The coming Hillarycult

Parker’s words will no doubt be music to the ears of the already assembled Clinton cultists. With their poster-like “Ready for Hillary” T-shirts (this “I’m ready” language always strikes me as odd, implying as it does that America needs to prepare the ground for the coming of a candidate who wishes to be its servant) and their subscriptions to the nauseating “Texts from Hillary” website and to Clinton’s own Twitter feed, they are the early adopters of the new, soon-to-be-constitutionally-obsolescent model of Barack Obama — and they just can’t wait.

In recent weeks, Hillary has smartly begun to reciprocate this nascent attempt to turn her into an Internet icon. Her relatively new Twitter account deliberately features a famous picture-turned-meme of her typing on a BlackBerry (the future!) and boasts also a breezy, slightly-too-cute biography that describes the proto-candidate as a “wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD . . . ” In her first Tweet, Clinton self-awarely thanked two of her biggest Internet boosters for “the inspiration,” and promised rather transparently, “I’ll take it from here.” Subsequent postings were contrived enough to prompt ThinkProgress’s Alyssa Rosenberg to effervesce that “Clinton’s twitter feed makes her look Aware Of All Internet Traditions”!

The process of grafting the Obama pop-culture template onto the less photogenic, more battle-scarred, and, bluntly, much older Hillary Clinton will be tough — and the architects of the New Model Hillary will presumably be aware that there is a genuine risk that, by the time Hillary unleashes her campaign, Americans will have become ready for a little iconoclasm. Nevertheless, many of the ingredients are the same for Clinton as they were for Obama. If she gets the nomination, she will be cast as a proxy candidate for all women, especially those who will be recruited from History and posthumously charged with having “fought” in order to see this moment come to pass. Her opponents will be blithely characterized as “sexists” who are “scared of strong women,” just as Obama’s critics were deemed “racists.” This clash of pieties was briefly problematic back in 2008 when it led some farcically to conclude that we were about to discover whether America was more racist or more sexist and others to brand Hillary and Bill as racists themselves — but there will likely be no such complications this time around.