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Supreme faceoff in Concord: Hillary vs. Vermin

  • Hillary Clinton greets attendees and signs books at an event for her latest book, “What Happened,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Vermin Supreme uses a bullhorn to address the Hillary Clinton crowd waiting to go into Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme uses a bullhorn to address the Hillary Clinton crowd waiting to go into Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Allie Castino of Dedham, Mass., gets her book from her friend after meeting Hillary Clinton at Gibson’s book store in Concord on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme uses a bullhorn to address the Hillary Clinton crowd waiting to go into Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme meets a protestor posing as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the event outside Gibson’s Bookstore on Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme leads a group of protesters across South Main Street to talk with the people who came to see Hillary Clinton at Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Vermin Supreme leads the crowd of protestors down South Main Street in front of Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, before the Hillary Clinton book signing. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme leads the crowd of protestors down South Main Street in front of Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, before the Hillary Clinton book signing. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme shows the document he received from the city of Concord allowing him to bring a pony to the Hillary Clinton event on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Vermin Supreme shows the document he received from the city of Concord allowing him to bring a pony to the Hillary Clinton event on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme drew a large crowd at the Hillary Clinton event at Gibson’s Bookstore on South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme meets a protestor posing as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the event outside Gibson’s Bookstore on Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER / Concord Monitor

  • Dahlia Firoozabadi, 8, gets her photo taken with Hillary Clinton at the Gibson’s book signing. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme hugs the pony he was allowed to bring to the event at Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Vermin Supreme hugs the pony he was allowed to bring to the event at Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Allie Castino of Dedham, Mass., (center) cries with her friends moments after Hillary Clinton had signed her book inside Gibson’s Bookstore on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 5, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER / Concord Monitor



Monitor columnist
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Perhaps you’ve had enough of the man with the boot on his head, or maybe you’re done hearing from the woman with history in her heart.

Perhaps you rolled your eyes while others waited in a rain-soaked line Tuesday for Hillary Clinton to sign What Happened, her best-seller that tries to explain why she lost the race for the White House 13 months ago.

Or perhaps you stuck your fingers in your ears while standing in that line, trying to muffle the booming, megaphone-enhanced voice coming from Vermin Supreme, a merry prankster who never met a mainstream politician he liked.

No surprises here. No middle ground here, either. Hillary or Vermin. Or more like Hillary or anti-Hillary. It was that kind of day.

“She should go away,” said Supreme ally Heather Allain of Exeter, referring to Clinton. “She’s a big girl, so she should go put her big girl pants on and find something else to do.”

Compare that reaction to the emotion shown by Allie Castino of Dedham, Mass., who, moments after Clinton had signed her book inside Gibson’s Bookstore, cried and told me: “I was just overwhelmed by the experience of being able to meet Hillary. She means so much to me as a human being and as a woman and as a mom of a daughter. She’s really the beacon of someone who just paved the way for all of us to feel like we can achieve what we want to achieve as women.”

By now, I’m sure, anti-Clintonites are gagging. A beacon? Hillary?

She’s the poster child for political insiders, for corrupt Washington politics that had made elected officials seem out of touch with everyday people.

Some detractors in her own party say she’s the reason Donald Trump is president today, adding that her collusion with the DNC stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

And that doesn’t even touch on private email servers or Benghazi or the superdelegates who were in bed with Hillary before even one vote had been cast.

And speaking of bed, what about Hillary’s hypocrisy concerning her husband? President Bill Clinton was accused of doing horrible things to women, yet Hillary stood by her man.

Now, in a world in which sexual misdeeds against powerful men make daily headlines, the Hillary critics have even more weaponry in their never-ending fight to tarnish her reputation.

Supreme’s troops, a few dozen or so, wanted answers to all those questions, so they came out in force, with their leader and his boot on his head and his colorful clothing and his nonstop shouting about shaking things up.

Allain and her husband, Shawn Perkins, brought a cute little pony named Gracie, which had something to do with Supreme’s pony politics, and added to the carnival-like atmosphere across the street from Gibson’s.

Paula Iasella of Wilton took a more serious approach, promoting Sanders’s calls for universal health care and free college tuition.

“I promised myself that after the primary was rigged, Hillary would not step foot in New Hampshire without me protesting,” Iasella said.

Keith Yergeau of Bedford flipped up his grinning Bernie Sanders mask and said, “(Sanders) is still fighting for his ideas, while (Clinton) is selling books and trying to blame other people for something that was largely her fault.”

Later, with Concord’s finest looking on and Secret Service agents staring blankly, Yergeau and others wrote slogans – using legal, washable chalk – on the sidewalk in front of Gibson’s, near the serpentine line that snaked past Constantly Pizza, turned right onto Hills Avenue and extended to the intersection in front of Market Basket.

Gibson’s owner Michael Herrmann said all 1,000 tickets had been sold. For $30, you got a book, an autograph, a smile and rained on.

But just as the anti-Clinton folks welcomed the chance to chant and march with a cute pony and make noise in bad weather, so did those devoted to a woman who can do no wrong, no matter what’s been said or written about her.

I asked Pauline Angwin of Concord what she thought of Hillary’s support for the president who befriended Monica Lewinsky.

“Don’t get me started,” Angwin told me, combining fire in her eyes with a smile on her face. “That’s blaming the woman for what her husband does.”

Patricia Bentley of upstate New York billed herself as a “radical military librarian.” She came here after visiting a friend in Keene. Her trip, though, revolved around the former first lady.

Bentley said she listened to all 11 hours of Hillary’s Benghazi testimony and emerged as an even bigger supporter. She said the email server thing was overblown, suggesting the Republicans were behind the charge that Hillary had hidden some of the messages.

Hypocrisy with respect to Bill? Sure, but what about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and our president?

“It’s even more hypocritical for the Republicans to endorse a pedophile,” Bentley said. “It’s even more hypocritical for people who voted for Donald Trump to be supporting a man who has admitted sexual assault.”

By now, a hard rain fell. Rita Calkins of Concord said “A little misery was worth it based on what Hillary has been through.”

And Calkins’s friend, Sylvia Randfield of Concord, called this “Closure, a closing chapter.”

Tell that to the man with the boot on his head.

And the woman with history in her heart.

They might disagree.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304, rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)