Hillary’s smiling face has looked up from the desk for two weeks.
We wanted to read her book, if only to mock and jeer, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to open it. It was too big. Too earnest. Too carefully put together. There would be no surprises.
Like Hillary’s photo on the cover, we guessed that every detail had been checked by pollsters and approved image consultants. No facts that didn’t support the uplift of the narrative would be allowed. No ideas that wouldn’t appeal to the majority voter would be permitted.
Hillary would be made to appear tough, but fair, well informed, hard working with a razor sharp intellect and a heart like road kill on a hot, sunny day – warm, soft, and over-powering.
Finally, we had to do our duty on your behalf, dear reader. We opened the book so you don’t have to. The book, Hard Choices is hard to pick up. Easy to put down.
Not because you will disagree with its ideas. There are scarcely no explicit ideas to disagree with. Instead, the book is self-serving, empty, blah, blah, wallowing in the glory of the US Empire, and the incredible, gracious tenacity of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
All you have to do is to look at the photos. There, you find Hillary shaking hands with every corrupt, incompetent leader the world has to offer, as well as demonstrating all the qualities the dim voter might look for.
In one, she is compassionate towards children. In another, she is an activist for women. She is a fun-loving secretary of state, too. There’s a photo of her at the piano with Bono. Another of her dancing at a party in Cartagena, Colombia. And there’s Joe Biden whispering in the ear of a giggling Hillary. What a woman!
The premise of the book is that leaders have to make tough decisions. Her first one was her decision to leave a promising career as a Washington lawyer to go to Little Rock and help Bill with his political career.
On the evidence, this paid off. Bill hit it big in politics. Hillary became his partner, like Evita with Juan Perón. Or Cristina with Néstor. Now, she is in line to be the first woman president. This seems not only alarming, but likely.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that she and Bill had raised more than $1bn over the last two decades. Zombie industries and crony capitalists know that Hillary can be bought, and at a reasonable price.
And the voters will fall in line; they don’t have a hard choice or an easy choice. Most likely, they will have no choice at all. The Republicans will probably field a candidate with essentially the same policies.
The next hard choice Hillary faced was whether or not to accept Barack Obama’s offer to head up the State Department. She always says and does the right thing. So she took the job, because “when your president asks you to serve, you should say yes”.
So far, we are only in the opening pages of the book, and already we don’t like what we’re reading. Hillary thinks she’s been doing “public service” for her entire adult life. But what possible service is it?
In every post she has had, she was more served than serving. When she was First Lady, for example, who put the bread on the table? Who baked it? Who washed the dishes? Not Hillary!
Then, as secretary of state, she says she spent 2,000 hours in the air and flew a million miles. Airborne, at taxpayer expense, she and her friends would “enjoy a glass of wine”. And “watch movies”. How did the public get anything out of it?
Supposedly, she was paid to make “hard choices” for the US. “I didn’t enjoy playing the bad cop”, she says of a conversation with the Israeli prime minister, “but it was part of the job”. Speaking for ourselves, we didn’t ask her to say anything at all, and we’ll make our own choices, thank you very much.
One of the hardest choices she had to make was whether or not to send the Navy Seals “to bring Osama bin Laden to justice”. In the event, they didn’t even try. They assassinated him on the spot.
But around and around the world she went, a dervish diplomat. Asia, the Middle East, the Far East, the Arab Spring, the Russian winter, the European autumn. Blah after blah, well-meaning public servant after well-meaning public servant, human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights. Six hundred pages.
How does she remember so many details? Why does she bother, except to glorify her own mastery of pointless detail? She says something to somebody who says something else, bumbling from one scene of mischief to another of mayhem, involving the free and independent citizens of the United States of America in dozens of conflicts in which they have no real interest of any kind.
Hillary has been on the government payroll since she was 13 years old, she tells us, when she had a summer job “supervising a small park”. We don’t know how much supervising a 13-year-old can do, but heck, Hillary can do anything.
On one page, she’s rescuing children from a brothel. On another, she’s cleaning the air. On another she’s preventing a war or stopping one.
We are suspicious of people who stay up too late. Stalin worked until 5am. Hitler was a night owl, too. Staying up late is linked to addictions – alcohol, pornography or video games. But over and over, Hillary tells us that she was up until the “wee hours” talking to someone. Good God, what awful calamity would have happened if she had just gone to bed and turned off her mobile phone?
And now, the poor woman must be tired. So many hard choices! So much public service! She needs a rest. Retire her.