I feel it in my fingers. I feel it in my toes. Hillary is all around me — and after hours and hours of that strange tingling, she’s in the 2016 race.
But what is Hillary Clinton?
Imagine, if you will, that under some rock deep in the middle of the country, there is an American who has not heard of Hillary Clinton.
I don’t know what this person has been doing all this time. Perhaps he has been in a coma since the late ’80s. Perhaps he decided not to leave the house or turn on the TV until he caught up on his back issues of the New Yorker. Maybe he is a form of yeti who has been hunted almost to extinction, and there are other issues on his mind.
Never mind how he came to be. But imagine with me that on Sunday afternoon, at 3 p.m., or just about, he wound up staring at a TV, where a video announced a candidate by the name of Hillary Clinton. Who, he might well wonder, is this Hillary Clinton?
The much-ballyhooed announcement video offers little hint. For the first half-minute or so, you would be excused for thinking that it was some sort of detergent commercial, intended to air during the Olympics. Gay weddings! Babies being born! Moms going back to work! Clorox, this commercial seems to say, has finally gotten with the program.
But then the ad continues. Clearly, this is some sort of anthology drama, around the theme of getting ready for things. Possibly the next installment of “Love Actually.”
Call it “Hillary, Actually.” Women getting ready to start businesses! Brothers getting ready to start businesses! Moms getting ready to go back to work! Families getting ready for the addition of new members! Gay weddings! Tomatoes! Legendary tomatoes! School plays! “I’m gonna be in the school play and I’m gonna be in a fish costume,” says a child. This is actually a thing that happens in the commercial. Actually. “The little tiny fishes…” the child sings. It doesn’t stop there. Cats! Dogs! Hillary actually is all around us. All it was missing was an aging rocker, hoping for one last hit.
But instead, we have Hillary. “I’m getting ready to do something, too,” Hillary says at the end of the video, one-upping all these people with their businesses and prize tomato gardens. “I’m getting ready to run for president.” (That fish costume doesn’t sound so impressive now, does it?)
“Because it’s YOUR time and I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” she amends quickly, but not quickly enough.
Whose time is it? Ours? Hers? Hillary is not the point, the ad seems to say. Hillary Clinton is a montage of the struggles of ordinary Americans. Put enough of our faces together and, inevitably, her image will emerge. Hillary actually is all around us. She’s not Hillary at all. She’s you.
Who is she? the cave-dweller might wonder. Don’t worry about that, this ad says. “I know too little about Hillary Clinton, and have not already formed an opinion of her,” says — no one worth worrying over.
This hypothetical cave-dweller is not her problem. It’s everyone else.