Since the campaigns began for the 2008 presidential elections, Sen. Barack Obama has taken a definitive lead in the polls, outpacing his rival Sen. Hillary Clinton. With only a slim chance for success, Clinton has decided to soldier on, perhaps to prove herself just as able as her husband. Despite her intentions, however, her chances continue to dwindle, and her campaign is dissolving into a public-relations nightmare.
What we are left with is what one might call a New Bush – someone who, with little true political experience, has decided to ride the coattails of her predecessors in the hope of securing an easy win. In doing so, however, Clinton has failed to account for the wants of what has suddenly become her public – she has become, in effect, a chameleon, a presidential robot, a product of the political industry akin perhaps to an Andy Warhol work.
During Bill Clinton’s years in the White House, Hillary stood beside her husband and supported him through his crises. Yet Bill was always at the forefront, always the one smiling self-assuredly for the cameras and promising the masses that he would teach them what the meaning of the word “sex” was.
But while Bill was enjoying the limelight, Hillary was left in the dark as to how presidential relations worked. As a result, her race to succeed her husband saw her with no idea of where to go or what to say. Relying solely on her prior experience as Bill’s coach, she originally came off as a take-no-prisoners “professional” candidate who, although she promised results, delivered them without an ounce of true feeling.
With her chances waning, Clinton suddenly slipped into a more “genuine” role in an attempt to save herself. In a true sci-fi twist, the robot has grown a human heart. But this is all too little, too late. Inasmuch as everyone knows that presidential baby-kissing is done as a show, it’s made all the worse when the show is not genuine.
In keeping with her wavering social standings, Clinton has become notorious for walking the middle ground on public issues. The Gallup polls have said her conservative and liberal views are split almost evenly, and she continually doubles back on her political views.
When Clinton was asked about her views on same-sex relationships, she openly opposed the idea of same-sex marriage but allowed for the formation of a gay civil liberties union. In effect, she’s playing both sides of the field: While she is hoping to appeal to what she believes to be the majority in her opposition of gay marriage, she’s also leaving herself an escape route.
The simple fact is, Clinton is a pollster. As such, it becomes difficult to tell exactly where her loyalties lie. By adopting this policy, Clinton has effectively sacrificed her integrity: She is allowing the public to tell her how to feel, much in the same way that Andy Warhol satirized the factory-driven artistic scene with his Campbell’s cans and Brillo boxes.
Clinton’s wavering nature and overly precise, robotic tone (as well as her ambiguous views on homosexuality) link her inextricably to the pop artist: like Warhol, Clinton is a shapeshifter, altering her vision to whatever suits the current views. She has become the Campbell’s soup can, a faceless product of the political industry, left fighting on the slimmest of chances that she won’t get eaten alive.