Hillary Rodham Clinton cried on cue Monday, choking up in a contrived show of so-called emotion so unbelievable that even long-time supporters looked on in surprise.
One can only imagine that her note cards for the event contained detailed instructions on how to cry on camera. And here she was, attempting to show actual emotion but showing instead just how uncomfortable it can be to try and act human when doing so is just not in your nature.
Few bought the act. Anyone with an IQ over that of a two-minute egg knows Hillary Clinton is in trouble going into today’s New Hampshire primary, trailing the surging Barack Obama, struggling to stay afloat in a sea of change.
That situation might drive an ordinary person to tears but Clinton is no ordinary person or candidate and she has spent a career building the image of a stoic, always-in-control, hard-nosed politician who can take anything in stride and rise above it.
Sorry Hillary. We ain’t buying the crocodile tears. We know your handlers brought in a professional tear trainer to coach you on how to emote emotion on cue. You might want to fire the tear trainer. He didn’t get the job done.
Tears didn’t work for Ed Muskie in 1972. He cried on camera right there in New Hampshire and never recovered. Tears brought down the short-lived political campaign of former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder.
It might be OK to cry at a tragedy or at a memorial service for those who have fallen in battle but boo-hooing over lost campaign momentum just doesn’t cut in the political world.
Yeah, I know. This is just another example of how all us bullies in the media pick on poor little Hillary. She was the woman who could be President. Some said she was the woman who should be President. Now it’s beginning to look like she’s the candidate who can’t be President.
Call it the curse of the frontrunner. Howard Dean fell fast after a meltdown on stage in Iowa. Muskie cried and then disappeared into the New Hampshire snow. Gary Hart dared reporters to follow him around to see if he was cheating on his wife and then seemed shocked when they actually did and caught Donna Rice sneaking out of his Washington townhouse at the break of dawn.
When a candidacy appears unstoppable it reaches its most vulnerable point. Nobody likes presumption in politics. We like to see underdogs succeed. We enjoy it when voters prove pollsters and pundits wrong.
And we love it when the facade breaks and the candidate behind it is shown to be all too human and fallible.
Except when it’s an act and tears of convenience shed Monday by a calculating Hillary Rodham Clinton was nothing more than just another staged political event.