Hillary Clinton’s reply, one can only imagine, to the encouragement to “be herself” must be something like “Sure, what do you want that to be?” That’s the nub of her problem, crystallized in her “Face the Nation” interview on Sunday:

DICKERSON: In the politics this year, it looks like everybody wants an outsider.
DICKERSON: Now, that puts you in a fix.
DICKERSON: Does it put you in a fix? Tell us why it doesn’t put you in a fix.
CLINTON: I cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president. I mean, really, let’s think about that.

Yes, let’s think about it: It is preposterous. She is a professional politician who has spent decades in government or married to someone who was — as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, U.S. senator, presidential candidate, secretary of state and now candidate again. She is nothing like an outsider; she’s as inside as you can get, so she is simply telling the audience “I could be an outsider if that’s what you want!,” hoping that saying it makes it so.

Well, she’s a woman, she points out,  so that is outsider enough, she rationalizes. (Huh — the gender card converts her to a non-politician because. . . ?) She then is forced to retreat:

DICKERSON: Yes. But you know what I’m asking.
CLINTON: Well, I know you’re asking, do we want people who have never been elected to anything, who have no political experience, who have never made any hard choices in the public arena? Well, voters are going to have to decide that.
DICKERSON: But they worry that people who are inside are too inside, that that’s why the economic situation is tilted against the middle class. It’s why they always feel like everybody can wiggle around the rules.
And that’s something you have to deal with, right?
CLINTON: Of course it is.

In other words, what she just said about being an outsider is total bunk. She now says her experience should count for a lot. So which is it — outsider or experienced pol? Yeah, whatever you want her to be, she can be.

The interview continued:

DICKERSON: Your friend the late Diane Blair wrote in her diary — quote — “On her deathbed, Clinton wants to be able to say she was true to herself and is not going to do phony makeovers to please others.”
So, knowing you don’t want to engage in phony makeovers, give us three words that is the real Hillary Clinton.
DICKERSON: Just three.
CLINTON: Just three? I can’t possibly do that.
I mean, look, I am a real person, with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that. And I have been in the public eye for so long that I think — you know, it’s like the feature that you see in some magazines sometimes. Real people actually go shopping, you know?

So she is a person in the public eye for so long who is an outsider with loads of experience. Gotcha. And funny she should mention shopping (aside from the decidedly non-feminist stereotype). Those pantsuits don’t come off the rack at Loehmann’s, I can tell you:

Most clients, Clinton included, personally go into one of [designer Nina] McLemore’s 14 boutiques (one in Friendship Heights sees a good deal of power-woman foot traffic). “These women don’t have a lot of time for shopping, so we’ll set aside what we know they like or what works; then they come in, try on the looks, pick and choose and be out the door,” says McLemore. . . . Members of McLemore’s cult following obviously believe her philosophy, which is why they don’t question shelling out between $500 and $1,000 for one of her camera-ready jackets and $400 for matching pants.

No, her shopping is nothing like what “real people” do (e.g., look for sales, drive through traffic, circle to find a parking spot, attempt to flag down a salesperson, wait in line at the register). Her life — her “real life” — is that of an extraordinary wealthy insider who has everything handed to her and has come to believe because she had enemies and was on the side of the angels that the rules for little people don’t apply to her. Even now she won’t admit misconduct. (“What I did was allowed. It was fully above board.”) After all this she falsely insists others at her level did the same:

CLINTON: But, John this was done by prior government officials, including . . .
DICKERSON: But not at this level, not solely a server just for you.
CLINTON: You know, look, let’s — it was done by others.

Others. Not at her level.

Within the confines of a single interview — a single question! — she shifts and squirms, evading the truth and trying to assess what would be best to say, not what would be honest. Hillary Clinton’s dilemma, in a nub, is that the public wants an “authentic” person, meaning a candid person who speaks his or her mind. Vice President Biden could be that. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) could. Hillary Clinton? Not so much.