Monday, June 09, 2003

Puff Pieces: No, of course I didn't see any of the Hillary interviews. But I'm surprised anyway by the comments, by everyone to the right of Tom Shales, that Barbara Walters pitched softballs to Hillary. Why on Earth do you think Walters got the premiere? Fearless prediction: Hillary will go all the way to the 2008 nomination without ever having to face a tough interview. She doesn't have to, thanks to her name recognition. Also thanks to the fact that her popularity is tied to her invisibility. Her handlers know that a combative appearance (more accurately, a shrill, shreiking appearance) with, say, Tony Snow would be a ticket to nowhere. She'll be the Oprah candidate, going on shows that focus on how she "feels" about things. Her policy statements will increasingly become exercises in put-on innocence and subtle snarkiness: "I just happen to think that working Americans shouldn't have to starve, after all." And the Oprahs and Barbaras will nod gravely as though a) working Americans starve, and b) if they did, Hillary's straw man du jour (like her 2008 opponent) would get a great chuckle out of it.

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