Monday, January 14, 2008

Lady Macbeth, I presume? Hillary now on a fateful path

I recently saw a broadcast in a local theater of the Met's production of MacBeth--Verdi's operatic retelling of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. As the story of Lady Macbeth's (the steely one in the story) ambition to have power and her determination to stop at nothing to keep power unfolded, I thought uncomfortably of Hillary and her less than subtle playing of the race card in her titanic struggle with Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Hillary and her operatives are increasingly turning to race as a campaign strategy. Thankfully many bloggers are chronicling her efforts. I've found plenty to read at the Politburo Diktat (1,2,3), where the Kommissar has again hit his blogging stride. He in turn points to an effort by the Jack and Jill blog to create a list of the slurs, aspersions, and bile coming from the Clinton camp.

Should Hillary become president we will see the seven fateful words from Macbeth's first scene come true. As the three witches stir their poisonous brew they chant in unison that "Fair is foul, and foul is fair...." The witches preferred nastiness to civility, conspiracy to transparency. They would be well pleased with the Clinton machine.

Hillary possesses to an uncomfortable degree the essential negative characteristics to turn her into a latter day Lady Macbeth. Certainly her ambition to see Bill in the White House led her to swallow gross insult after gross insult to her marriage. Now that she has her chance at the main prize she appears willing to use any and all means to seize that chance. One senses the continuing hovering presence of Macbeth's witches in the "fog and filthy air" of Hillary's campaign.

Another apt quote for Hillary, and the Clinton machine in general, comes from a more recent politician. Before Nixon became vice-president, Adlai Stevenson remarked that "Nixonland is a land of slander and scare, of lay innuendo, of a poison pen and the anonymous telephone call, and hustling, pushing, and shoving-the land of smash and grab and anything to win.". Nixonland is clearly not terra incognita to Hillary.

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