by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There is still a good chance that Clinton will end up in the White House in January 2017. But, if she does finally make it, it is likely to be despite, not because of, her insipid personality. This, remember, is Clinton’s third election in 16 years — the culmination of decades of scheming and calculating and learning from her mistakes. And yet, as if in open contempt of her advantages, she remains so hilariously wooden and meticulously hyper-scripted that it is beginning to seem as if she’d be better off bypassing the whole commander-in-chief gig and heading directly into the cast of eerie, wax-like animatronics that populate Disney World’s “Hall of Presidents.” Before she launched this year’s foray, a close aide reportedly lamented that Clinton “knows more about Libya than she knows about Iowa,” and that this is obvious on the campaign trail. On the face of it, one imagines that this is a touch harsh: Surely, she isn’t that bad? And then one picks up the New York Times and discovers that Clinton’s grasp of life between the coasts is so limited in scope that, until yesterday afternoon, she believed that christening rank-and-file voters “Everyday Americans” might be a winning approach in the impending election.
In both her mien and in her efforts to alter it, Mrs. Clinton cannot help but remind one of a famous Douglas Adams character, Praxibetel Ix. One of the stars of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Ix is an alien from the planet Betelgeuse who is masquerading on Earth as a human being. Ix’s disguise isn’t too bad, but, having “skimped a bit on his preparatory research,” he doesn’t quite manage to pull off the ruse without leaving a few tell-tale clues. Attempting to contrive an “everyday” English name, he calls himself Ford Prefect; hoping to convey friendliness, he issues forth smiles that tend to “send hitherto sane men scampering into the trees.” It’s not, you will note, that Ix is obviously not human; it’s that he is so close to being so that it sets your teeth on edge. As Robotics professor Masahiro Mori noticed in 1970, “almost-human” is often considerably more alarming than is “noticeably different.” Why are Hillary’s laugh sequences so bone-jarringly awful? Because they’re nearly there.