I didn’t write the post below to show how smart I am about Ted Cruz. Ok. Not just to show how smart I am about Ted Cruz. I meant it as a set up for this post.
Ted Cruz risked wrecking the economy to make himself a hero to the Right Wing yahoos who will play a big role in deciding who gets the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. He’s in Iowa almost as much as he’s back home in Texas. He’s building a tremendous email list, lining up donors, and piling up the cash. He’s got Sarah Palin stumping for him, which we’d like to think is the kiss of death from a lipsticked pig, but the Right Wing yahoos still love her and fork over their dough at her slightest wink. In short, he’s running for President and his plan is to manipulate the rubes and demogogue his way to the nomination.
…to the D.C. Press Corps it’s the Clintons who are the monsters of ambition.
In the innermost sanctum of Clintonland, it is difficult to imagine that Hillary and Bill, two of the savviest politicians in the country, are not pinching themselves to make sure that it's all real. Perhaps they're dancing a jig together, or knocking back shots and howling at the moon out of sheer, giddy joy at their good luck. (OK, Hillary's not howling, but Bill might be.) Or maybe they are just quietly kvelling over the latest turn of events.
That little puppet show being passed off as analysis is by the National Journal’s Michael Hirsh, but it could be by any one of dozens of journalists and pundits who’ve had a grand time over the last twenty years writing about the Clintons as if they are the Sopranos, the Walter Whites, or the Drapers, characters in a soap opera produced specifically for the amusement of the savvy and sophisticated and over-educated for whom half the pleasure of following a TV show is listening to themselves talk about it.
Joe Klein started it with Primary Colors, his cleverly signing himself as Anonymous suggesting that his cartoon of a novel was really a work of inside journalism. Maureen Dowd has made it the centerpole of her career, setting the rules and the establishing the tropes that all the Clinton caricature artists have assiduously followed. These journalists and pundits have given themselves permission to present their fantasies as facts with the result that just about any piece of “reporting” about the Clinton is essentially a work of fiction.
And since the Clintons aren’t isolates and naturally appear in the news with other politicians and public figures the stories about those other politicians and public figures get turned into subplots in the ongoing, collectively written fiction about the Clintons.
I don’t know why this is. I don’t know how supposed newsmen and women justify to themselves treating their intellectual gamesplaying not only as if it’s news but as if it is the news. I have theories, I have stories I tell myself, but I don’t know because I don’t know any of them and when I want fiction I read novels and watch television. (Not the news or the Sunday bobblehead shows though.)
What I do know is that if Hillary Clinton becomes the next President of the United States it will be because she worked her way to the White House and if Ted Cruz becomes the next President of the United States it will be because he schemed and lied and recklessly demogogued his way there.
And if it’s the former the “news” will be that her vaulting ambition has finally been rewarded and if it’s the latter it will be that her ambition will finally have been thwarted.