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double negative

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 30, 2008

Lefty Dem Susan Estrich laments the rise in Hillary's negatives:

According to the polls, Obama's supporters right now dislike Clinton even more than Clinton's dislike Obama. Among Obama voters, Clinton's disapproval rating is a significant 43 percent; among Clinton voters, Obama is viewed negatively by 29 percent. What that suggests is trouble on all sides.

Mark Steyn proposes an explanation:

Where did the magic go? Well, the show got miscast. I wrote a decade ago that Hillary was like Margaret Dumont to Bill's Groucho Marx. He goes around leering at cocktail waitresses, waggling his eyebrows and his famously unlit cigar. And Hillary would stand there seemingly oblivious to the subpoenaed dress and DNA analysis and all the rest: In double-acts, the best straight men (or women) are the ones who appear never to get the joke, and that was Hillary in the late Nineties, standing on stage alongside Bill night after night with her rictus grin and droning in the robotic cadences of that computerized voice in your car that tells you to fasten your seatbelt that "I. Am. So. Proud. Of. My. Husband. And. Our. President. Bill. Clinton."

But you can't recast: You can't put Margaret Dumont in the Groucho role.

The trouble with Steyn's analysis is that is wasn't the NPR crowd but Rush Limbaugh's audience that saw the fun side of the farce, and the only magic they'd attribute to the Clintons was black. Certainly the Gloria Steinems and Harold Ickeses weren't laughing while they lectured us on the irrelevance of Monicagate.

Should Hillary win the Democratic nomination, not only would most of the negatives (among Dems) disappear, but her charmlessness will transmute into an advantage among major donors. There are a lot of Lefties who wish Hillary upon conservatives as punishment for their sins (just as some conservatives might wish, say, Ollie North upon Lefties for theirs). The DNC and MoveOn.org don't want their instrument of wrath to be affable -- in fact, the dourer the better. Their stance toward pro-life, pro-family America is expressed in the Latin motto oderint dum metuant: "let them hate, so long as they fear." And after all, who does a better Caligula than Bill's wife?

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