I guess the Hillary Clinton campaign spent a lot of time the last few days in debate prep looking for a response with the power of her “change you can Xerox” line that flopped so badly in the last event. Duane Patterson finds this gem at the 16th minute of last night’s debate, which neatly coincides with Hillary’s long-overdue 16th minute of her 15 minutes of fame. In this clip, she paints herself as the victim of the entire debate process … and uses Saturday Night Live as proof. No, I’m not kidding (via Memeorandum):
Hillary Clinton said she was curious about the media in the last few debates always going to her first, citing Saturday Night Live and offering to give an extra pillow to Obama to make him more comfortable. Groans and boos immediately erupted from the crowd. Want to know another signal that a campaign has come completely apart at the seams? Look at the debate prep. Hillary Clinton didn’t just walk into the auditorium in Cleveland tonight and throw caution to the wind. She prepared for this debate. She had people coaching her on what to say. The ‘change is something you can Xerox’ line was scripted. It laid an egg. A week later, she tries again to make another sarcastic joke about the media’s love afair with Obama. Again, it was an awkward egg laid by Mrs. Clinton. If I were a campaign manager, and my candidate flopped like that in two consecutive debates, whoever was prepping her wouldn’t just be fired, but probably sued for oratory malpractice.
You can tell that Hillary is frustrated that Obama is skating his way through the primary season without any significant scrutiny by the press. But as vast and skilled as Team Hillary is, there seems to be no one on the payroll that has any idea how to combat it. She doesn’t possess the debate skills to put her opponent on the defensive, and when she’s speaking at campaign rallies, whatever legitimate point she makes about the media’s messianic complex with Obama gets lost in her shrill delivery.
Hillary’s failures extend beyond this, and into the absurd. What’s more, they have consistently failed along these lines since November. When she took a tumble in the debate by alternately supporting and opposing Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue New York drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, she immediately went on the attack against Barack Obama. And how did she do it? The woman whose best literary analogue might be Lady MacBeth tried to convince people that they needed to worry about Obama’s obsessive ambitions — and used a kindergarten essay to “prove” that Obama had always wanted to run for president.
She turned herself into a satire. Last night, she went one step further: she mistook satire for reality. Perhaps Lorne Michaels wanted to atone for his $2300 contribution last year to John McCain, or maybe — just maybe — he was satirizing Hillary’s whining about unfair press treatment in that skit in addition to skewering the press. In either case, using an SNL skit to hammer debate moderators not only looks like a desperate attempt to be the victim, but also a desperate attempt to be hip.
Desperation is not an aphrodisiac. Neither is perpetual victimhood. And self-satire only works for those intent on getting a gig on a future version of Hollywood Squares.