Gone with the W


Hillary Rodham Clinton was not a liberal, but the news media seldom realized it when surrounded by campaign placards and press kits, as a throng of reporters in the Oval Office were on this bright, cold day in January 2009.

"Fiddle dee dee, I can’t tell you people apart," chirped Hillary, her blue eyes fluttering prettily near the top of her magnolia-white head. "Now, what did you come to interview me about? Immigration? Health care –" 

Hillary paused, a wee worry line cracking her otherwise unmarred, alabaster forehead: "Or maybe you want to ask me how I got to be President after losing the Democratic nomination?"

The reporters clamored in the affirmative.

"I’ll just think about that tomorrow," Hillary announced. "Now, shoo. I’ve got some administratin’ to do!"

As Secret Service agents dragged the reporters away, Hillary settled back in her executive swivel chair and smiled. "Administratin’" – She liked the way she had learned to drop her "g’s" at the end of gerunds and participles. Somehow, it had helped her vote for a war in Iraq and funding for an endless occupation. It also inspired trust in hard-working Americans – hard-working white Americans. Not so much in those shiftless "other" people.

Hillary was glad she’d once told the press that campaign support from "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" had dwindled for her nonwhite opponent. And that "whites who had not completed college" supported her. Hillary sighed contentedly: It sure was nice, being a feminist.

Fiddle dee dee on the Middle East, recession, global warming: Didn’t everyone know that identity politics was what the Presidential campaign had been about? Whether women or African Americans faced more discrimination? Didn’t Gloria Steinem write in the New York Times that "the sex barrier is not taken as seriously as the racial one"? Hadn’t Geraldine Ferraro stated that Barak Obama got preferential treatment because he was a Black man? Why, even a Mary Kay Cosmetics sales director in Ohio, declaring that women wouldn’t accept "back-of-the-bus" status, organized a group of Democrats — mostly women — to campaign against Obama!

These brave feminists weren’t afraid to act on a truth that Reality forbade them to speak: that while "African Americans" may occur in different genders, "women" were always white. Yes, Sisterhood was powerful – at least for "hard-working" women. Hillary had had to use every ounce of her money and influence, but finally she proved she was more oppressed, by being elected President. 

Well. Maybe "elected" wasn’t the best word. There were those sexist accusations that she had hacked some voting machines; the perennial charge that votes of "hard-working" Americans counted more than those of "non-hard-working" Americans. Fiddle dee dee on that, too. Her philandering, gun-running skunk of a hubby had the matter under control. He owed her that much. 

Ecstatically, Hillary hugged herself around her 37-inch waist and let out a warm, executive cackle. "Home!" she cried exultantly. "George Bush is gone and I’m home, to Tara – I mean, the White House – where I belong. I’ll never be power-hungry again!"

Suddenly, her handsome little head was abuzz with all there was to do: print up new currency, privatize more highways, punish some superdelegates, arrange that cookie-baking photo op with Tammy Wynette …

Hillary rang for the White House maid, Pammy. Like most "hard-working" Americans, it took Pammy a little longer to appear than Hillary would have liked. Finally, she shuffled in. "Yeah, Ms. Hillary?" sighed Pammy, patting her hairdo.

"Oh, Pammy, I want you to wash the windows behind my desk," spoke Hillary crisply. "Then, if you could rip down those curtains and make me a nice pantsuit out of them. Now, don’t dawdle so – I can read you white, hard-working people like a book."

Suddenly, shouts and the sound of gunfire erupted from the White House lawn. A Secret Service agent, shot in the chest, stumbled in, clutching a bloodstained note. Groaning from the competing pains of his bullet-wound and of being used as such a transparent plot device, he managed to gasp, "Telegram for the President," before collapsing. Hillary’s administrative lips trembled as she read aloud: 


Terrified, Pammy began rending her dish towel, in the amusing frenzy reserved for working-class stereotypes. "I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no governments, Ms. Hillary!" she shrieked. "All I know is, you put a knife in the President to cut your pain in two –"

Pammy froze. Hoping to hell she hadn’t just inadvertently reminded her boss of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, she scurried out.

But Hillary Rodham Clinton only smiled. It was 3:00 p.m. in the White House and she was alone – alone with her feminism. Of course, she suspected terrorists. She remembered her old campaign promise about obliterating Iran. Shouldn’t she have equal opportunity to use a military ploy any male President would use to distract Americans from social change?

Her lily, feminist hand reached for the red phone. For a second, she thought she heard the voices of 71 million Iranians, wordlessly begging for their lives. But what were they, compared to one hard-working woman’s right to be President?

"Frankly, my dears," said Hillary under her breath, "I don’t give a damn."

SUSIE DAY can be reached at: sday@skadden.com

©  SUSIE DAY, 2008


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