It’s well-documented and well-known that GOP Chair Reince Priebus is among the dumbest and most inept party leaders in the history of politics. The Right admit it freely when they allow Big Oil and Big Gun to wrap their arms around their shoulders and pull them in for close, musk-scented embraces in cloak and board rooms across the country. It’s the way they like it, after all. For as long as old Reince is manning the store, there’s no one to stop them from plundering the shelves like drunken fools.
There’s plenty of evidence for this fact, but few are as glaring as his recent claim on FOX News that Hillary Clinton’s “impromptu” visit to a Chipotle restaurant in Toledo, Ohio was a campaign misstep. She should have taken off her glasses and mingled with the people, he said, she missed the chance to campaign, he said.
Listen: Hillary Clinton has never missed a chance to campaign.
Simply put, there has never been a human being to have walked the face of this Earth like Hillary Clinton. There has never been a more calculated person, a more ambitious figure, a more premeditated politician who is, above all else, concerned with mapping out every interaction to an insane and paranoid degree.
Well. None since Nixon, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
It doesn’t take a veteran political operative to see just what happened in Toledo when Clinton, clad in sunglasses and her best “normal people” clothes, “snuck incognito” into a Chipotle and ordered a burrito bowl before being whisked off in a van to race toward Iowa so she could take her rightful throne cobbled out of corn dogs and ethanol.
The very fact that no major news outlet or pundit has yet to dissect the action should tell you everything about the sad state of political journalism in this country. The writing, as they say, is on the wall, and to read that writing is to understand the very nature of what is sure to be one of the longest, strangest, most confusing, expensive, and soul-crushing presidential elections in this young country’s history.
It started with Ted Cruz.
Honestly though, you’d have to say it started in 1947 when Clinton was born in Edgewater Hospital in Chicago, but in the interest of narrative, we’ll begin instead in the belly of Liberty University.
Cruz’s political birth was a bit gaudier. Onstage, in front of a student assembly mandated by university officials, Cruz sauntered from side-to-side and rambled like a Baptist preacher a month away from being chased out of town by his flock. He urged the students, most of whom probably would’ve rather listened to Mike Huckabee lecture on godlessness and abomination between plucks of his bass, to imagine a different America. The spectacle lasted so long and got so far off track that undergrads were seen dozing and texting in their seats before he could bring the metaphor home and ask them to envision him, Rafael Edward Cruz, native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as President of These United States.
Of course, Cruz is hopeless. He has the type of smile and charm that only a mortician could love. He’s a creep, pure and simple, and the kind of ambitious creep who would be more than happy, if ever elected, to sell the country out for little more than a pat on his greasy head. He’s a hack without so much as a single shred of conviction and my god is he going to make for interesting debates.
For posterity, it began with a Canadian huckster whose father fought alongside Fidel Castro and was followed by Rand Paul, the Immaculately Conceived Messiah Of The Libertarian Faith, Hallelujah, Personal Responsibility And Perpetual Coldness Forever, Amen.
Rand’s candidacy and ascendancy to this stage has been a foregone conclusion for the past five years, which, in politics, is probably the second longest inevitability this side of Hillary’s election. Though it isn’t quite true, it feels like we’ve been watching this pup for decades now stand at his father’s side and nod happily as he drones on about the evil of the Fed and the theoretical rolling back of civil rights. If you listen closely on the right quiet night, and if you train your ear to just the right frequencies, you can hear the rabid Libertarians in the far and distant corners of the continent whispering his name as they hunch over the foulest toilets in the Free World.
There were several policy wonks who celebrated as fervently when Rand made his announcement. He is seen, alongside Bernie Sanders (Independent and Actual Intelligent Person from Vermont) as one of the few remaining intellectuals in all of politics, and when they picture his performances in the debates they see him as a bomb-thrower who might mercifully guide discussion away from Benghazi and Voter Fraud and other ridiculous things and maybe move toward Debt Reduction, Tax Reform, and other such subjects that no one in the voting class has interest one in even listening to. They see him as the last chance to talk about actual issues and back away from the anti-intellectual abyss that is modern politics.
And they are wrong.
Rand isn’t his father – who, for the record, was an insane old coot, albeit a serious one, who shouldn’t have been allowed to mention The Presidency, much less contend for it – and he isn’t the long and hullabaloo’d savior of libertarian thought or The One Who Will Get The Third Party Done. He’s got his part and he’s going to play it. Somebody, after all, has to poll terribly in the initial primary and somebody has to betray all of their principles for the enjoyment of pundits and politicos alike. And I’ve no doubt that Rand will play his part well.
As for parts, at least Rand’s will be enjoyable and will serve to make him rich beyond his wildest fantasies. Marco Rubio, he of much thirst, will be a cataclysm of remarkable proportions. GOP strategists and true-believers alike were praying he’d sit this one out, and every one after it, in the hopes that this kid, who by all accounts isn’t a terrible guy, or at least not a criminally terrible guy, wouldn’t be eviscerated and destroyed in such an appalling way. Because make no doubt: it’s coming.
