Stuck on the Clintons

Despite countless denials, Republicans and the media just can’t get it through their thick heads that Hillary Clinton is not going to run for president.

The latest conspiracy theorist is William Safire — the same guy who brought us the Hillary-will-be-indicted nonsense during Bill Clinton’s first term. This time, Safire casts Wes Clark as a placeholder for a Hillary candidacy:

What if, as Christmas nears, the economy should tank and President Bush becomes far more vulnerable? Hillary would have to announce willingness to accept a draft. Otherwise, should the maverick Dean take the nomination and win, Clinton dreams of a Restoration die.

Here is where the politically inexperienced Clark comes in. He is the Clintons’ most attractive stalking horse, useful in stopping Dean and diluting support for Kerry, Lieberman or Gephardt. If Bush stumbles and the Democratic nomination becomes highly valuable, the Clintons probably think they would be able to get Clark to step aside without splintering the party, rewarding his loyalty with second place on the ticket.

Leave it to right-wing spooks to posit that the Clintons are so power-hungry, and so self-absorbed, that they’d rather the country suffer the ill effects of four more years under Bush so Hillary can have “her turn” in 2008.

That aside, Safire’s assumption is wrong. If Wes Clark’s career is any indicator, then once he’s in, he’s in it to win. This is the same guy, remember, who knew the cholesterol level of all the officers vying with him for a promotion. Besides, I have a hard time believing that Clark, who stood up to the Pentagon brass during war, is going to take orders from Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

It’s no surprise that right-wing pundits keep dragging out the Clinton boogeyman. After all, folks like Kerry, Edwards and Lieberman (and a still-unknown Dean) don’t make for good direct mail fundraising in those red states.

And Hell, Clinton couldn’t win anyway, in 2004 or 2008, against anyone on the moderate side of Jerry Falwell. Like I said, I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for her.

Still, though, I’m sick of the media’s willful obtuseness on the matter. How many times does someone have to say “no” before the press moves on to real news?

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