Written by Daniel Greenfield
Occasionally someone pranks an unwitting MSNBC panelist or a bunch of teenagers by asking them to name a single Hillary accomplishment. Even though Hillary has piled up more awards than Charles de Gaulle, nothing comes to mind. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune has the writer asking a group of Chicago leaders the same question about Obama's foreign policy.
Obama and Hillary don't just suffer from a shortage of accomplishments. They're also burdened with a surplus of failures. Benghazi worries so many Hillary supporters because there is nothing to balance it against. There is no, "But look at all the good she did." Hillary didn't do any good. She didn't do much of anything except tour countries and pose for photos.
As a Secretary of State she made a perfectly adequate First Lady.
Obama talks the teleprompter talk, but when you look at the results they're universally awful. Whether it's the things that he only pretends to care about, like the VA, or the things he does care about, like Obamacare, after the splashy ribbon cutting ceremony comes the disastrous mess.
Like every other summer blockbuster, it's great marketing for a terrible product. And just like the summer blockbuster, Obama's actual policies are treated as disposables to be forgotten about. Scandal management consists of Obama making a serious face and promising to take this serious problem very seriously before heading out for a round of serious golfing.
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the VA; he is just as angry about it as you are. All he's really doing though is matching your emotional tone to dampen your response. It's something that everyone from call center operators to customer support executives dealing with angry clients are taught to do. It means as little from Obama as it does from Kathy in Des Moines saying, "I understand you're angry."
The bad product stays bad and the customer feels as if someone is listening to him. It's not failure. It's liberalism.
So don't cry for Hillary and don't write off Obama. Achievement of the old kind is very overrated. It's not about how high your GPA is but how many politically correct extracurriculars you have. In politics, just like in college, diversity and style increasingly count for more than achievement.
Post-American politics are also post-achievement politics. The morality of progressivism is more important than the substance of progress.
From the Sociology major who keeps thinking that she should volunteer at a soup kitchen to the most powerful man in the country who keeps saying that he wishes he could do something about all these problems, the left thinks that wanting to do something is what makes you a good person. It doesn't matter if what you're doing does any good. It doesn't matter if you succeed.
The politics of the left are narcissistic. Its members are less concerned with changing the world than with being good people by wanting to change the world. That's what Obama received his premature Nobel Peace Prize for, not for what he did, but for what he talked about doing.
The loftier your vision, the better of a person you are. The only truly good people never sell out and never do anything. To actually do something is to sully your vision by compromising it and risking failure. It's not the things that Obama has done that the left loves him for. It's his empty talk, his worthless words and his teleprompter visions.
There are two Obamas. One is the real politician. The other is the imaginary Obama of 2007; a figment of David Axelrod's imagination layered over with bizarre art and visions that transformed him into a superhuman being of light before he ever set foot in the Oval Office.
This Obama can never fail because he doesn't really exist. It's this Obama who makes the public appearances on the front pages while the other Obama's policies are discussed somewhere in the meatier parts of the paper. The imaginary Obama shows up on American Idol while the other Obama sends vets to cemeteries. And to millions of Americans, the imaginary Obama is more real than his destructive real life counterpart. The idea of Obama is more real than his policies.
The imaginary Obama has his counterpart in a reimagined Hillary. This Hillary is a fictional character living in the collective vision of the left who has little relationship to the real Hillary; a neurotic and insecure figure obsessively clinging to the promise of power as if it were the only meaning in her life.
Hillary's lack of achievement as Secretary of State gives her a purity that she lacked when she went from the Senate to the campaign trail. It's easier for the left to project its visions onto a blank space that spent a few years touring the world than on Senator Clinton who had actual political positions. Like Obama, she is free to be anything. She too can lower the oceans or raise them, fix all the things that her predecessor broke and usher in a new age of world peace.
If Hillary Clinton had successfully brought peace to the Middle East or negotiated an important territorial accord in Asia, those things would actually disqualify her. They would be real world achievements that could be critiqued and taken apart. They would highlight her flaws as a real diplomat and a real human being. But having done nothing, even while four Americans were dying, she is flawless. A perfect void of nothingness that the left can project everything on.
That purity of blankness is why Obama approaches every scandal as if he had just heard about it on the evening news. It's as if every day in office is his first day. It's important that he have no specific track record, just the vague one of fighting for the right things like gay rights, illegal aliens and 3D printer hubs. Not to mention gay illegal aliens running 3D printer hubs.
Forget the last three scandals. Obama is still Miss America. He wants to feed all the hungry children and bring world peace. It's all intentions and no results. If he's in a red state, he might mention killing Bin Laden, but mostly it's all visionary talk about investment, opportunity and reaching out. He's still running for office with no track record on a platform of hope and change.
Progressives live in a world rushing toward a future that never arrives. Everything is immediate and immediately forgotten. The past and the future are constantly being rewritten for the needs of the moment. History is revised to prove a current assumption about the present. Science exists in the hypothesis, not the proven theory. Everything is immediately known and yet everyone is ignorant.
Obama and Hillary are the figureheads of this imploding world. They run on a personal history made out of lies while refusing to run on their track records.
They want everyone to know their fictionalized life story while refusing to discuss the things they actually did while in office. They become icons who represent all minorities or all women, but who cannot be held accountable for anything that they did as individuals.
Don't ask Obama or Hillary about Benghazi. Dude, don't you know that was two years ago? Ask them what they think about Kim Kardashian or Donald Sterling or racial injustice in America. Ask them what their favorite movie or song is. Treat them like celebrities, not politicians. Don't ever ask them what they achieved. It's like asking Kim Kardashian what she achieved.
She's famous and they're famous. And they're all famous for being famous. Hillary Clinton will run for the White House on a platform of being famously famous. As the Kim Kardashian of national politics, she's the inevitable nominee. Her accomplishments are self-referential. Hillary's accomplishment is being Hillary. She deserves to be the nominee because she's Hillary.
Millions of voters will see it that way. And if you don't, it's probably because you're old-fashioned enough to believe in accomplishment
Dude, you know that's racist. Right?
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish.