On Friday, November 30, 2007, a forty-year-old man named Leeland Eisenberg cornered several hostages at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Rochester, New Hampshire. Pretending to have a bomb, Mr. Eisenberg held three people for four hours as the police locked down the street outside with sharpshooters and an armored car.
In the end the man released the hostages and turned himself in. There was word that Mr. Eisenberg was known to be mentally unstable and couldn’t afford to pay for care. But why did he target Hillary’s campaign headquarters instead of one of the others that were also close by?
This story was shown in real time on my local news. Family members called to make sure I was watching and they expressed their own speculations as to why they thought that the event was likely to happen. It was the word ‘likely’ that caught my attention. There is a very real belief among some voters that because Hillary is such a divisive figure that threats to her life are inevitable. The bomb scare might be merely a prelude as to what we could expect if she was to become President of the United States.
The voters have to face the reality that an uncomfortably high number of fanatical and unstable individuals have the very deepest hatred for the former first lady. If she's elected, some of these wild-eyed crazies will come out of the woodwork to take aim at her, perhaps provoking more incidents like the one we saw in New Hampshire. But is this going to affect who we choose? Do we really want a President who is constantly dodging bullets both literal and figurative? It certainly negated the Presidency of Gerald Ford. It’s hard enough running the richest nation on earth without these types of distractions.
Opponents of Mrs. Clinton have decided to boost this anger by creating a new 527 called Citizens United Not Timid. This is from some of the people who brought you the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, except that this time the acronym spells out who they are targeting. These extremists believe only the worst about Hillary and are ready to plaster it over every available airwave. Unlike normal smear campaigns that attempt to discredit the candidate by appealing to a voter’s sense of injustice, this group seems intent on reaching those who already dislike her. With negative opinion polls reaching as high as 45% there is a captive audience for any conspiracy to be dreamt up or resurrected.
While most reasonable people know that these cynical fantasies topple toward delusion, not everyone is so stable. On May 7, a Louisiana student named Richard Wargo was arrested after he tried to recruit a classmate for an assassination attempt on Mrs. Clinton. Bill O’Reilly’s website hosted a regular poster who said “If she wins… my guns are loaded.” NoHillaryforPresident.com has posts discussing the "Clinton Casualties", those who have allegedly been targeted by the couple with lawsuits. A California field poll has reported that Hillary has accumulated a "negative drag" of voters who absolutely will not vote for her. Some aspect of her past or personality has contributed to a deeply emotional, hair trigger reaction by a large enough fraction of the populace to constitute a credible threat. Citizens United Not Timid is about to add fuel to that fire.
As for her response to the Rochester attack, Hillary met with the hostages and gave a press conference surrounded by police officers. CNN tried to downplay the intensity of the incident even though Mr. Eisenberg admitted that his goal was to be shot down in a blaze of glory. Regardless, talking heads marveled about how she looked and acted so Presidential. If this emotional avalanche continues throughout the election process, she might get another chance to look the part as she presides over the victims of her ambitions. Whether or not you like Hillary, I have to agree with my family when they said it appears likely that she will be hit again.