A pair of rowdies crashed a Hillary Clinton campaign appearance in New Hampshire two nights before the election with this chant: "Iron my shirt." Mrs. Clinton responded in a shirty manner -- that's British slang for ill-tempered -- by having them ejected, then using their outburst as empirical proof that women are still being held back from achieving in this country. The irony that a woman attorney twice elected to the Senate was decrying the lack of opportunities afforded American womanhood was lost on her. Either she was pandering or she really thinks she is Pandora, the mythological first woman.
But if it is irony you are looking for (and especially women are irony-depleted, as the health supplement industry reminds us), we have that aplenty in the prospect of Hillary going down to defeat at the hands of Barack Obama. If that scenario comes to pass, and he is the nominee of the Democratic Party for President in 2008 while she goes home to sulk behind the Iron Gender Curtain, there will be engendered a spectacular series of ironies.
First of all, Mrs. Clinton is from Illinois. She moved to Arkansas to join her husband. When, as First Lady, she suddenly got the urge to run for Senate, it was first assumed her target was Illinois. When her political team got through chewing the fat and the facts, they decided New York afforded her the best shot. So, in one fell swoop, she fell into Long Island and swooped down onto Chappaqua. If she winds up being thwarted in her Presidential aspirations by the Senator from the State of Illinois, that will be, in a word, ironic.
Then we have the Clintons' ostensible, and ostentatious, championing of the black person. Why, no one cares more about the blacks than Bill, and no one is as touched by their plight as Hillary. So much so that they have been accorded honorary pigment by such luminaries as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. They will do anything, anything, to give the black American a hand, a leg up, a shot in the arm and a pat on the back. How ironic if the message that their services will no longer be required in the black community is delivered by a messenger who is dusky-complected.
Here is yet another one. The engine behind the Hillary campaign has been the drive to make history. Why cast your vote along classic lines when you can break new ground? Let us show those hidebound Republicans that we in the Democratic Party are committed to the full equality of all citizens, leaving behind those antiquated barriers that are a piece of atavism reflecting a primitive past. Then along comes a guy who sees your history and raises. It is much more progressive to elevate a member of a 12 percent minority group than a member of a 50.5 percent majority group.
In truth, Fate has been dumping irony into the lot of Hillary Clinton for a very long time, although most of her devotees are too besotted to notice. For example, when her husband was accused by Gennifer Flowers in 1992 of maintaining a long-term extramarital affair, Hillary joined him on a segment of 60 Minutes and declared: "I'm no little Tammy Wynette just prepared to Stand By My Man." The swipe at Wynette was gratuitous, of course, because her song was art, not an instruction manual. Still, it was amazingly ironic when Tammy Wynette passed away right at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when Mrs. C was precisely enacting Stand By My Man.
Now again, just as people believed her sincerity the other Sunday in tearily baring her heart, Sir Edmund Hillary died. Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton lied in saying her mother had named her after Sir Edmund in tribute for his climbing Everest; she was born six years before his feat. What few recall is that she not only lied about the man, she lied to his face. She told it to him in a personal meeting on a trip to New Zealand during her husband's administration. So much for sincere heartfelt personal words to give an insight into her inner soul.
So I say to the men of this country, keep your shirts on. Give them to the dry cleaners for a buck or so a pop and don't be a bunch of skinflints. Women like big spenders, you know. And a bunch of men sending a woman to the White House to be the biggest spender of all, now that would be truly ironic.
Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator. He also writes for Human Events.
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