Hillary’s Glass Jaw

by John Hawkins | November 5, 2007 4:58 am

People are still talking about Hillary Clinton’s disastrous debate performance last week and Peggy Noonan wrote her latest column on the subject. Here’s a particularly piquant passage from her piece[1],

“People who’ve studied Mrs. Clinton often ask why her ethical corner cutting and scandals have not caught up with her, why the whole history of financial and fund-raising scandals doesn’t slow her rise.

In a funny way she’s protected by her reputation. It’s so well known it’s not news. It doesn’t make an impression anymore. People have pointed out her ethical lapses for so long that they seem boring, or impossible to believe. “That couldn’t be true or she wouldn’t be running for president.” This thought collides with “And we already know all this anyway.” Her campaign uses the latter to squash the latest: “old news,” “cash for rehash.”

I’ve never seen anything quite like this dynamic work in modern politics. But the other night, for the first time, I had the feeling maybe it isn’t going to work anymore, or with such deadening consistency.”


What was revealed in that debate was a glaring flaw in Hillary’s game, a chink in her armor, a hole that she can’t fill in.

Imagine it like this…

In a boxing match, an undefeated champion is winning easily and then he takes a devastating bodyshot and falls against the ropes. He’s hurt, the challenger pummels him viciously and then, near the end of the round, connects with a devastating flurry of punches. The champ’s eyes glaze over, his legs get wobbly, and the only thing that’s holding him up is the ring ropes — then the bells rings.

Now, we’re inbetween rounds and the champ is rubbing his hand on his ribs, in pain, the bell is about to ring, and the challenger, who has been without hope for rounds, feels a fresh surge of energy because now, for the first time in a longer time than he thought possible in the fight, he dares to believe that he can win.

That’s where we are in the Democratic primary. Hillary’s opponents are attacking her for being slippery, dishonest, and refusing to give a straight answer. Because of her horrible bungle on the drivers licenses for illegals question in the debate, she has cemented that impression in people’s minds. Now, they’re going to keep hitting her on that point and guess what? She is slippery and dishonest and so she will continue to be vulnerable on that point. Moreover, because Obama and Edwards are so far behind, they almost have no choice other than to keep going after her.

What this means is that if Hillary wins the primary — and she is still the favorite to do so, although it’s still possible she could lose — the GOP candidate can successfully pick up on exactly the same meme that Edwards and Obama will have harped on.

  1. particularly piquant passage from her piece: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110010810&mod=RSS_Opinion_Journal&ojrss=frontpage

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