I would stop writing about Hillary Clinton’s book tour if it would stop being Completely Ridiculous All The Time, but it hasn’t, so, there we are.
Most recently, the RNC has sent a squirrel to attend Clinton’s book events. This squirrel is not actually a squirrel but in fact an intern in a squirrel suit. (Maybe they’re saving the actual giant squirrel for after she announces?) Already I have gotten one notice on Twitter from someone insisting that it is in fact a chipmunk and that we should stop impugning the squirrel’s good name, but it looks like a squirrel to me and it seems to self-identify as a squirrel, which is what counts in my book.
This large beast, as Mother Jones reports, used to be associated with the RNC’s anti-ACORN campaign, which made at least marginally more sense. I think the best and worst that can be said of the squirrel itself is that, actually, if you look for squirrel costumes for adult humans online, it is one of the less creepy results that comes up.
Now the squirrel is following Clinton around, but because she isn’t exactly known for her tie-ins to Big Squirrel, the tag-line is “Another Clinton in the White House is NUTS!” Intuitive. You can even buy a bumper sticker.
On Tuesday, Clinton confronted the squirrel (he was starting to be the elephant in the room) and handed him an autographed copy of her book, which the squirrel proudly shared on his Twitter account.
— HRC Squirrel (@HRCSquirrel) June 17, 2014
Again, this just a factual description of a thing that is actually happening in real life in the world.
I hope that soon, no candidate or potential candidate can go anywhere without a giant stuffed rodent following him or her around. There is something about the presence of a large mascot that really brings home the glorious indignity of the modern campaign process. The last time I ran across a campaign mascot it was a large stuffed elephant named Ellis who was following Newt and Callista Gingrich around to help them read to children. And they actually wanted him to be there!
There was also, as The Fix points out, a dolphin named “Flipper” who followed Mitt Romney around.
You can imagine that, if Clinton is entertaining any doubts about running in 2016, this would be the sort of thing that would really bring them out.
You can forget a lot, between cycles. You can forget the buses, the packed diners with one or two Real Americans surrounded by a giant scrum of media, the debates, the scrutiny. You can allow these things to slip from your memory. “It was mostly fun,” you can tell yourself. “And it was great getting to hear from people all across the country. I can’t wait to do that again.”
Well, maybe you can. You can bury it deep down. But then the giant squirrel turns up.
It’s nuts, all right.
Please, everyone keep doing what you’re doing. 2016 cannot come soon enough.