The love that dare not speak its name hath bloomed again. Chatterbox is referring to the torrid GOP passion for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., as manifested in the longing to put Hillary on the national ticket. The hope that she would be the Democrats' presidential nominee shriveled and died as the leaves fell in late autumn. But the spring crocuses brought them back, this time as a wish that presumptive nominee John Kerry would choose the former first lady as his running mate.
Once again, Sen. Clinton has been stating, ever-more emphatically, that she doesn't want the job. "I don't think I would ever be offered. I don't think I would accept," she said on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight on March 3. A month later, she told Katie Couric of NBC's Today, "I've made it clear I don't want that to happen, and that my answer will be no if it does happen." When that proved insufficiently Shermanesque, she told Charlie Gibson of ABC's Good Morning America, "I would not do it."
But dreams die hard. Here's the conservative Tucker Carlson sparring with the liberal Paul Begala on CNN's Crossfire on April 7:
Carlson: Whatever happened to diversity? The Democratic Party talks about it a lot. John Kerry should pick Hillary Clinton. If he doesn't, that will constitute a grave insult, not simply to the Clinton family, to the Clinton legacy, but to all women everywhere.
(Cheering and applause.)
Begala: Tucker, what are you—could we use some of that as a blurb on Hillary's book jacket?
Begala: You helped her sell a million copies of the hardback.
Carlson: If you're going to live by the rules of P.C. …
Carlson: … which says that it's not enough to restrain yourselves to white guys, I think he needs to pick Hillary Clinton. It's an insult to women if he doesn't.
Begala: What are you going to eat if she sells a million copies of the softcover?
Carlson: I'll be glad for her, but I'll be happier if she's the VP nominee. She ought to be. She deserves it. And good luck running with her.
Begala: And then she should be the president one day and I think she will be.
Carlson: I can't wait.
But Hillary's biggest booster on the right is Dick Morris, her husband's estranged former consigliere. Morris, who has a weakness for Clinton-related conspiracy theories, has developed a gorgeously Byzantine one. Chatterbox will now attempt to do it justice:
1) Hillary Clinton needs to be John Kerry's running mate because, if she isn't, and Kerry wins, she won't be able to "keep fresh until 2012."
2) Similarly, Kerry needs Hillary to be his running mate because, if she gets passed over, the Clintons will give him the Borgia treatment and "sabotage his candidacy without seeming to be doing so."
3) The best way for them to sink Kerry would be for Clinton to finish up his long-overdue biography and publish it one month before Election Day.
4) If the Clinton book is published before Election Day, that will constitute prime facie evidence of sabotage. "If Bill, who has trouble finishing anything and procrastinates constantly, actually finishes the book, there is a reason. Likely she was nagging him to do it so he could raise the pressure for her," he told the New York Post's Page Six on April 15.
All this assumes, of course, that Sen. Clinton is a power-crazed harpy. But what if she's telling the truth? What if she really doesn't want to be vice president? Well, that would mean … that she's a power-crazed harpy, because it goes without saying that she's running next time. Chatterbox knows this because the Wall Street Journal's editorial page said so on March 5. John Edwards' presidential candidacy, the editorial explained, was all about "angling to be Mr. Kerry's running mate or to compete with Hillary Clinton in 2008."
In the meantime, Morris will publish on May 4 Re-Inventing History, a book aimed at rebutting Hillary's best-selling memoir, Living History, which apparently drove Morris around the bend. Are Morris' Hillary-for-veep theories an attempt to market his book? Or is the book merely a symptom of the same obsession that fuels his Hillary-for-veep theories? Chatterbox cannot say. But the publisher promises that Re-Inventing History will spotlight "Senator Clinton's attempts to remake her image in preparation for a future presidential race."
Update, April 23: An even more Byzantine Hillary theory that Chatterbox somehow missed is being peddled by Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh's theory synthesizes the "Hillary wants to be veep" theory and the "Hillary doesn't want to be veep" theory in bracingly tasteless fashion:
Now, if Hillary is to run in 2008, this party's got to survive, they may be thinking now they need to join this just to save the party. To hell with winning anything this year. They may just need to save the party so there's still a foundation from which and on which to run in 2008. There's also the possibility that Hillary wants to be on the VP ticket so that she dispels the notion that the Clintons are sabotaging the campaign and so that she can also go out there and really be the star. She'd be the star because she'll be the one bringing excitement to it. And, by the way, she'll get all kinds of criticism and the Republicans will launch all they've got at her, and she'll endure that. They know that they're pretty confident Kerry is going to lose and if Kerry wins there's always Fort Marcy Park.