She's had a few good days, maybe she can string together a few more before the debate next week. First: Saturday Night Live, Val the bartender, and her imitation of Trump.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's starring role on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live," as usual, comes down to the same old question: Did she do herself any favors? "I've had a hard couple of 22 years," her double, Kate McKinnon, told the real-life presidential candidate. A hard couple of 22 months as well.
What was unique about Clinton's role on "SNL" was in fact that it was a role: Val, the bartender. Usually the idea is just to play a funnier, nicer, more human and more ironic version of one's self.
If at all possible.
Coming from an incorrigible Clinton non-supporter, she managed it.
She, or Val, even tried impersonating Donald Trump, and it's fair to say most viewers had seen or heard better.... But that didn't mean the skit didn't work for Clinton. It actually did because it broke down a standard go-to joke, of having the politician come face to face with their alternate-universe "SNL" version. That's almost always guaranteed a quick laugh. Not much else. Recall Tina Fey and Sarah Palin, or Amy Poehler and Clinton.
And turning the joke however very gently back on Clinton -- as someone late to her convictions on issues such as gay marriage or even the Keystone XL pipeline -- didn't hurt her, either.
Viewers got to see Clinton laugh, too. They don't see that often either. There hasn't been a lot to laugh about. "I wish you could be president," said the Hillary-McKinnon character. "Me too," said Hillary-Val the bartender.
Critics will argue that Clinton got a free campaign commercial (they won't be wrong). Or that she diminished her stature as a serious candidate (wrong -- many politicians eventually find their way to Studio 8H, including President Barack Obama in 2012).
"Millennial pandering" was the rap she got recently from a
SalonDaily Beast columnist for doing an interview with Lena Dunham and her "Lennyletter" newsletter. (But don't all politicians pander?) She even introduced Miley Cyrus -- who was on her best behavior Saturday for the occasion -- for the show's first musical performance.
This is really all we've come to expect from our politicians. Contrast her performance with one Bernie Sanders might make on the show in the near future. Maybe he can be funnier, or more warm, and compared to his gruff Brooklynite demeanor, it would be hilarious. We'll have to wait and see.
More importantly, the prohibitive favorite to replace John Boehner gave her a gift and she's using it to full advantage.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t want voters to forget that a top Capitol Hill Republican last week credited the House Select Committee on Benghazi with hurting her presidential campaign.
Clinton’s campaign is launching a new national cable TV ad that highlights the recent comments by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy—remarks that Democrats call proof that the GOP-led panel is designed as a political weapon against her.
“The Republicans finally admit it,” states the narrator of the ad that will begin airing Tuesday. It then shows the remarks last week by McCarthy, who is seeking to become the next speaker of the House.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee,” McCarthy said on Fox News late Tuesday night. “What are her numbers today?”
The ad’s narrator then states: “The Republicans have spent millions attacking Hillary because she’s fighting for everything they oppose. From affordable health care to equal pay, she’ll never stop fighting for you, and the Republicans know it.”
McCarthy may have shit the bed in more places than one.
The remarks, which were badly out of step with long-standing GOP claims that the committee is not political, irked Republicans including Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is mounting an uphill candidacy against McCarthy for the speaker’s gavel.
Rarely does a political opponent hand you such a large cudgel to beat them with. But these are House Republicans, after all. The best and brightest among them just aren't as smart as a fifth grader.
Then there's next Tuesday's debate, which won't have Joe Biden as part of it. That is, as someone once said, a BFD. Biden would steal the limelight to some degree simply by being there. If Clinton triumphs in the debate, rumors of his jumping-in might lessen.
Update: Lessig will not be participating in Tuesday's debate. Strike-throughs above reflect that correction.
I personally will look to see if Clinton goes after Sanders on gun safety. This could be the thing that turns Sanders' polling south, after his slow, methodical surge upward. She could be judged the winner of the forum based on this issue alone, almost irrespective of any other one. The Black Lives Matter incidents and concerns should draw the full scrutiny of each candidate, but I don't see them quite as pivotal at this time; that is, absent a protest during the debate. This analysis assumes no obvious gaffes by her or anybody else, for that matter. Update: More from Reverb Press, who reminds me that O'Malley has long touted his record on strict gun laws.
I can almost guarantee gun control will be a prime topic in the first primary debate on October 13. My prediction: O’Malley and Clinton will not hold back on berating Sanders about his relaxed position on gun control throughout his (political) tenure.
Finally, Clinton needs to take a position on the TPP now that it's back in the news. If she doesn't, she'll pay a price for it. Expect her to shilly-shally right up to the last minute, then come out against.
That rumbling you heard that started over the weekend wasn't just thunder. Hillary Clinton's campaign finally seems to be coming together.
Update: More on everything I wrote and a little more here.