Clinton’s Joyless, Unappealing Slog Might Be Good For The Country Or Something

The New York Times is always a hoot. The Editorial Board is having a snit fit over possible pay for play over Trump University making a donation to Florida AG Pam Bondi (which Bondi disputes), having mostly ignored, when they weren’t defending, all the pay for play regarding Hillary and the Clinton Foundation. Then you have this laugh riot by Ross Douthat, which appears thusly on the opinion pages

Joyless, folks

The Gift of Clinton

If the Trump campaign weren’t such an all-consuming piece of performance art, the big story of this election would be the sheer shambolic strangeness of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The Democratic candidate is the most disliked nominee of modern times — except, of course, for her opponent. She is widely regarded as untrustworthy and corrupt, and the rare news cycles in which her name dominates the headlines (usually with the letters “F,” “B” and “I” nearby) have only confirmed this impression.

Would those be fabricator, feckless, or feeble? Incompetent? Bonkers?

She has claimed a political sour spot, in which her domestic policy positions are too far left to make her a unifying figure, but her sordid establishmentarianism still has left-wing voters pining for Bernie Sanders and considering Jill Stein. Her press-ducking, donor-massaging, risk-averse, joyless slog to November feels less like an old-fashioned front porch campaign than a campaign conducted from a corner mansion’s upstairs window, with the plebeians allowed to shout questions from the distant sidewalk and the candidate’s retainers ready to pull the sash at any time.

Sounds like a woooooonderful candidate.

That this is the candidate who stands between Donald Trump and the presidency should be dispiriting to Democratic partisans, disquieting to the fiercest #NeverTrumpers on the right, and depressing to anyone who would prefer not to have to choose between a reckless demagogue and a scandal-ridden dynast.

This sounds like James Comey trotting out reason after reason, fact after fact, as to why she should be indicted, before yanking that carpet away

But there are ways in which Clinton’s deeply unappealing candidacy might actually be a good thing for the republic.

The Trump phenomenon, after all, did not come out of nowhere. His caudillo-esque posturing, his contempt for republican norms, his “I alone can fix it!” promises are all populist variations on our political culture’s enthusiasm for untrammeled executive power, the bipartisan cult of the presidency, the Caesarism that the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have done a great deal to advance.

No one should doubt that a President Hillary Clinton would also play Caesar whenever the opportunity presented itself. But she would lack many of the qualities that make imperial presidents particularly dangerous — powerful charisma, a passionate and devoted base, a close relationship with a compliant press, a claim on some sort of sweeping policy mandate.

So, she would be a boring Caesar, which is apparently a good thing! And, she would return us to the “old familiar Clinton seediness”, which is also apparently a good thing!

Thus Hillary Clinton’s weakness and unpopularity might be a gift, of sorts, to the American future. Because she can’t put Trump away, it’s harder to dismiss Trumpism as either a pure joke or a pure evil. Because she can’t put him away, we have to take him seriously — and only by taking him seriously can we learn enough to make sure the next Trump isn’t far stronger, and far worse.

Unless, of course, she loses.

Yeah, in case you guessed it, Douthat was actually attacking Trump and the Trumpites while stating that a boring, joyless, elitist, scumbag, er, seediness Hillary administration would be better. Seriously, can you imagine hearing that cackle on the news day after day? During her speeches? During the SOTU? You thought Obama’s finger wagging, his “I’m so disappointed in Everyone Else voice”, his ums and ers and ahs were all annoying. Wait till you have to listen to her cackle. Then cough for several minutes straight. Though, I’m sure the media is ready to cut to commercial the minute that starts up.

But, hey, instead of an angry country as stoked by Obama, we’d have a joyless slog, as visioned in numerous dystopian movies.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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