Skip to comments.Hillary Goes to WalMart (Freepers Applauded!)
Posted on 06/15/2003 9:13:21 PM PDT by alwaysconservative
Hillary Goes to Wal-Mart From the June 23, 2003 issue: The latest skirmish in the Clinton wars. by Matt Labash 06/23/2003, Volume 008, Issue 40
Fairfax, Virginia IT'S HARD TO DESCRIBE the electricity one feels when crossing this Northern Virginia strip-mall parking lot to attend Hillary Clinton's "Living History" book-signing. But I haven't been this excited about Wal-Mart since my one-hour photos came back in 25 minutes. It makes me feel all sprightly and young again--as if it were 1998.
Hillary has yet to arrive, but already, her fans and detractors are sparring. On one side of the street, snaking out of the store through the lawn'n'garden section, are the Hillaryites. They carry umbrellas and folding chairs and squeeze-bottles. They look like public librarians and NPR pledge-drivers. They arrive as early as 9 A.M. to snatch up all 2,000 books and be in place to get them signed at 7:30 that evening. They are a patient, trusting people. And they will need patience to endure the taunts of their opponents, standing across the way on a median strip.
The Wal-Mart parking lot is shaping up to resemble an old-school gang fight. Except instead of knives and chains, the combatants use placards and really weak song parodies. The Hillaryites' tormentors are the Freepers, a fierce, warlike tribe from the Free Republic organization--a fire-breathing conservative band of Internet brothers who often call each other by their screen names, even in person. The gist of the Freeper complaint--one seconded by many mainstream book reviewers who are much less intense than they are--is that Hillary has been paid $8 million to perpetrate a fraud, one of the many tributary frauds being her claim that she didn't know her husband had relations with Monica Lewinsky until he admitted it in August 1998, seven months after the story broke.
The contempt expressed for Hillary is of a nature that even I, who labor in the vineyards of full-time Clinton-bashers, have rarely heard. Like many conservatives, they seem to dislike her more than Bill--presumably because Bill is regarded as a phony, but he at least lives his lies. Hillary, the thinking goes, is living someone else's lies, making her a phony squared. The Freepers take pride in not being full-time activists--"We all have REAL JOBS," says the business card of one of them. Still, they come off as dedicated protest professionals. They save money on placards by writing different messages on the front and back of their signs. And they bring fun costumes, like the guy wearing a full devil suit, who communicates, in his own understated way, that Hillary is the Princess of Darkness.
Dave Fordice, a Freeper mechanical engineer, is conducting a high-volume marriage seminar (What would you do if your husband serially cheated on you?), when he's accosted by a Hillary partisan in a postal service uniform, who goes, well, kind of postal. It's hard to understand her through all the foaming, but she says something about Dave not being God, which all of us--even Dave--know, because God probably wouldn't wear a "Fry Mumia" T-shirt, as Dave does.
The Freepers and the Hillaryites go back and forth, speaking like overheated bumper stickers, in a manner that resembles our political discourse through most of the nineties. A Freeper placard touts Monica's "Quote of the Century: 'I voted Republican this year, the Democrats left a bad taste in my mouth.'" "Boo!" say several of the Hillaryites. The Freepers start bleating like barnyard animals, then break into a chorus of "Sheeple Who Need Sheeple." "Loser!" cough the Hillaryites, now holding L-signs up to their foreheads. The Freepers are outnumbered about 200 to 1. But preparation is everything, and the Freepers seem to be getting the best of it.
The Hillaryites are frustrated, but a bellicose, heavyset woman starts trying to rally the troops by screaming "Bozo! Bush is a BOZO!" I scramble over to her and try to conduct an interview. But she's tasted blood and finds it difficult to stop. She tries to respond to questions and wage war at the same time. The effect is that of a Tourette's sufferer short of medication: "My name is Tina, and those are BOZO LOVERS! BUSH IS BOZO THE CLOWN! Hi, who you with? BOZO! Who do you write for? DOWN WITH BOZO!"
