Fashioning a Future for "Senator Hillary"
Time and Newsweek Cover Stories, and Dozens of TV
political press found a quick remedy for post-impeachment blahs:
promoting the wife of the impeached man for the U.S. Senate. The
networks devoted more than 20 morning and evening reports and interviews
to "Senator Hillary." CNN’s Inside Politics could have been
called Inside Hillary: in the ten weekdays from February 15 to
26, the show aired 15 full reports and five interviews on her future.
The tone was typically
promotional. On the February 16 Today, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell
asked: "When you are used to being a star like the First Lady, how does
it feel, do you think, to be one of 100?" That night, CBS’s Dan Rather
added an "editor’s note" about Hillary aiming too low: "One of the
arguments reportedly being made to Hillary Clinton by those urging her
to run, is you win a Senate race in New York and you might be in
position to run for President later. Is she thinking about running for
President or Vice President in 2000, instead of for the Senate? No one
in a position to know will say."
Time and Newsweek
both made Hillary their cover girl on March 1, and both devoted nine
pages to her. Time’s Romesh Ratnesar found "political hacks were
salivating at the prospect of a celebrity death match between Clinton
and New York’s imperious Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani — a notion that makes
the state’s Democrats as giddy as 12-year-olds at an N’Sync show."
Ratnesar ended by quoting Robert F. Kennedy: "‘Come my friends, ‘tis not
too late to seek a better world.’ That sort of belief in the
possibilities of American politics no longer exists. Hillary’s run might
just be a step toward restoring it."
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas
and Debra Rosenberg declared: "In an ironic, Washington-hating age,
Hillary’s sometimes self-righteous dutifulness may seem quaint or hokey,
but to her, public service is still a real and urgent obligation. It has
been since she shone in her Methodist youth group as an earnest
teenager...Her model would be Robert F. Kennedy, who was not so much the
junior senator from New York as a global crusader. Like RFK, she could
make camera lights shine in dark places of neglect. Unlike RFK, Hillary
actually likes the minutiae of policy wonkery." They ended: "She has
always been a strong woman. But she has never had such a golden chance
to show her strength and put it to use, on her own terms."
Newsweek claimed: "Much
of the Washington media establishment would be all too ready to see her
fail." Not from the looks of these reports.
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