Recall if you will those unforgettable royal figures from yesteryear with their peculiar cognomens. Some of my favorites are Ethelred the Unready, a famously tardy English king from the Middle Ages. Or how about Charles the Bald, the Holy Roman Emperor whose glabrous head was widely remarked in his time and still is to this very day? And who can forget Pepin the Short? Even standing on his tiptoes he was the diminutive King of the Franks.
Now, early in the 21st century, we have another epic curiosity, Hillary the Inevitable.
Hillary Clinton was first dubbed "the Inevitable" in 2008 before she lost the Democratic nomination to a junior United States senator from Illinois. She returned in 2015 and was again dubbed "the Inevitable" — at least until the Iowa caucuses and her New Hampshire disaster. Now she's not viewed as all that Inevitable. Oh, sure, she is still bears the moniker by James Carville and by Paul (the Skull) Begala, and let's forget not the guy down at the end of the bar at closing time. He too is full of hope. Yet, as for others, they have their doubts.
For instance there is The New York Times' Maureen Dowd who this week accused Clinton of having "killed feminism." Said la Dowd: "The Clinton campaign is shell-shocked over the wholesale rejection of Hillary by young women..." Without those young women, Clinton's "coronation" is apparently far from inevitable.
Actually, I think there are other, more menacing omens out there. Clinton has more skeletons in her closet than a body snatcher. Going back to the 1970s, hardly a year has gone by without her being entoiled in yet another scandal. The Democrats are almost as impervious to reality checks as the Clintons, but now a growing number of Democrats, at least at the top of the party, fear defeat in 2016. They saw how rudely the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire electorate treated her. In New Hampshire, where in 2008 the Democratic stalwarts stood by her, this month they turned against her by 22 percentage points. Things are not looking up for the weeks ahead.
For one thing, there is her personal server. It continues as the mother lode of embarrassing emails. At first it was just her emails with Sidney Blumenthal, the fellow she had promised her boss, President Barack Obama, to steer clear of. Now, however, there are hundreds of emails revealing her and her aides as mishandling intelligence documents like amateurs and comingling State Department work with her foundation work like crooks. There is an active FBI investigation pursuing these and other matters.
As I understand it, if the FBI recommends the indictment of Clinton and of her aides and those indictments are not acted upon by the Department of Justice, FBI Director James Comey and others in the intelligence community will mutiny. It will be worse than Watergate. If Clinton were to get away with her flagrant mishandling of intelligence documents, our intelligence community's control of confidential documents would be forever imperiled. This prosecution goes beyond Clinton.
So Clinton's prospects as a presidential candidate do not look auspicious. There is the FBI investigation. There are the young feminists who apparently favor that wild and zany guy, Bernie Sanders. And there is Clinton's recent run-in with Donald Trump. If he is the Republican nominee, Clinton's candidacy is beyond hopeless. She has already lost in a sneak preview of Trump versus Clinton.
In that preview, played out at the end of December and in early January, she and her husband were rendered speechless. Bill Clinton in particular was solidly whipped by the New York billionaire and neophyte politician. He will not be eager to cross swords with the real estate mogul again.
In answer to Hillary Clinton's charge that Trump had "demonstrated a penchant for sexism," Trump roared back that her husband had a "terrible record of women abuse" and that she had a record as his enabler. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton has been heard from since in response to Trump. It is curious how few commentators have drawn attention to the confrontation. I am sure Trump has drawn the proper conclusion and Hillary Clinton's fumbling of the sex card is only one arrow Trump holds in his quiver.
The 2016 race has just begun, but it seems to me that the Democrats had better field a more competitive candidate than Clinton. Do I hear anyone mentioning Vice President Joe Biden?
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.