There is good news for all those liberals out there enduring extreme angst over Hillary Clinton losing her race for president in 2016. In an alternate universe Hillary has a much better shot at winning that contest because she would be carrying less baggage than the real Hillary.
And the main reason is that in the alternate universe as fantasized by author Curtis Sittenfeld in her novel Rodham, due to be released on Tuesday, she dumps Bill Clinton before they even get married. Yes, apparently the reason that the real-life Hillary has been so ethically challenged was due to Big Bad Bill, or at least that is the way Sittenfeld portrays it.
A New Yorker review of the book on Sunday by Nora Caplan-Bricker makes it seem as if, despite the author's intent, the book comes off as comedy.
Whenever Clinton ran for President, though, it became harder to see her so simply. One might have longed for a candidate with fewer dimensions, for a world where it was somehow possible to excise the most disturbing chapters—the support of Bill Clinton’s crime and welfare-reform bills, the vote to invade Iraq, the unwavering defense of a husband accused of rape and sexual harassment—from the story of her career, leaving the lifelong advocate for women and children, the first feminist standard-bearer to become a major party’s Presidential nominee.
Why didn't we have a purer, more ethical Hillary, free from all that baggage that was mostly imposed on her by her husband? Paging the alternate universe to beam us up and out of our progressive disappointments....
Sittenfeld steers her heroine to an alternate-universe 2016 election, one she enters unencumbered by all the baggage that the Clintons accrued over four decades in politics. The book implicitly blames Bill for most of that. “If I was no longer his girlfriend, and never his wife, I was not responsible for his behavior, not even by extension,” the fictional Hillary reflects as she drives away from Arkansas after the pivotal breakup. “This absolution was my reward for losing him.”
Rodham yields to the fantasy that we could reshuffle the deck of the recent past and deal again.... Like a piece of flotsam that holds clues to why the ship wrecked, the warped events of “Rodham” are the right shape to contain an emotional truth: the novel’s version of Hillary is more or less the one that many supporters wished they were voting for.
Isn't it amusing that people who always say their opponents are on the "wrong side of history" are licking their own wounds by reimagining history as they want it to be? This book isn't the only version.
Early chapters covering the courtship of the fictional Bill and Hillary serve to establish that she has inviolable principles, while he has none. The beginning of the end of their love affair comes when she stops him from using bribe money, possibly costing him a seat in Congress. “This is the best decision you’ve ever made,” a friend tells Hillary when she leaves Arkansas, heartbroken. “Now your life belongs to you again.”
But that new fictional Hillary would lose out on the opportunity to "earn" $100,000 in cattle futures money from her best friend's husband at Tyson Foods. Sittenfeld and her fans cannot admit that Hillary's desire to make money in Arkansas were an essential part of the Clinton scandals.
To make a long story short, without Bill supposedly weighing her down, the single Hillary goes on to win a Senate seat from Illinois and in this alternate universe she does not vote to go to war with Iraq for a reason that will induce laughter:
While Hillary wins her seat, Bill falters without her, and drops out of the 1992 primary. The list of ways their breakup changes history thus includes an altered succession of Presidents. John McCain becomes Commander-in-Chief instead of George W. Bush, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq never occurs. Conveniently, this rescues Sittenfeld’s Hillary from casting an unpardonable vote for an indefensible war.
Yes, how very convenient for Hillary. Now liberals can feel good about her not voting to go to war simply because George W. Bush was not the alternate universe president so that vote never came up.
So who will buy that book? Probably the same people who considered The West Wing's Jed Bartlet to be their president.