Yesterday's news from the campaign trail--that Hillary Rodham Clinton got "visibly emotional" at a rally celebrating her political career--nicely complements her team's accelerating efforts to signpost her basic humanity. (Did anyone catch her middle-of-the-road New Year's resolutions at last week's debate? Love her!) Emotionality is a fair card to play (see Mitt Romney's turn on Meet the Press), and the remarkable woman has had a remarkable life, but the sudden thunderclap of tears in Iowa fairly stank of artifice.
This is mainly because the softer voice and "glassy eyes" looked nothing like The Hillary I Know. I'd bet that in Mrs. Clinton's public life since the 1970s, reported cases of her actually weeping over any reality, let alone over a routine gathering of supporters, number positively zero. I implore someone to verify this--my cursory Nexis grab has yielded scattered claims that Hillary cried about Monica, and "just lost it--screaming, crying," in the aftermath of Vince Foster's death. But for the vast majority of the time we have known Mrs. Clinton, her standard policy on emotional displays has been fierce control.
A dishy but telling "period" article in the British Mirror probed "The Hidden Torment of Iron Hillary," and noted that in the face of scandal in 1998,
as [Bill] Clinton is besieged on all sides, it is his wronged wife who has told the President to tough it out.
And, once again, it is she who has drawn up the battle lines, personally heading a War Cabinet set up to protect the reputation of her husband.
Her posture is not tears, but defiance.
White House aides describe their approach to the allegations is a "rope-a-dope-strategy".
It's a response based on a boxing image in which a fighter simply keeps taking punches while waiting for his opponent to tire.
The problem is that the opponents keep on coming.