Why Hillary didn't play Robin to 'Batman'
I TALKED to Robin Williams once, about breasts.
In 1993, when he played a prim British nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire, I went to interview him at his Pacific Heights house.
"It's great to be this blue-mouthed old lady hitting on somebody," he said, in his character's soft Scottish burr, "opening your blouse and saying, 'What about these? Behold my dirty pillows, my fun bags. Come nurse at the fountain of bliss.'"
He was 42 then, wearing his Popeye outfit, a blue-striped T-shirt and black baggy jeans.
Surrounded by children, a rabbit and an iguana, we talked about everything from actor John Belushi to his father, a stern Ford executive.
As our interview ended, I was telling him about my friend Michael Kelly's idea for a 1-900 number, not one to call Asian beauties or Swedish babes, but where you could have an amorous chat with a repressed Irish woman.
Williams delightedly riffed on the caricature, playing the role of an older Irish woman answering the sex line in a brusque brogue, ordering a horny caller to go to the devil with his impure thoughts and disgusting desire.
I could not wait to play the tape for my friend, who doubled over in laughter.
So when I think of Williams, I think of my friend.
And when I think of my friend, I think of Hillary Clinton, because he was the first American reporter to die in the Iraq invasion, and Mrs Clinton was one of the 29 Democratic senators who voted to authorise that baloney war.
The woman who always does her homework, the woman who resigned as president of Wellesley College's Young Republicans over the Vietnam War, made that vote without even bothering to read the National Intelligence Estimate with its skimpy evidence.
It was obvious in real time that the Bush crew was arbitrarily switching countries, blaming 9/11 on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein so they could get more vivid vengeance targets and a chance to shake up the Middle East chessboard, and that officials were shamelessly making up the threat as they went along.
For me to believe that Mrs Clinton would be a good president, I would need to feel that she had learnt something from that deadly, globe-shattering vote - a calculated attempt to be tough and show that, as a Democratic woman, she was not afraid to use power.
Yet, she is still at it.
With the diplomatic finesse of a wrecking ball, the former diplomat gave an interview to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a hawk, in a calculated attempt to be tough and show that, as a Democratic woman, she is not afraid to use power.
Channelling her friend, John McCain, a Republican senator, she took a cheap shot at President Barack Obama when his approval rating on foreign policy had dropped to 36 per cent, calling him a wimp just as he was preparing to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.
As one Democrat noted, citing the callous Clintonian principle that unpopular things make foolish investments: "If Obama was at 63 instead of 36, she'd be happy to be Robin to his Batman."
It is not that she is too old, despite nasty cracks on conservative websites like the Washington Free Beacon. It is that she is too old-think, thrusting herself forward as a hawk at a time when hawks - in the season of Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul - are not so cool.
Americans are sick of the idea that we should plunge in and plant our flag in the ground and work out the details later. It is a complicated world, where you cross the border from Syria to Iraq and your allies are the enemy.
Mrs Clinton booed the President, who has been boosting her at the expense of his own vice-president, and said that, as secretary of state, she had wanted to do more to help the Syrian rebels.
She said that Mr Obama's "failure" in Syria led to the rise of ISIS and sniped about his slogans: "Great nations need organising principles", and "'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organising principle".
Saying you cannot live by slogans is rich, coming from someone whose husband's presidency was built on "It's the economy, stupid."
Besides, a Times article by Tim Arango and Eric Schmitt demonstrated that, "at every turn", the rise of ISIS' self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been shaped by the United States' involvement in Iraq - putting the ball of blame back in Mrs Clinton's court.
The neocon Weekly Standard gleefully printed her remarks with her byline under the headline: "Special Guest Editorial: Obama's Foreign Policy Failures."
David Axelrod, a former adviser to Mr Obama, tweeted tartly: "Just to clarify: 'Don't do stupid stuff' means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision."
Mrs Clinton may know that she seemed unseemly. She called Mr Obama to assert that she was not attacking him.
After buoying Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama is learning the truth of another unofficial slogan in politics: "The Clintons will be there when they need you."
THE NEW YORK TIMES