It took a village trailblazer

Poor Hillary Clinton. The role of her lifetime seems to be victim. This year is no different. This time she’s a victim of cruel irony.

Hillary spent millions of dollars and owes millions of dollars more and went through grueling primaries (not to mention pants suits) only to lose. Then along comes Sarah Palin — plucked from obscurity by grandpappy to be the GOP VP candidate. And Palin didn’t have to spend a dime. Hillary made a lot of good speeches, took a lot of heat (and braved it) and won over a lot of hearts and minds. The trailblazer carved a path through history for women and left 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling. She talked about blazing trails for women in the future. Who knew the future was now?

Hillary’s historic run turns out to be a cake walk for Palin — who, so far, comes across as an empty skirt who has done little else but deliver stump speeches. Palin is a phenom because she’s Hillary without the rep and the Bill baggage. Or the chops.Hillarywon’t go after Sister Sarah while on the stump for OBiden. There won’t be any cat fights. Missed opportunity? Yaaaah, for guys! But Hillary on the stump is also a double-edge sword: On the plus side, she will remind voters that she’s seasoned and that Palin isstill in her political infancy. On the downside, Hillary will remind voters what could have been. Be carefulwaiting too long to get what you wish for.

THE DISTRACTION IS THE ATTRACTION

It’s mind-boggling to watch how the GOP plays TV news channels like a cheap set of drums in a garage band. The “lipstick on a pig” diversion was all the rage for an entire news cycle (if it wasn’t for the anniversary of 9-11, it would still be the lead talking point.) TV news is better at covering petty political distractions than the particulars. They’ll just never fess up to it. Watching all three cable news channels Thursday, I found that the anchors were more interested in Sister Sarah’s north to Alaska homecoming than the threatof Hurricane Ike. Palin will speak before acrowd of thousands (and that’s just the news media) for her son’s send-off to Iraq. Gee, no political ramifications here. Anyway, there won’t be a dry eye in the Fox Swoons newsroom.

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES

Barack Obama was on his game last night on Letterman’s show. He was comfortable, funny and energetic. All things missing from the campaign trail. Obama was best when he poked fun at his own celebrity, saying he used to be on the covers of Time and Newsweek, but since Palin’s meteoric rise, he’s only been approached by Popular Mechanics. He addressed the “lipstick on a pig” political wedgie, saying the phrase was popular in Chicago politics and told Dave he didn’t know what they like to put lipstick on in New York.

Letterman, who is always interesting and funny because he is so New York cynical, is still the best in the late show orbit. Keep your Leno, who puckers up everytime a celebrity’s butt is planted in the chair next to him.

CLINTON, TABLE FOR TWO

Bubba and Barack had their power lunch on Thursday. Let’s dispense of two rumors: One, Clinton did not ask Obama, “Are you gonna finish that?” Two: It’s not true that Obama ate crow.

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