Maureen Dowd of The New York Times is a terrible columnist, but every once in while she says something that transcends her normal material. Her column on Hillary’s tears is one of those columns. She observes:
There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.
That’s why I think Hillary’s tears were genuine: it was a moment when Hillary’s massive ego suddenly ran into the real chance of failure. Hillary Clinton is not a woman used to failure. The prospect of being beaten by Barack Obama and losing what is almost certainly her life’s major goal was just too much for her.
I don’t doubt for a second that Senator Clinton’s tears were real—especially not after seeing them in context. If they’re not, she deserves an Academy Award.
No, I’m convinced they were real—and what they say about the character of Hillary Clinton are in themselves more telling than the fact that she’s as human as the rest of us. Maureen Dowd is right: her tears were “weirdly narcissistic” because she honestly believes that it would be a great tragedy for the country for her not to be President. In a way, it might have been better had those tears been fakes after all.