Hillary Agonistes

US Politics
on 8 Comments

Everyone seems surprised by Hillary’s numbers tanking. I think water is finding its own level. Hillary has never been especially popular. People just don’t like her, this has always been true, and the Democratic race seems to be heading toward that truth. People like Bill (or did), they don’t warm to her. As Erwin Hargrove, presidential scholar, has said, Hillary lacks the ability to make a connection with ordinary people and make them think she actually cares. The common touch, a basic political trait. I thought her petulance about being caught out in the Bosnia lie–"I misspoke," she says, which showed "I’m human," and she snarled that some people can’t seem to believe that–seemed Nixonian to me. Nixon was also unlikeable and smart;  people sometimes say that Nixon would have made a great secretary of state. Guess I’m still wondering what Hillary is going to do with her talents.

8 Responses

  1. Chuck
    March 28, 2008, 11:23 am

    She's full of vitriol and completely lacking as to any sort of integrity whatsoever.

    Other than that she is a fine person.:)

  2. Jim Haygood
    March 28, 2008, 11:45 am


    "Hillary lacks the ability to make a connection with ordinary people and make them think she actually cares. The common touch, a basic political trait."

    Precisely. On paper, she and Bill have similar resumes, and therefore feel equally qualified for office. But in the "people skills" department, she's from Mars and he's from Venus. He revels in glad-handing the folks; she's the cold, prescriptive intellectual. She might shine in several careers (a BDSM Mistress of Discipline looks like a good fit) … but politics is not one of them.

  3. Richard Witty
    March 28, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Given recent politics, I find Hillary more likeable than Bill.

    It'll get settled soon hopefully, so the entropy doesn't continue.

    No democrat accomplished much in Congress over the last six years anyway.

    Its actually ironic that the democrats didn't pick a governor to run, instead picking between two heads.

  4. Charles Keating
    March 28, 2008, 12:51 pm

    I think the difference in Bill and Hill is that, while Bill was talking, shaking the hand of any average American, he could actually emphasize with him or her, possibly even as much as he was simultaneously objectifying that average American for tactical purpose.

  5. Michael Blaine
    March 28, 2008, 1:01 pm

    "Nixon was also unlikeable and smart."

    As opposed to the current president, who is unlikeable and really dumb.

    Phil, what are Hillary's "talents," apart from practicing law as she was trained to do at Yale?

  6. Jim S.
    March 28, 2008, 2:58 pm

    Sadly, one finds Hillary to be potentially a better president than Bill. If she had only thrown to the wolves those neoliberal economic and fiscal advisors-Rubin and his ilk-she'd be in a better position now.

  7. dannyboy
    March 28, 2008, 7:11 pm

    You'll excuse me but I think a lot of people, whether they care for Hillary or not, have sort of blindly accepted her own self-assessment as fact. I've never been convinced, for example, that she's actually that bright: don't forget, Wellesley back then was not quite meritocratic and her father apparently had the money. Furthermore, the high school she went to was hardly top-notch academically, so it didn't take that much to do well. (I'm her age and from a school that played hers in football so I probably even saw her at some games.) Also, she flunked the D.C. bar exam not once, but twice: again, not impressive. So chalk off smarts as well as likeability. But there's another kind of smarts at which she's notoriously lacking that kind of connects the two — and it's the one thing her husband absolutely has in excess: the ability to size up a social situation and know what to do. A perfect example of her utter inability in this regard is — if you can believe it — turning down cold, when they first came to Washington, a special luncheon thrown on her behalf by Sally Quinn, Ben Bradlee's wife and doyenne of DC press and society. Can you imagine that? And do you realize what that one act set into motion? All we need more in this country is four more years of ANY combination of arrogance and stupidity.

  8. MRW.
    March 29, 2008, 3:57 am

    I concur, dannyboy. The one thing Hillary is, is stupid. She is not an intelligent woman. She has no intellectual reach, no vision. She has no comprehension of the current economic woe. She is merely ambitious.

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