Imagine this: Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote but beat Donald Trump in the Electoral College. And now she's acting just like him! What will the Democratic Congress do? Spoiler alert: Nothing!
President Hillary Clinton is declaring last week a huge success, in fact “the most successful week ever” by a commander in chief, after making clear to the Group of Seven countries that she’s the boss of them and meeting with one of the world figures she most admires: Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
“Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” the first woman president tweeted after a five-hour summit during which she urged Kim to consider her law firm (where she’s still listed as a partner) for all his legal needs. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”
That was quick! Let’s break down the history made in this short slice of the Clinton era:
It started with Clinton ruminating on granting pardons for Richard Nixon and Jefferson Davis, but it was soon brought to her attention that it was all good, they’d already been pardoned. Hey, it was a joke, OK? Just like that thing about Canada torching the White House decades before Canada became a country. And that other thing where Clinton said that when Kim speaks, “his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
Jeez, doesn't anyone have a sense of humor anymore?
The week also saw several of Clinton’s classic and endearing breaks with convention. For instance, calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “very dishonest & weak.” Saluting a North Korean three-star general (“common courtesy,” Clinton’s press secretary called it, though Clinton had been warned, “Do not salute”). And the first-ever presidential ambush of White House reporters on the president’s own front lawn.
In a masterful domination of the media cycle, Clinton chatted up her MSNBC gal-pal and nightly adviser Rachel Maddow (who agreed with everything she said, true or false), and sparred confidently with the “fake media” (her edgy nickname for all outlets that aren’t MSNBC). It was riveting TV, as we have come to expect from the woman who herself starred in a top-rated reality show and now creates from whole cloth the reality — “alternative facts” — that the rest of us live in.
By week’s end, Clinton’s massive success could be judged by the level of apoplexy she had triggered among Republicans. Starting a trade war? Check. Adopting North Korea's language (“provocative” and “war games”) for U.S. defense exercises with South Korea? Check. Glowing film on North Korea produced by the U.S. government? Check. Effusive praise of Kim (tough guy, great personality, very smart)? Check.
Conservatives unleashed a gusher of indignant “if Donald Trump had done this” tweets and headlines like “Top 10 Clinton gaffes.” But Democrats showed no sign of any discontent. In fact, the week saw electoral triumphs that cemented the transformation of the Democratic Party into the Party of Clinton.
Chief among them were the primary defeat of a Democratic House candidate after Clinton tweeted that he was “MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina” (a low blow but again, she showed who was boss — he wasn’t helping her Make America Great Again) and the primary victory of a Senate candidate who aligned with the aggressive anti-fascist group antifa and campaigned as more Clintonesque than Clinton. “Don’t underestimate her, a major chance of winning!” the president tweeted.
A brief pall descended when it appeared that Canadians, who don’t have nuclear weapons, realized they could build some fast and maybe should consider that as a way to get some respect from Clinton. The week also featured a lawsuit against her foundation, a news report that her former fixer and lawyer was about to be arrested and the jailing of her former campaign manager for witness tampering while he awaited trial on other charges (reviving the "lock him up" campaign chant so popular among Clinton fans). It was the latest development in a special counsel probe — or witch hunt, as the president calls it — into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Clinton and her crack team, experts at defusion, diversion and evasion, handled the setbacks with a skill other politicians could only envy. Her lawyer, for instance, dismissed the Russia investigation as a short-lived annoyance. “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons,” he told a tabloid in her hometown.
The president herself said her foundation “gave out to charity more money than it took in” and attacked “sleazy New York Republicans” for going after her: “I won’t settle this case!” In another effective counterpunch that made headlines, she attacked the press when asked if she had helped daughter Chelsea write a false statement about a meeting her daughter had with Russians trying to help Clinton win the White House. “That’s not a statement to a high tribunal of judges,” the president said. “That’s a statement to the phony New York Times.”
Clinton also grabbed her chance with Maddow to show off like any a proud mom — congratulating her daughter and son-in-law on the $82 million in outside income they amassed last year while serving as her senior White House advisers. “That’s my girl,” the president said.
It was yet another trigger for conservatives — and another victory for Clinton, who proved in a matter of days that she could ignore protocol, custom, alliances, traditions, history, ethics and even truth with as much flair and impunity as any Republican, including Crooked Donald, as she calls him. And also that, like him, not only could she get away with it — her party would admire her for it and she would be untouchable.