Hillary Rodham Clinton passed gas yesterday outside an Illinois fast-food restaurant, leaving local diners stunned, according to earwitnesses.
The former Watergate attorney, first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, two-term U.S. senator and secretary of state was standing on line at a Dairy Queen on Sheridan Road in Peoria -- "just like an average American would," a Clinton aide noted -- when "the incident" occurred, according to KZYZ-TV correspondent Isa Attal, who was at the scene.
"It was the last thing we were expecting," Attal said on his way to air a special bulletin. "Mrs. Clinton was waiting for a DQ Ultimate Burger with extra pickles -- have you tried one? -- and to demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage for the restaurant's employees, when the old trumpeter swan sang out. People were like, O.M.G.!"
"I think it's great; it's like she's a real person," said an East Peoria man who was on the line near Clinton. "I have to rethink everything I thought about the woman. She may actually get my vote now." He declined to provide his name because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of himself.
Other guests were not so forgiving.
"I think it's outrageous," said Henrietta Stern, a Peoria mother of four. "Who does Hillary think she is, coming into our town and doing something like that? This is the kind of thing that makes people lose faith in politics."
Hank Simmers, an accountant at a nearby not-for-profit, agreed. "Let's just say that what happened here today wasn't presidential. I don't see how Mrs. Clinton overcomes this."
It's not clear what effect the incident will have on the 2016 presidential contest. The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
As ridiculous as this sounds -- and this is all made up, of course -- it's not too far off some of the news coverage coming from Hillary Clinton's first week on the campaign trail. The Blaze and other outlets asked in blaring headlines whether Clinton's van, nicknamed "Scooby," had parked in a handicapped spot outside one of her choreographed events (it had temporarily). Other headlines called Clinton out for not dropping change in a tip cup at a Maumee, Ohio, Chipotle where NO ONE EVEN NOTICED HER! ABC News ran a story on how Clinton's visit made the Chipotle manager an instant Ohio celebrity.
Now that's big news.
There has been some serious coverage about Clinton, too -- about her newfound support for issuing driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally, her newfound opposition to hedge fund practices, and the politically leftward shift of her messaging -- but one week in and the frenetic, zoo-like atmosphere of candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has returned as if we were still in 2008 talking about her hair.
A smattering of recent headlines on the Internet: Los Angeles Times: "Hillary Clinton's no-knife, no-Botox run for the White House." CNN: "Can Hillary win over men?" Vanity Fair: "Which Celebrities Were Quickest to Endorse Hillary Clinton?" MSNBC: "Can Hillary Clinton Run an Intimate Campaign?"
And then there are the disturbing ones: "Tombstone of Hillary Clinton's Father Toppled: Report" (Huffington Post). And indeed it was, to the shame of all of us.
It truly is amazing that we might have to endure 19 more months of this. One wonders if the republic can survive it.
William F. B. O'Reilly is a Republican consultant.