Is Hillary Clinton really running for president?
I know this seems like an absurd question, inasmuch as we have been bombarded with news about Hillary’s launch ever since she decided to ruin the first gorgeous Sunday afternoon of the year by proclaiming on social media that her lust for power was undiminished since 2008.
Hillary basically made a cameo appearance in her own campaign announcement video, preferring instead to highlight a “diverse group of Americans,” as The New York Times put it.
To paraphrase William F. Buckley, Jr., I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 diverse Americans in the phone directory — a book that listed people’s telephone numbers, popular back in the days when Hillary was young — than the Clintons.
But Hillary’s approach was a little weird, no? Especially if it was timed to step on the campaign kickoff of a freshman senator who was born after Hillary graduated from Wellesley.
Then Clinton releases footage of her ordering lunch at a local Chipotle (sans tip), wearing sunglasses that suggest either a hangover or an escape from the paparazzi. The images look more like a 21st century photo-op than the Zapruder film.
If only Arlen Specter was still with us to explain the magic burrito theory.
Hillary is touring Iowa in a van that resembles Scott Brown’s truck or even Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine less than a vehicle used to transport very important people and tie up traffic via a motorcade.
What could have less of a common touch than inspecting the peasants through tinted windows while sitting in the backseat of a chauffeured car? Hillary could have at least called for an Uber on her one device.
Then there were reports that even the “everyday Iowans” Hillary encountered were actually carefully vetted Democratic activists who were in some cases shuttled to these important grassroots events by Clinton staff.
The Soviets concealed the horror and misery of communism with Potemkin villages. Is this the first Potemkin presidential campaign?
Say what you will about Marco Rubio, Rand Paul or Ted Cruz — they actually deigned to make their case to the people in person.
Now we hear that perhaps the much ballyhooed Clinton announcement wasn’t the real announcement. Perhaps to complete the flashback to the 1990s, we’ll bound from event to event searching for the real announcement, like O.J. Simpson looking for the real killer.
Or maybe whoever the impostor conspiracy theorists say is masquerading as Paul McCartney is now impersonating Hillary Clinton. If you play the 2016 Democratic primary campaign backwards, you will hear a secret message.
The reality is more boring, unfortunately. Hillary Clinton is a deeply flawed politician whose staff has basically swaddled her in bubble wrap to avoid a repeat of the 2008 disaster at the hands of Barack Obama. They hope if she avoids spontaneity and tough interviews, even to shush the reporters, the voters will not notice she is the same candidate they already rejected, just older and with fewer emails.
Maybe it’s an idea crazy enough to work. But it doesn’t suggest a whole lot of confidence.
W. James Antle III is managing editor of The Daily Caller and author of the book Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? Follow him on Twitter.