Keep watching, and eventually, one rat will start trying to climb out, sensing bigger things in the outside world. It will scratch and claw its way up toward the rim. The other rats, seemingly out of sheer instinct, will jump up, bite, and use every bit of their strength to drag this aspiring rat back down to the bottom with the rest of them. Get a chair, because you can watch this action repeat itself over and over, until you grow bored and set them loose at Wal-Mart.

Hillary is trying to climb out of the bucket. It will not be permitted.

Besides, she and Rudy would both be running as New Yorkers. Just because the South's secession didn't take the first go-round doesn't mean they wouldn't try it again.

"The South shall rise again!"

Yeah. Shit floats.

posted at 7:31 PM

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