1. Physics The tendency of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.
2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change: the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy.
David Brooks hits upon this in his column "The Long Defeat" today. Every once in a long while, Brooks gets something right.
[...] Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.
For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.
No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.
Is it physics as much as anything? The Clintons have been building towards this race since they decided to move to NY and audition Hillary for Senator. This campaign is ten years in the making and every move, every decision, has been part of this goal—each step adding yet another car to this massive, moving train.
Maybe it just can't stop on a dime.