The greatest obstacle to governing in our media-saturated culture, which allows everyone a voice -- no matter how nasty, frivolous or manipulative -- is the relentless nature of the onslaught.
No one is likely to understand this better than Hillary Clinton, who’s been squarely in those swirling spotlight beams since the early days of round-the-clock cable network news and the Internet. It’s astonishing, yet predictable, that at this early juncture of the 2016 presidential race, the former first lady, U.S. senator and Secretary of State enjoys the elusive "high positive" poll rating. The highest, in fact.
But all that could -- no, will change. No one knows that better than the wife of former President Bill Clinton. Few understand those wild pendulum swings better than the overwhelming favorite who lost the Democratic Party’s nomination for president to Barack Obama in 2008.
Even those who aren’t wild about Hillary Clinton should take a moment to admire her grit and determination and plain smiling pluck in the face of adversity -- not to mention outright political and personal disaster.
Reflecting on her fortitude in pushing past roadblocks and through ceilings few women in history have cleared also helps us understand something else -- how the media today is just as tyrannical as it is egalitarian. It promotes and then pulls down "all ye who enter here" -- that is, the public fray.
The Hillary Clinton saga(s) should, however, give us all hope: She’s on her second or third or fourth upswing toward poll nirvana, and she still can flash the occasional sly smile at herself, or over the entire dysfunctional "process."
We all know what is coming next for her. The grinding, screeching gears of the machine are churning more than two years ahead of the 2016 election. Republicans and conservative groups have been at it for months, and Democrats for whom the Clintons lack progressive or ethical purity are chiming in.
In fact, "they" of the media that now includes the Internet have this down to a science compared to the media of a few decades ago. And yet, it’s all crazily random, much of it completely lacking the filters of news experience or fairness or common sense (be careful wishing for an unfettered Internet).
If Hillary Clinton does rise to the presidency in 2016, a fitting conclusion to her many careers would be in slamming home the initiatives her predecessor has talked expansively of but rarely followed up with bold action. Real health care reform -- such as Medicare as an option for all -- would be a good place to start.
It could be that, massive media or no, definitive, historic results in a person’s final term are still the office-holder’s best revenge. Think Winston Churchill.