Here we go.
First things first, I mentioned this the other day and someone said they were “sick of this sexist bullshit” and stormed off. I was really taken aback by this. How does not liking Hillary Clinton mean I’m sexist? Do some people not like Hillary Clinton for sexist reasons? Yes. But it’s a classic case of “correlation does not mean cause” I mean fuck, I’m the guy who thought Winona LaDuke would have made a good Vice-President… and campaigned for her (she’d make a great politician on any level).
But first, reasons why I like Hillary: 1) She’s smart as a whip, an absolutely brilliant tactician. Her career as a lawyer is renowned for a reason. Really, nothing gets by her and she’s painstakingly conscious of the political machinations involved with Washington on every level. Bill Clinton was the same way (He was a Rhodes Scholar for pete’s sake). 2) for all intensive purposes, she’s a party elder. I’m constantly surprised how little this means in American Politics (It seems to be a bigger deal historically and internationally) but there is something to be said for being at the forefront of the democrats. She’s powerful and direct and would be able to lead swiftly. 3) She has a tremendous sense for the intricacies of policy and many of her policies line up with my own. There’s many other things I like, but these are the main aspects.
What I don’t like: 1) She’s insincere… and she IS insincere . It has absolutely nothing to do with her being a woman and has anything to do with her longstanding tradition of saying or doing anything that benefits her in the given moment. Some people call that politics (and I supposed that’s fair) but if there’s anything people voters seem to appreciate these days it’s the appearance of sincerity (witness: Bush II, Obama). I’ve followed Hillary’s political career since 92, when she became First Lady, all the way up until now… And she’s wholly transparent. Perhaps, the most telling part of this was the famous chronicling of her “baseball fandom” in the 2000 senatorial race. Hillary grew up a Cubs fan in Illinois and that fandom had been relatively well chronicled throughout her life. She was never a huge sports fan or anything, but so it goes. Anywho she starts her campaign for New York Senate and all of sudden starts talking about her being a lifelong Yankees fan. Then there’s the now infamous campaign meeting where they realized they wouldn’t be able to “out-yankee” Rudy J so they decided to go with the Mets. Suddenly Hillary, was talking about how she was becoming a Mets fan . Yes, this is all completely ridiculous and should have no bearing on whether you vote for someone. It sure as hell doesn’t for me. It’s just baseball and completely meaningless in the political arena. However, this episode is WHOLLY metaphoric for problem with sincerity. Heck, lots of people like to approach politics just like they do baseball… and this is the kind of fan you don’t like to bring to games. It’s complete transparency in the attempt to fit in. Like I said, the entire behavior was indicative of a larger problem with her personality.
2) She has never been able to work with Republicans. I think we all know the history here. It probably culminated with the whole “vast right wing conspiracy” episode.
3) She tells way too many white lies. Not big bold face GW Bush lies, just the kind of white lies that pile to the point where they become overbearing. Snipergate. When she met my dad’s personal hero Sir Edmund Hillary, she told him that she was named after him and his famous feat… Too bad he didn’t become famous (even within the climbing community) until 5 years after Hillary was Born. At another point she chronicles her time spent on her high school soccer team and what she learned about race relations… too bad her high school didn’t have a soccer team. That she learned in The Wall Street Journal how to make a killing in the futures market. (It didn’t cover the market back then). These are just the examples I could remember, I swear there must be literally thousands of them at this point. And here’s the rub, Bill constantly did the exact same thing . And his ultimately got him in BIG trouble.
4) We are officially at the point where she would tear apart the democratic party to insure a) she still has a shot at a nomination regardless of how badly it looks (she should listen to Al Gore’s famous and humane words after deciding not to appeal the 2000 election decision “Even if I win, I wouldn’t win”) or b) completely tear down Obama and her party to ensure she gets another shot in 2012. Look, at every thing she’s done and regardless if you’re a fan of hers or not, it’s just so readily apparent.
5) She’s a horrible public speaker. I’m sorry. She just is. She sounds bored listening to herself. I always like the words themselves, she just doesn’t have the ability to communicate. And I’m sorry, but that’s a HUGE part of being president. Even for the republicans, it’s the difference between Reagan (“the great communicator”) and Bush I+II (bad communicators). Bill Clinton got as far as he did in life because he was an wonderfully charming public speaker (almost bordering on smarm).
Look, even with all this crap. I still think she’d make a good president. I’d certainly vote for her over McCain in a heartbeat. Plus, her policies are virtually identical with Obama anyway so liking on and not the other would be purely semantic. And this has turned into a race of semantics. And it’s only getting uglier.
The problem is a lot of people take the insincerity, the fighting, the white lies, and the ruthless political nature and extrapolate a lot of very nasty, sexist attitudes. That my friends, is BS. It’s a component of this election for sure but I’ll tell you right now sexism isn’t what sank her campaign (most of it was strategic, but that’s another column) Besides, most of the sexist crap is coming from conservative blogs and shock jock radio, not democratic voters.
The Last element of this? I’m a dude. I’ve commented about identity politics before and I have to say I have no idea what it is to be a woman. I’m a dude. And a good deal of women do feel a real resonance with her. I don’t entirely get it. I’ve felt one with other female politicians (mostly on the more local level) but not with Hillary. In fact a good amount of hardcore Hillary supporters (not you edu 😉 ) have struck me as being just as ignorant as some of Obama’s hardcore supporters… you know… like Rev. Wright.
Anycrap. I don’t especially like Hillary Clinton. She’s smart. I’d vote for her over most republicans. But it’s complicated to the point I feel like I’ve barely touched on it.