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Unending Campaign Trail

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/09/clintongeneralstore2.jpgSen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) (Barbara Kinney, Flickr)

I was telling my grandson the other day that I remember when Hillary Rodham Clinton first started her primary campaign she told us that she warn’t no quitter. Well, sir, that boy was not even born that year, and he’s graduating college come June. Don’t time fly?

Quit? That gal don’t know the meaning of quit. Of course nowadays you pretty much see her only on cable access stations. She does a lot of ribbon cuttings. Maybe the boat show.

It’s sort of a nostalgia thing. Young people not even old enough to remember when she first campaigned against Barack Obama will go see her. It’s like going to see the Marvelettes or Martha and The Vandellas. Or one of them old rock n’ roll acts when all of the actual members of the band are long dead but someone owns the rights to the deal and they keep playing Holstein Days and the Turnip Festival.

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Jaundiced_i_large.jpg

It’s been a few years now since she was banned for life from every truck stop in America. The Teamsters saw to that. I can’t say I blame ‘em. That gal was getting to be a damn nuisance. Truckers come in to a place like that, they want to filler up, get a hot shower, take a nap, maybe have bite to eat. They are not interested in hearing about the North American Free Trade Agreement. There’s another answer to a trivia quiz. They put up with that for a good while, but 20 years is a long time.

She had her campaign bus for a long time. It was pretty beat up. But the damn thing broke down and there really wasn’t any money to fix it so, as I understand it, she just takes the bus. Apparently she has an agreement with Greyhound NOT to campaign on the bus. Seems folks was finding that a might tiresome. Going to see your grandma in Hastings or taking the bus to Ogallala and this lady’d be on the bus campaigning for the Democratic primary. The what?

She still speaks a fair bit at nursing homes. Old people always did like her. They’re not doing anything much and, hell, it’s free. One day, they got Pastor Bob and his slides of Guatemala; next day, the lady from the County Extension Service talking about jam, and then Hillary Clinton. She’ll auction off an old pants suit for charity. She’s got dozens of them outfits. Most of the folks up at the nursing home seem to actually enjoy her talks. It passes the time. She’ll take any questions, too. Some even remember her.

Bless her heart, she still works the hinterland. Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions Clubs, the Knights of Pythias, the Patrons of Husbandry, the International Order of Odd Fellows. Pretty much anyone who’ll give her an open mike. Luncheons are good because they’re short and she sure can talk. Hasn’t slowed down one iota, no sire. She can talk like a macaw.

Some of her message is a little dated. Hell, we’ve been out of Iraq for 16 or more years now. We don’t use gas now so that’s kind of non-issue, I suppose. You have to explain to young people what the hell gas was.

She can’t get any attention overseas. French won’t let her in the country. But the pope agreed to see her. A little face time with the first serious woman candidate from a major party to run for president won’t cost him anything.

The government still offers her round-the-clock Secret Service protection, but those guys aren’t really first team. Last year she was actually missing for four days. Lost her in the Mall of America up in Minnesota. They had no idea where the hell she was.

Her stories are getting a little wild, too. Though the press pretty much gave up on that a long time ago.

But Hillary don’t stop. I’ll give her that. I seen her at Branson, Mo., last year, opening for the Statler Brothers. Hell, they’re older than she is. She sang the Lord’s Prayer with them. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Miley Cyrus was there, too. Lord, she must be 40. When she was in rehab all those years Clinton was like a mother to her.

She sure ain’t no quitter. I know she works the fair circuit out West. I seen where she was in Reno for the Rodeo last year. She usually gets down for the Air Show. Malls are good, too. She does a lot of them. Americans like to go to the mall and they don’t much care who pesters them there. She’ll pose for pictures, too.

It startles folks, but Americans are a good-natured bunch. They’ll put up with a lot. Lord knows, they put up with her.

*Christopher Corbett, a humorist and non-fiction writer, is the author of “Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Tale and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express.” His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. He *is the winner of the James Thurber award.

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