"Ignore the noise - Clinton will win in 2016," we are assured by a columnist in Hillary's journalistic namesake The Hill. "The email flap will be gone soon enough."
That's probably the way to bet. Rightie pundits are going on about government-issue Blackberries, insecure servers, federal record-keeping, the law, national security, peripheral stuff like that. Leftie pundits are saying: yawn, nobody cares, it's never gonna catch fire, give it up. Everyone implicitly agrees that Hillary did something she shouldn't and that her justification for doing so is ridiculous. The only disagreement is whether it makes any difference. The Hill's Fernando Espuelas says no:
Clinton has a built-in advantage her gender... Some percentage of Americans, likely a large one, would like to cast a historic vote. When polling points to Americans wanting "change," what bigger change than a woman as president?
A change to a competent citizen-executive whose administration spends within its means, ceases obstructing economic growth and middle-class prosperity, and restores American influence in the world?
Oh, well. One takes his point: Most other citizens of developed and not-so-developed societies cast those "historic votes" long ago - Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, India, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel, Turkey, Portugal, Germany, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Transnistria... At the time of those "historic votes" on a good half of that list, "gender" was not "a built-in advantage" but a built-in disadvantage that skilled and nimble female candidates had to be exceptional to overcome. If I follow Mr Espuelas correctly, he's saying that America is getting round to its "historic vote" so late that "gender" is now such an advantage that any old female candidate can be dragged across the finish line, no matter how shopworn, wooden, charmless, tin-eared and corrupt.
Maybe. But, even so, Hillary Clinton is still a severe test of that thesis. Charles Krauthammer detects "Early-Onset Clinton Fatigue". Whether that is yet afflicting the electorate, it certainly seems to have gripped the candidate. At that press conference, Hillary seemed to be going through the motions. Flush with Saudi cash and a well-oiled shakedown Rolodex, Clinton Worldwide Inc has no reason not to run for president, but apparently no compelling reason to run. When the candidate runs into trouble, grizzled drooling attack dogs from the Nineties - Lanny Davis, James Carville - are loosed from their chains and limp dutifully from the Old Pooch Home to bare their remaining fang for their mistress. Is there anyone new, young, talented willing to defend Hillary? I mean, other than Huma, the only woman in America whose marriage rivals the exhibitionist creepiness of the Clintons in their heyday.
Let's take The Hill's chap at his word: "Gender" will trump whatever stiff the Republican primary season throws up. In that case, why not run a woman who isn't quite so bloody awful at running? Someone younger, someone whose principal selling point isn't her husband's surname, someone with actual accomplishments and a political philosophy? She doesn't have to be that much younger, or accomplished. Elizabeth Warren is two years younger than Hillary, and her principal accomplishments are TARP and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, neither of which is my cup of tea. But that's two more accomplishments than Secretary Clinton can claim. And okay, she's not the most riveting public speaker, but she's Tom Jones at Vegas next to a speak-your-weight machine in a pantsuit. And yes, Senator Fauxcahontas Crockagewea Warren's got her own scandal - in that she got hired as Harvard Law School's "first woman of color" on the basis of a dubious claim to be one thirty-second Cherokee and having contributed Cole Porter and the Duchess of Windsor's favorite crab dish from an upscale Manhattan restaurant to a cookbook of authentic tribal recipes.
Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, isn't that kind of a charmingly amateur, sweetly naive racket? It's a small-town home-cooked mom'n'pop racket compared to the 24/7 industrial-scale multinational Saud-kissing pedophile-jetting rackets of Clinton Global Mega-Racket Inc,
As I said, Senator Warren is a mere two years younger than Secretary Clinton, which means, if she's ever going to run for president, it has to be now. Why not go for it? Wouldn't Democrats like to elect a real first female head of government like Thatcher or Merkel or Golda Meir or all those Scandinavians? Why should all those Americans itching to cast that "historic vote" have to have it tainted and thrown away on dynastic succession? How "historic" can your vote really be when, insofar as Hillary's "running" at all, she's running as if she's already won and she's just running out the clock till the coronation? Are Democrat women so cowed and subservient they're just going to have the House of Saud's candidate shoved down their throats and meekly be driven to the polls in theirs burqas by Lanny Davis?
Well, yes. Probably. Okay, definitely.
But we can always dream. And my bet is that, after Tuesday, a lot of Democrats are dreaming. A Hillary presidency is an "historic first": not the first female president, but the second Clinton president, and the second-rate Clinton president.