Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Crying Game

Nobody channels the Clintons like Maureen Dowd:

There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.

As Spencer Tracy said to Katharine Hepburn in “Adam’s Rib,” “Here we go again, the old juice. Guaranteed heart melter. A few female tears, stronger than any acid.”

What's peculiar is how well the tactic worked on those women voters over 65. (I can think of a number of ways to characterize that group, but resist the temptation with the fear that if I do, I won't live to join them.) This group has been driving for roughly half a century. They know first hand that the fastest, easiest way to get out of a speeding ticket is to grow misty-eyed. The prospect of tears intimidates more than the actual crying. Consequently, this group of voters should have been the quickest to spot Hillary's manipulation.

Perhaps the mature women voters sympathized with the Hillary tears that we never saw: those that must have flown every time Hillary learned that the Boy President had cheated on her.

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