Her Achilles’ Heel

Achilles was said to be among the most gifted warriors of all time, consumed entirely by rage, swifter than a horse, and blessed with armor that made him invincible from head to toe.  It was only after killing the much beloved Troius that vengeance motivated a sister and a countryman to revisit death upon the famed warrior.  The god Apollo steadying the countryman’s hand, the archer let fly his arrow which buried itself in the only opening of Achilles’ armor; his heel.

Thus did the phrase “Achilles’ heel” come into being.

Thousands of years later, a presidential candidate would seem imbued with the same drive and invincibility that the ancient warrior once possessed.  While as mortal as the next, HIllary Clinton’s campaign entered the 2008 primary contest as a juggernaut, quickly establishing double digit leads over her rivals, and at one point opening up a thirty point margin nationally between she and her closest opponent, Barack Obama.

It looked like nothing was going to trip her up, and then came an innocuous question about, of all things, illegal immigrants, drivers’ licenses, and the state from which she hails.  Those watching the debate live at that time had to know, or at least suspect the significance of that moment; you could feel it, like watching a once measured and rather dull boxing match explode into a flurry of haymakers.  The senator, who had just a couple of days earlier had appeared to come out for it, was now waffling on the issue, doing everything she could to admit support for the bill.

Senator Chris Dodd jumped in, as did Obama, each taking the issue from opposite sides, and both taking her to task for ducking and dodging the issue.  The implication was simple; how can one trust her to be a principled leader when she couldn’t take a side on a relatively minor issue without first consulting with her political advisors as to which side is best? This question seemed only to be confirmed the following day when the campaign released what would be broad support for Spitzer’s proposal.

But even that announcement was somewhat ambiguous, paving the way for even more equivocating on the issue.  And then Spitzer pulled the plan completely, just in time for Clinton to take a final(?) stand on the issue; she’s against it.  Under such circumstances, Barack Obama’s criticism is particularly stinging, “When it takes two weeks and six different positions to answer one question on immigration, it’s easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them.”

Wait, wait, it gets better.  There are also rumors going on that Hillary sort of strong armed Spitzer into tabling his motion because the proposal was damaging her.  These rumors, if in fact true, would share the flavor of the question planting scandal of this past weekend, only on a much higher level, now not only trying to influence the discussion at her campaign stops but also individual state politics all to help her bid for the presidency.

Tonight Hillary Clinton will find herself in a make or break moment; the debate set in the city of Lost Wages comes frought with peril and opportunity.  It is difficult to imagine that she will perform as poorly as she did two weeks ago, yet it her position has gotten more perilous.  Support in recent weeks has shown signs of flagging as her opponents have become stronger in their opposition of her.  And the ammo for her opponents going into tonight is much more significant than it was two weeks ago.

If she manages to fend off the attacks, and she better know she’s going in under fire this time (not being prepared for it last time was simply ludicrous), then her campaign may once again rise to that level of inevitability.  But if she goes in there and allows herself to get beat up a second time in a row, this is going to be a much closer race than anyone was willing to admit.

3 Responses to “Her Achilles’ Heel”

  1. xranger says:

    Clinton was caught off guard when Tim Russert had the audacity to ask tough questions; and wouldn’t let go until she answered.

    Your side should hope that the moderators tonight keep pressing issues, to get answers.

  2. mick says:

    Hillary as Achilles. That’s a good one.

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