Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hillary's "Botched Joke"

To kick off her Presidential run, Hillary Clinton came to Iowa (and on a weekend when I was out of town, no less). During a stop in Davenport, Hillary was asked whether she could handle evil men, and she responded that she has experience dealing with "evil and bad men."

This got an interesting reaction from the crowd and from the media. Was she talking about Osama bin Laden...or about Bill Clinton? And that's the thing: nobody really knows what she was talking about or if she really has dealt with evil and bad men. This is going to come as a shock to some of my conservative readers, but I don't think Bill was an evil or a bad man. Frankly, I think he was an intelligent man who was in way over his head on foreign policy and merely average on domestic issues. Does that make him evil? Not really. It does, however, speak volumes as to our ability to pick good Presidents.

I think Hillary caught the same hoof in mouth disease that plagued John Kerry late last year. It sounded to me like Hillary was trying to make a joke, but left off the punchline or didn't deliver the punchline correctly. If you leave your audience wondering if you've told a joke, you didn't tell the joke correctly.

Yet, I can't help but think that this may have been a set-up from the outset. One thing I learned about Hillary during her 2000 Senate run was that she loved to micromanage public events, down to the approval of the audience. Is it truly that farfetched to believe she might put a "ringer" in the audience to help her seem more spontaneous? Not in my world, it's not.

So, the question becomes why would she do something like that. Simple. Hillary wants to build momentum, and she realizes she lacks any real experience that would make her qualified to be President. One of the big issues the President has to deal with is foreign policy, especially as it pertains to the war on terrorism, of which Hillary is pretty much devoid of any experience. So, when the question was asked whether she could handle evil men, she needed a diversion.

Hence, the "botched joke." Humor is often a good way of disarming the audience and diverting attention away from something that might embarass the speaker. In such an early stage of the campaign with so much media attention surrounding her, Hillary needed to buy time to develop a solid approach to such a question, so she told the joke to divert attention at least temporarily and allow her that time to develop a better answer to that question.

So, Hillary's comment about having experience dealing with "evil and bad men" may just be a ruse disguised as a joke. Is it any wonder Hillary doesn't come off as sincere?

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