Roger’s Rules

A word about “fundamentals”

In a characteristically percipient column at,  Matthew Continetti, writing about Hillary Clinton’s campaign woes, quotes former Obama strategist Dan Pfeiffer in July about HRC: “Stop the bed-wetting: Hillary Clinton’s doing fine,” Pfeiffer wrote at CNN. “Bed-wetting,” he explained, “is a term of art in Obamaland.” Noted.  But the burden of his expostulation was not about juvenile (or perhaps senile) urinary emergencies but fundamentals. “For all the contretemps about emails, speeches and roped-off reporters,” he concluded,  “elections are about fundamentals and the fundamentals point to a decisive if hard fought victory for Clinton.” Do they? Did they even then, way back in July 2015?  I don’t think so. In fact, I have a box of cigars riding on my contention that she will not be the nominee. (And don’t forget the matches, Eric!)

It would be cruel to compare Hillary circa 2008 with the bedraggled harridan of today. As Continetti  observes, today’s Hillary is “worse. Much worse. She is more removed from everyday life, more aloof, more entitled, more prone to verbal gaffes, more vulnerable on questions of ethics and integrity. She is out of practice, out of shape, out of alignment. She vacillates between aggression and apology, she panders, she is clumsy, she is besieged.”

And those are just sidelights. The “fundamentals,” to invoke Pfeiffer’s term, are what should be goading the Clinton contingent to break out the rubber sheets and all-night nappies.  In 2008, as Continetti observes, the “fundamentals” were these: “In the midst of financial collapse and unpopular war a savvy group of political operatives guided a talented candidate to victory as the first African-American president.” How about today, on the run-up to the 2016 election?

In the midst of bipartisan outrage at the political establishment and an overwhelming desire for a change in the direction of the country, an increasingly unpopular candidate surrounded by yes-men and back-stabbers is hounded not only by an ongoing government investigation but by growing perceptions that she cannot be trusted and does not care about people. Don’t worry, though—after 30 years in public life, she’s finally going to show us her heart.

Does anyone, anyone, dispute this?  It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for the “dead-broke” Queen of Chappaqua. Emphasis, I need hardly add, on the adverb. Indeed, as Charles Lipson observed at RealClearPolitics, Hillary’s electoral troubles are the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  Forget about the rubber sheets: it’s the orange suit she needs to worry about. And it won’t have been designed by Oscar de la Renta.

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