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Why the Hard Right Brands Hilary Clinton a Liberal

08.17.2006 04:42 | DISPATCHES

What's a girl expect when she plays the field?

The only liberals that support Hilary Clinton are those who think supporting a "centrist" candidate is realpolitik. (How mature of them.) Why then does the hard right persist in characterizing her as a standard bearer for the left?

To find out, let's portray Hilary in another unlikely role: as a baseball player. Actually, she professes to enjoy baseball -- the Clinton White House hosted the New York Yankees when they won the 1998 World Series. Shortly afterward, Hilary appeared on the "Today" show and asserted that she'd always been a Yankees fan.

Host Katie Couric replied that she thought the first lady, who's from Illinois, was a Chicago Cubs fan. "I am a Cubs fan," Clinton said. "But I needed an American League team [too]." Ever the fence straddler.

Her baseball cred established (kindly suspend belief for the duration), imagine Hilary as a centerfielder. But the shift is on: She's migrated to the right-most reaches of center field. Though, in a perfect world, the hard right would be relegated to foul territory, it's manning right field -- and it's mighty uncomfortable with its proximity to Hilary. Encroaching on its territory, she's trying to snag votes coming in like fly balls that are rightfully the right's.

Now imagine an announcer sympathetic to the right plying us with the misinformation that Hilary is the left-fielder. Thus is she tarred with the brush of liberal, which, as everybody knows, is just another name for someone more concerned with the unhappy childhood of a terrorist rather than his victims. Also, anyone to the left of Hilary -- like an actual liberal -- is elbowed entirely off the field.

But maybe the situation will take care of itself. After reaming out Rumsfeld and proclaiming of Cheney "I don't take anything he says seriously anymore," it looks like Hilary's wandered over to, if not left field, the left perimeter of center field. The hard right might think it has her right where it wants her now. But suddenly she's where the balls are being hit and it looks like she's intent on chasing them down.


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