The Times of London is reporting that Hillary and Bill Clinton gave Socks, their White House pet, away when the cat was no longer publicly needed as a prop. Ah, the soft, maternal side of the woman who would be president.
AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today?
Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.
Some believe the abandoned pet could now come between Hillary Clinton and her ambition to return to the White House as America’s first woman president.
Clinton has been boosting her prospects in the past week with some homespun references to her gender as part of a series of events with the theme Women Changing America, during which she chatted girlfriend-to-girlfriend and mom-to-mom with female voters.
The softening of Clinton’s image seems to be working. Her chief strategist, Mark Penn, predicts that up to a quarter of Republican women will vote for her. She leads Democratic rivals in the polls by 26 points and is scooping up more donations to her war chest from Wall Street and defence contractors than any candidate from either party – an unmistakable indicator of who they think will win in 2008.
Clinton’s treatment of Socks cuts to the heart of the questions about her candidacy. Is she too cold and calculating to win the presidency? Or does it signify political invincibility by showing she is willing to deploy every weapon to get what she wants?
“In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list,” writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. “But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference.”
Flanagan’s article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleas-ing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his “toy mouse” did the White House “become a home”.
Wow. Talk about cold-blooded calculation. The cat as prop for exactly as long as required and not a moment longer. Then dump the poor creature on someone else. I doubt my wife would have voted for Hillary before this. Now? Not a chance in hell. Is this a tempest in a kitty litter box? I don't think it will be. Some people are going to take a lot of offense to this. And if she'd dump a totally dependent animal, how do you think she treats humans?
UPDATE: Thanks to The Pirate's Cove for the link, I'm glad you like the new look! (He always has the best pinups.)
UPDATE: Others: Say Anything, Althouse, GINA COBB, Don Surber, Sweetness & Light, BitsBlog, normblog, Neptunus Lex, Vox Popoli, Suitably Flip, small dead animals, Best line of all of the links is from Gina Cobb: First the Hsus; then the Socks. Brilliant, bravo, Gina. Bustardblog, meanwhile, springs to Hillary's defense by trying to misdirect onto Republicans. The point here is that Hillary is already at a 50% negative rating. 50% of voters say they would not vote for her. The loss of even a few votes is a real problem for her.
(Side note, my wife was revolted by Hillary's actions. My wife is a cat lover – I am extremely allergic to cats. Consequently, we have a cat (down from two after one met an untimely demise). You do not want to mess with a cat lover. You will lose.)