Ed Driscoll

The Cult of Hillary

“As recently as 1992, the Democratic nominee could be the little-known governor of a tiny state, but today only celebrities need apply. The party of government can’t very well make the case, as Republicans might, that their leader is simply the more competent manager of bureaucratic institutions. Democrats have to make the very idea of governance romantic, transformational, inspirational, even millennial,” Kyle Smith writes in the New York Post in “The cult of Hillary: Dems stumble unquestioningly into 2016:”

The real reason Hillary commands such tribal loyalty is that she is, apart from the non-candidate Elizabeth Warren, the only political “celebrity” available, and Democrats are obsessed with star quality. Republicans are currently debating the merits of competent, proven leaders like Scott Walker, John Kasich and Mike Pence, who stand little to no chance of being recognized by the average waitress, much less attracting adoring throngs when they walk down the street.

As Moe Lane notes at Red State, “The Democrats are now noticing that they ate all their seed corn:”

This is an entertaining bit of not-quite-contained panic:

…Hillary Clinton towers over the putative Democratic field as no non-incumbent party candidate has in recent memory, leading every rival by 40 points or more.

In 1988, Bob Dole was available for Republicans who didn’t fancy George Bush Snr. And if they didn’t want George Jnr in 2000, there was JohnMcCain. Ditto on the Democratic side. Al Gore from the outset was heavy favourite, but Bill Bradley, senator from New Jersey, gave him a decent run for his money. But in 2016, it’s Hillary or nothing for Democrats – and that’s why the fuss over the emails sends shivers down their spine.

Never has a party been so invested in a single candidate.

Admittedly, it’s from the UK Independent; hence, my use of the word ‘panic.’ This is, of course, not a new problem for the Democrats (although they hadn’t realized that there was a problem until quite recently).  But the reason why I’m bringing it up this time is that all of this is due to a lot of patient, careful effort in federal and state races across the country, from 2009 onward.  The Democratic cupboard is bare because the Republican grassroots decided to empty it ahead of time. The numerous state legislative and gubernatorial advances we’ve seen since then are a direct result of our strategy.

Plus note this conclusion from Smith:

If there is one ship’s captain Hillary does resemble it’s the skipper of the Apollo, the converted troop transport that puttered around the Mediterranean in the 1970s. At the helm, L. Ron Hubbard demanded total unthinking allegiance, treated his bedazzled Scientology followers more harshly than an admiral treats the lowliest swabby and punished real or perceived infractions without mercy.

But don’t take my word for it: Even David Axelrod has noticed the scary zealotry of the Church of Hillarology.

“There’s this cult of personality growing up [around her], and that’s dangerous,” Axelrod has said. “She’s going to have to correct that when she’s a candidate.”

“Correct that”? When she’s a candidate she is going to positively revel in it.

But a cult of personality requires distance and a bit of mystery and intrigue to sustain — as Virginia Postrel wrote in her 2013 book, The Power of Glamour. That’s one reason why Democrats running for president initially tend to be relatively unknown in the public sphere, making it far easier to bathe them in the glowing, mythic light of change and shape their image to suit the (often media manufactured) crisis of the day. Hillary’s star power is built around somebody who’s been on TV near continuously since 1992.

And despite claims from her acolytes (shortly before her missing email scandal began) that Hillary “has enlisted a Coca-Cola marketing whiz to help brand her expected presidential campaign,” so far, her team just can’t quite seem to get the details right. The Obama iconography — the fascistic “Hope” poster, the O-shaped red, white & blue merging into a sunrise logo, the (anti-Hillary) 1984 mash-up video, this is powerful Madison Avenue meets Mussolini stuff. Of course, it would eventually become camp by the summer of 2008 — the infamous Styrofoam columns, and then kitsch, by the time the Obama action figure rolled off the assembly line. But good luck marketing that last item with Hillary’s visage, as this hilarious video at Power Line illustrates. And that “Ready for Hillary” logo? I doubt the ghosts of Saul Bass and Raymond Loewy are losing much sleep over this example of commercial design.

And then there was yesterday’s gaffe-tastic misstep:

Update: “Carville to MSNBC: Let’s face it, you and the Times are in the tank for the right on this Hillary e-mail thing,” Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, noting “the mega-shillery for Hillary by Davis, Carville, and Brock:”

Don’t the Clintons have any Democrats willing to carry their water who aren’t retreads from 20 years ago? One of the reasons the media’s losing patience with them is that they’ve been hearing the same crap from these same three guys literally for decades. Surely there must be someone who wasn’t in politics in the 1990s who’s equally willing to fall on a grenade for Hillary. Note to Team Clinton: If you don’t want Hillary being called “old news,” find some surrogates who aren’t themselves old news.

Who’s up for another decade of quality TV time with Bill and Hillary and their screaming sclerotic media surrogates? Feel the excitement! Live the grooming tips!