Forget Batman v. Superman. Forget Captain America: Civil War. The biggest brawl of the year will come from two stars known for their ruthlessness, durability and unyielding ambition.
Call it Freddy vs. Jason, and in terms of the 2016 electorate, consider Hillary Clinton Freddy Kreuger. Now, before you freak out and think this is a hit piece against Hillary Clinton, realize that comparing Hillary to such a horribly burned, murderous child molester of the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series is not a bad thing. Hillary has all the grit and tenacity of a superhuman, of which she’ll need plenty.
I should also disclose that the metaphor is not mine. New Yorker columnist Ryan Lizza first used the term in 2008 to describe Clinton’s repeated comebacks during her primary race against Barack Obama. Astute readers will recall that Clinton’s loss of the Iowa Caucus, a string of twelve primary defeats, the debacle of Michigan and Florida and her repeated affirmation of her vote to go to war in Iraq all, by turns, trumpeted her death knell. Clinton, however, proved her tenacity and only conceded defeat after every primary contest had ended that summer. Like Lizza, Fox News overlord Roger Ailes compared Clinton to Freddy Kreuger last year, personally taking charge of the network’s attacks on her record.
Hillary, the survivor
The same trait inspired both Lizza and Ailes to make the comparison: love her or hate her Hillary Clinton is a trooper. Just like the cinematic boogeyman with the knife-fingered glove, Hillary never says die. Run her over with a car, she gets up again. Drop a bomb on her, she’s there. Hit her with a flame thrower and she keeps on coming! Nothing more attests to Ms. Clinton’s durability than Fox News’ repeated attempts to scandalize her as a political boogeyman: Benghazi, Email-gate, even her pivots to appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters have done little to affect her standing in public opinion polls. For all the years of vilification Hillary has endured, she manages to keep on going.
Hillary has her weaknesses, to be sure, but she keeps on fighting, and finding new ways to do so. Regardless of the setback, she keeps on coming with no plans of ever leaving political life. Which invites another apt comparison.
As I prepared for this essay, a friend of mine suggested another analogy for Ms. Clinton: Cher. As the old axiom goes, at the end of time there will be only cockroaches and Cher. She’s always been here, and she’s never going away. Certainly for a percentage of the voting population that is true of Hillary Clinton. The former flower child hopes to turn back time to the days of Clinton glory, and inspire voters to believe in her once again. Cher, also no stranger to criticism, has proven time and again that she’ll never quit, and continues to inspire legions of fans. Any politician would be lucky to have such a legacy, and Hillary Clinton seems the closest to it.
Regardless of whether 2016 will turn into a horror movie or a greatest hits concert, one thing is certain: it will be one Hell of a show. So then, grab the popcorn, turn down the lights, crank up the volume and be prepared for anything. Like Freddy Kreuger and Cher, Hillary Clinton will not go away.
Featured image is a painting by Sarah Sole