It's a fundamental of politics that you can't out-piss a skunk. Sometimes you just have to go in the house, close the door and shut up.
Until now Hillary Clinton seemed to have finally learned that lesson. As the weeks have gone by she stopped being defensive and was just shutting her mouth and letting Trump sink himself, speaking only to push his head further under water. When word came, for example, that the FBI had found yet another 15,000 of Hillary's "erased" emails, she didn't say much of anything. She didn't "give the story legs."
If no participant picks up the ball on a story, it dies. If the media have no "new angle", they can't instead write or talk about the same-old-same-old. Not rising to the bait and giving one of her bizarre and awkward explanations, Hillary instead just kept quiet and thus cut the oxygen to the story. (So many metaphors and similes for this topic!) Sure enough, Trump and other GOP picked up on this new e-mail ammo, but their statements don't make "news" because everybody expects them to use this material for campaigning. That makes it virtually non-news. Just too predictable.
But then Hillary got stupid again. She decided she had to defend her time as Secretary of State and defend the Clinton Foundation. Clinton Defends Foundation: Smoke, But No Fire Her defense? Nobody benefitted improperly from using their status as a Foundation donor in order to gain access to her and the State Department.
Hillary doesn't get it. The issue is the access, not the result. She keeps confusing politics with a law court. It isn't whether somebody got something. It isn't whether she committed a crime. It's how it looks!
Same mistake with her "damn e-mails", as Bernie Sanders called them. The FBI didn't find her "carelessness" to have the requisite elements of a crime. I'll bet the attorney in Hillary had made damn sure they wouldn't. But it was nevertheless a stupid thing to do and looked very bad. That makes it a crime in politics if not in a court.
For being a vaunted "political machine", she and Bill are really stupid about politics. Especially about the parts of politics relating to public perception. They didn't have a mother like mine, a Chicago Daley, a cousin of the famous/infamous political Daleys of the Windy City. Ma grew up in a political household, midst judges, campaign managers (her father), office holders (an uncle was an alderman). Sunday dinner was twenty Irish all talking politics around the table while the kids listened.
In turn my Ma taught me such things as: "Don't have the name if you don't have the game". Here's another: "Perception is the same as reality." And another, "If the shoe doesn't fit, don't try it on." And another, "He protesteth too much."
Hillary doesn't understand any of this. And it's important stuff. Because it's not just about looking good so you can win. It's about people being able to trust you. If you look dishonest, people won't trust you. And you can't be much of a leader if people don't trust you. She may win the presidency even with her bleak ratings on trustworthiness, but she won't be a leader as president. The best she can hope for is to be an "executive" president, a hack who hacks her way through the work.
Therefore, God help us if something happens and the people have to be roused to meet it. In that situation, let's hope that she can rent Barack Obama for an hour of TV speeches.
But first she has to get elected. Best she can hope for now is a solid performance in the debates and Trump being Trump. She must keep our eyes on prize of what a booby Trump is. She can do this by keeping all eyes off herself.
But, alas! The other night she talked to Anderson Cooper on the phone and couldn't resist defending herself and the Clinton Foundation yet again. It came across as blither-blather, an Irish phrase suitable here for a useless attempt to defend the indefensible. It was first class idiocy and gave the story legs.
Clinton CNN interview about foundation turns testy ...
Hillary, the smell of skunk is in the air. Go in your house and close the door and close your mouth. (You can shove anti-Trump messages under the door.)
And recognize this, Hillary: The skunks who pissed this smell about the Clinton Foundation and State Department access were you and Bill. You made this mess and can escape it only by fleeing indoors and not by more pissiness.
In closing this posting, I wish to thank the skunk who lives in the shed in my backyard. He has reminded me of the wisdom of knowing when not to confront something. I could say he brought my mother to mind, but you might take that the wrong way. Being Irish, she would just laugh at my malapropism.
If only Hillary could learn to laugh. To laugh things off. To laugh at herself. Obama can do it pretty well, but JFK was a master at it as well as using humor to turn the stink back on the skunk.
Ah, if only Hillary could be Irish.....