I would have an impossible time being anyone’s shill for a living. I can lie if I have to and I can distort what I need to, but it all falls apart very quickly. I’m drawn very early to a point where I just can’t do it anymore and have to call bullshit on my own bullshit. Union Carbide would never have wanted to hire me. I would have thrown up my arms and folded like a tent before they even laid a glove on me. “Union Carbide prides itself on being a good neighbor wherever it sets up shop. We provide jobs, and it’s part of our mission statement being engaged with the community, and….Alright, you win. Jesus, I can’t do this with a straight face. I knew it was a ticking time bomb. I’m surprised we carried out the charade as long as we did. I mean, cows died from drinking from the surrounding wells, and that happened in 1974. Ten years before! And dead cows in India. That’s the kind of thing that gets people’s attention. How the hell we got away with that I’ll never know. The place was leaking like a gas station condom and everyone knew it. I even heard there was a pool in the office on how long it was going to be before we made the worst kinds of headlines. All I remember was a lot of resume-writing on the clock and most of us just wanted to get the hell out of there before the serious shit came down. Amazing….Excuse me? No, sure, I can testify through the afternoon. No problem. Can I get someone to get me a soda, though?”
Holding your poker face when there’s $5,000 on the table and you’re holding a pair of 3s? That’s easy. Sticking to your talking points when you’re peddling a fantasy or even an outright lie, or pack of lies, that takes some real chutzpah. And I don’t have it.
That’s why I have to admit that Hillary has done one thing right in her campaign in embracing former DNC head and longtime Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe. There was a lot of adulation for Mark Penn’s ability to sell SubZero refrigerators to Innuits or, if necessary, convincing parents that their children contracting cancer from contaminated water wells feeding their school drinking fountains was their own fault because they didn’t love their children enough not to send them to an underfunded public school. Bosh. He’s an amateur. There’s one man who could pull that off and it’s not Mark Penn.
Terry McAuliffe is an amazing and engaging salesman. I’m 30 seconds with Hohe ward Wolfson on the screen in front of me and I’m reflexively checking for my wallet. He’s oily and shifty and you can see in his eyes that he has no heartfelt belief in what he’s selling, which is supposed to be Hillary Clinton. Terry McAuliffe could come on the television and argue that the Jews at Auschwitz deserved it and have me nodding and saying, “Well, I guess…” before I came back to my right mind. He’s intelligent and likable, even if he’s peddling the Devil’s crack.
On Meet The Press this morning, Tim Russert had him pinned down in a few corners he painted himself into and he finessed his way out of it. Russert nailed him where he smiled and hopped right over the fresh and wet paint. Howard Wolfson and Hillary herself were on record in October first, saying that Michigan’s votes would not matter because they moved their primary up against the threats of the DNC not to seat their delegations in Denver, and again in February when Wolfson nailed the Dems’ magic delegate number at 2,025, which he has since moved up to 2,209 to include Michigan and Florida. He gave the standard Clinton Team talking point that Obama took himself off the ballot in Michigan because he believed he couldn’t win, but there was a compromise attainable and that the DNC Credentials Committee would have the final word on the matter on their meeting on May 31. They won’t affirm the Clinton line then, but to hear Terry McAuliffe, they have a reason to and they might.
That said, the greatest hope for the Democrats is if Hillary shutters her offices in the very near future and Barack Obama uses his negotiating prowess to invite the Clintons to his election, but only on the condition that they can have a loyal Terry McAuliffe. He’s a marvelous and shameless salesman and, regardless of his failures at helping delivering the nomination to Hillary Clinton, he still has big cajones and he can use his powers for good once he’s done using them for evil.
Smooth as he is, it was admittedly a bit awkward when Terry referred to Tim Russert’s dead father. It would have been an elegant move if Russert didn’t have to point out that his father was still alive.