Though the presidential primaries have always been home to kooks and idiots alike, it’s hard to go back through the years and find anybody with fewer instincts or skills than Rubio. There’s Wesley Clark and Jon Huntsman, but they were simply fish out of water who would have been better off penning books and retiring to wherever it is these people go when they are chewed up and spit out. There was Fred Thompson, but it’s hard to tell whether his 2008 run was a failed art experiment or simply a very long nap he sleepwalked through.
Rubio, however, is wide awake and ready to fail. Never have I seen a moment as disastrous and cringe-worthy, barring of course the infamous Dean Scream, as Rubio’s “Water Break” during his 2013 Republican Response to the State of the Union. The drink wouldn’t have been so calamitous, but it was the awkward and off-putting way he lurched at it, how he obviously considered the consequences once, twice, three times, and a fourth for good measure, before reaching off-camera for a tiny, tiny bottle of water and then, before returning to his speech, set it back and looked forward with the same type of fear usually reserved for persons having just been caught in sexual congress with farm animals.
If that isn’t enough to convince someone that Rubio is D.O.A. then perhaps his announcement would do the trick. Not twenty-four hours after Hillary made her big splash, an announcement that was as heralded as it was expected, Rubio jumped in the wave she’d created and hoped to capture some of her momentum. Instead, he was drowned, never to be heard from again. At least until he’s tugging at the pant legs of the adults who are still waiting to announce and thus sweep the GOP JV team off the stage.
It isn’t hard to imagine Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or Rick Perry riding their way onto the scene, but it’s also not hard to imagine any of that trio imploding in a beautiful and awe-inspiring supernova of idiocy. Even on the Democratic side there’s a range of contenders who will probably join the fray and another group that’s just as likely to stay away. Martin O’Malley will probably run. Elizabeth Warren, unfortunately, probably won’t. Joe Biden, if he knows what’s good for him and his legacy, will stay as far away from the scrum as possible.
Which leaves us with the real and enduring question: does Hillary take this whole damn thing?
Keen-eyed observers will have at this point noticed something that appeared near the end of any story detailing Hillary’s Chipotle visit. Though the early paragraphs detail how she was “in and out” and “no one recognized her,” there’s a line in every piece that should be noted.
The New York Times contacted the restaurant after receiving a tip.
From who, I might ask, if the answer weren’t so obvious.
In a world where Hillary’s most damning albatross has always been her middling likeability ratings, this is the first in what has to be assumed many manufactured moments designed to make her appear normal, a designation that Hillary has never been able to wear.
She is, they say, just like us.
She goes to Chipotle and gets a burrito bowl.
Look at that. She’s wearing sunglasses. Doesn’t even want the attention.
But she isn’t like us. She doesn’t just go to Chipotle and get a burrito bowl. And sure, she may wear sunglasses, but never, ever be fooled. Hillary wants that attention. She needs that attention.
And look at the location. Toledo. Meaning, Ohio. Meaning swing-state. And a Chipotle. Not a Wendy’s or a Burger King or, shudder, one of the McDonald’s Bubba used to visit back in the day.
It’s the very symbol of the fast casual dining movement that’s changing the way service restaurants handle business in America. An up and coming behemoth that’s wrestling control from those old and tired brands and redefining the way we eat.
If we wanted to be more cynical, and I assume we do, it’s a Mexican restaurant that, in a presidential election which will, most certainly, hinge on the burgeoning Hispanic vote, might have been chosen with the electoral map in mind.
Sure, it sounds pessimistic, but consider the source. These are the Clintons, a well-oiled political machine that hasn’t been able to leave any stone unturned in their continual dominance of Left Wing politics and causes. This is the same tandem that made sure to bring Julian Castro, rising star of the Democrats and current head of HUD, into their fold well before he could consider starting his own campaign and sequeling Obama’s rise. News outlets are already flooded with rumors of a possible Clinton/Castro ticket and hearsay has it that that is as sure of a thing as you can get.
That’s what Hillary likes. A sure thing. It’s why she’s as calculated as any politician who’s ever walked into the arena. She has the talent, the intelligence, and the drive; it’s in the actual campaigning where she hurts herself. With so much as a cursory glance at John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s 2008 Election narrative Game Change, a political observer can soon discern that Barack Obama didn’t win the ’08 Primary, Hillary lost it.
And the reason?
Because she couldn’t leave well enough alone and simply concentrate on campaigning.
Throughout the book Hillary and Bill – Clinton-Land as they’re called – are so flustered with every minute happening that they nearly steer the campaign into a ditch before gaining their steam and making a run of it. But the damage was done by the time Obama won the Iowa Primary. His conflagration should’ve been stomped out in the streets of Des Moines and in the backrooms and bingo halls of Ames. The fact that it wasn’t reveals the real flaw of Hillary As Candidate: she refuses to let the campaign come to her.
If the “Chipotle Incident,” as Reince Priebus and the other idiots are calling it, tells us anything, it’s that this race is Hillary’s to win and it’s up to her whether she takes what she’s fought so hard for or if she lets another upstart pass her by. The trip through Toledo and the stealth visit to the trendy eatery were a masterful piece of viral marketing. Hell, it probably got her campaign contributions from the CEO of the company to boot, if she didn’t have them already, and in the process she planted the seed in plenty of voters’ heads.
Hey, she’s just like me.
Sure she is.
Now, if she can just manage to keep on those sunglasses.
Photo source: Official Hillary Clinton Twitter page