During the entire Monica Lewinsky debacle, Hillary Clinton maintained her cool and stood faithfully by her husband. At the time she was vilified for her unwavering support and stoic emotions, but throughout all she refused to break. It was this emotionless Hillary Clinton which enamored her backers to support her in her presidential run. We are now watching Hillary Clinton fall apart. What will happen if/when she loses the race?

Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal asks the same question.

Can she lose with grace? But she does grace the way George W. Bush does nuance.

She often talks about how tough she is. She has fought “the Republican attack machine” that has tried to “stop” her, “end” her, and she knows “how to fight them.” She is preoccupied to an unusual degree with toughness. A man so preoccupied would seem weak. But a woman obsessed with how tough she is just may be lethal.

Does her sense of toughness mean that every battle in which she engages must be fought tooth and claw, door to door? Can she recognize the line between burly combat and destructive, never-say-die warfare? I wonder if she is thinking: What will it mean if I win ugly? What if I lose ugly? What will be the implications for my future, the party’s future? What will black America, having seen what we did in South Carolina, think forever of me and the party if I do low things to stop this guy on the way to victory? Can I stop, see the lay of the land, imitate grace, withdraw, wait, come back with a roar down the road? Life is long. I am not old. Or is that a reverie she could never have? What does it mean if she could never have it?

We know she is smart. Is she wise? If it comes to it, down the road, can she give a nice speech, thank her supporters, wish Barack Obama well, and vow to campaign for him?

What Lewinsky could not do to Hillary Clinton the presidential campaign is doing. Hillary Clinton is combusting. We see glimpses at this plausible break down by her crying charades during the election. Many have said that she was tired, working hard, and overburdened, reasons that promoted these crying episodes, but that is hardly believable given her history of handling hardship. The only likely conclusion is that Hillary Clinton wants this presidency so bad that the fear of losing is causing her outbursts. Hillary Clinton ran for public office in 2000 to eventually begin a presidential run; she has used her husband, her daughter and every friend she has on the quest, and without her presidential dream what more will she have left? She has literally invested money, sweat and tears and the inevitable loss will tear her down and end her career. No she will not go gracefully.

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