Across the street, Freepers are getting satisfaction. "Do you feel the love?" smiles one of them. But they up the ante with the announcement of a "Hillary Book Toss." It's done in homage to Hillary, who reportedly once chucked an ashtray at her husband's head. Whoever throws the book farthest gets to keep it and get it signed by Hillary. Just as the Freepers announce this, Wal-Mart security moves in and tells them they will have to conduct the book toss over to the side, on a grassy knoll. Safety comes first. Initially, I think security just wants to ensure that nobody sustains a head injury by getting clipped with the 562-page behemoth. But after reading it, I see the less obvious concern: If the book had fallen open to page 465, where Hillary tells a friend, "My husband may have his faults, but he has never lied to me," someone might have laughed himself to death.
The only takers on the book toss are three 15-year-old boys who purport to be Hillary fans. I ask one of them how he could engage in this lefty equivalent of a flag-burning. Does he understand that the Freepers are desecrating her book? He looks confused. I'm not sure he knows what "desecrate" means. Another of the 15-year-olds grabs the book and wings it. It takes off on a sideways trajectory, like a foul ball down the right-field line. It goes 20 yards, tops. He looks embarrassed. "It slipped," he says, apologetically. "That's okay," commiserates a Freeper. "The Clintons are slippery people."
INSIDE THE STORE, Hillary has snuck in through the back, right by layaway and the restrooms. The signing desk sits in front of a black curtain, with book cover photos surrounding the author. I've been looking at the photos all day, so I don't immediately recognize her without the benefit of airbrushing. But there she is, with her sassy, sensible cut and her lime-green pantsuit. She takes her place at the table and starts signing like a banshee. She signs her name only--no personalizing--and her head swivels up like a speedbag for each of her adoring fans. Her able assistants hustle people off before they can ask probing questions like, "Could you please sign it to . . . ?" But Hillary greets everyone with a smile, as her eyes bulge big--so big that the whites attain 360-degree clearance around her irises.
To the people assembled, this expression means different things. To her fans, her eyes say, "I'm one of you--just a gal who likes to stop by Wal-Mart for a Sam's Choice cola and a $1.78 Nacho Chile Pie." To her moderate critics, they say, "Look at me, I'm almost human." To her Freeper-style critics, the eyes say, "Back off, or I'll ice you, just like I iced Vince Foster." To me, they don't say much of anything, since her staffers won't let reporters near her.
Instead, I swim around the plastic flip-flop racks and Prayer Bear stuffed animals, to interview her supporters in line. Just for kicks, and to see if they are as gullible as Hillary purports to be, I ask when exactly during impeachment year they finally believed that Bill Clinton had had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Here are their verbatim responses: Hillaryite 1: "When he said so." Hillaryite 2: "I don't remember." Hillaryite 3: "I don't remember." Hillaryite 4: "When he admitted it." Hillaryite 5: "I think he was set up by the Republicans."
Hitting the other end of the line, I grab a Hillaryite to ask how his signing went. "She's pure evil," he says. "She's a cancer on America." It turns out he's not a Hillary fan at all. But he stood in line for nearly four hours just to try to get her to inscribe his book, "To BJ," which stands for . . . well, her husband knows. He also wanted to get his picture taken with her--as he flipped her the bird. He didn't succeed, and now he's kicking himself: "It was something my grandchildren might have said, 'You know, I'm proud of granddad.'"
As I leave the most polarizing figure in American politics, still signing books frenetically, I grab a cherry ICEE and a Star tabloid, and head to the counter. I can't wait to find out about Demi Moore's "red hot affair" with Ashton Kutcher, but as I flip to the story, by coincidence, I see Hillary's severe-looking mugshot. The tabloid obviously went to press before Hillary's book was released. But the story quotes an "insider" who says that her book will "whitewash" her hiring of private investigators to keep tabs on the husband she now defends, as well as her efforts to keep "his various women quiet." The Star, I'm reminded, has a pretty good batting average on the former first family. I slip into the night in a wave of nostalgia, with Bill, Hillary, and the Star.
It feels like old times.
Matt Labash is senior writer at The Weekly Standard.
Airbrushing hell. We're talking serious plastic surgery.
Please do your *ping* thing!
Hey DC Freepers, any real estimates on how many stood on line for her highness?
Great article and humorously written. I just can't believe she would write the above in her book! How rediculous!!
This guy is a great writer! Too many laugh lines to post.
LOL! In another freep article, FReepers were called 'steamrollers'!!