Hillary Clinton is borrowing from Richard Nixon, a man she worked to impeach while a staff member of the House Judiciary Committee in the early 1970s. Like Nixon, whose handlers successfully fooled a majority of voters by trotting out a "new Nixon" after his election defeats in 1960 and 1962, Hillary Clinton is trying to change her public image with voters, a majority of whom finds her "Unlikeable," to borrow from the title of Ed Klein's new book.
In an interview with Newsmax TV, Klein said of the Democratic presidential frontrunner, "There's something always behind what she's saying, and ... there's a calculation about her. You can't get elected president of the United States if 57 percent of people think you're a liar, untrustworthy -- and they do."
Hillary and her staff have not been secretive about their plans for a makeover. They announced it to The New York Times.
The biggest step so far in her transformation came last weekend on "Saturday Night Live." In a sketch featuring Kate McKinnon, the designated Hillary character for this election cycle, the real Hillary appeared as a bartender named "Val." Reading from cue cards with scripted political and even self-deprecating jokes, the real Hillary presented herself as warm, fuzzy and funny, characteristics heretofore unknown in the former first lady, former New York senator and former secretary of state.
In case there was any doubt as to where NBC's political heart is, the opening segment of the show ridiculed several Republican candidates as mentally ill and in need of pharmaceutical help. Not content with the candidates, "SNL" even mocked Donald Trump's wife, a former model. McKinnon as "Hillary" said if she's elected she plans to nail Trump's hair to the wall in the Oval Office. Yucks all around as the mostly young audience went wild with laughter and applause. I wonder if shows still have the old applause signs to ignite fake spontaneity, which would be appropriate in Hillary's case.
During the 1992 campaign when Bill Clinton ran for and won the presidency, CNN was referred to by critics as the "Clinton News Network" for what they perceived to be the cable network's uncritical boosting of his candidacy and its over-the-top criticism of President George H.W. Bush. Maybe NBC will come to stand for "Nothing But Clinton."
"Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie recently "interviewed" Chelsea Clinton, a former NBC correspondent. Do you think that might have been NBC's attempt at buying influence and access to the Clintons? You're such a cynic.
Guthrie asked Chelsea these hard-hitting questions about her mother: "What's she like as a grandmother? I mean, paint us a picture of Hillary Clinton at home, hanging out, talking baby talk. ... You say she sings. Does she have a good voice?"
At least "SNL" has the excuse of being produced by the network's entertainment division. The news division and Guthrie committed journalistic malpractice with questions like that.
For that reason, the forthcoming Democratic debates should include one well-known conservative journalist, as was the case in the second Republican presidential debate when Hugh Hewitt of the conservative Salem Radio Network was a panelist.
There is no "new Hillary," any more than there was a "new Nixon." It's all a cover-up, like Watergate.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for the Tribune Content Agency. Email him in care of firstname.lastname@example.org.