He’s Just Not That Into You was a book and a movie, and sadly, it may prove to be the fate of Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is a person of phenomenal accomplishment. She’s brilliant and hard-working. She’s got a long string of firsts—first commencement speaker at her college, first partner at her law firm, etc, etc. She’s been a successful Senator and Secretary of State and a powerful and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged. She’s smashed through the glass ceiling. She’s exactly what most of us say we want in a President.
…we just aren’t that into her. She’s like the girl (or boy) that all of us have dated at least once in our lives, the one we should love, but don’t. When we kiss there’s just no spark there. It’s mechanical, not magical.
It’s hard to say why. Maybe it’s a comparison thing. Yes, she’s fabulously accomplished, but she’s the second (or perhaps third) best talent in her own household. Maybe it is an over-sharing thing. We’ve just seen too much of her over the years. There’s value in not knowing too much about a prospective lover, about only seeing those prom pictures later in the relationship after we’ve fallen in love and think they’re cute instead of cringeworthy. Perhaps we’re headed for a future where the only candidates who can win are those who have no record and of whom we know little, like Obama and Rubio. If they’re a blank slate, we can project whatever we want onto them. Maybe it’s a generational thing. The Clinton and Bush dynasties were soooo last century. It’s time to turn the page.
Maybe it really is misogyny. Biases run deep. This is a country where during our lifetime an amendment to make women equal before the law failed. Maybe our subconscious sexism is showing. Many have argued that biases against women are stronger than racism. Certainly the vitriol heaped on Palin was more excessive than that heaped on Cain or Carson, who are comparable buffoons.
Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s visceral. She just grates. Which gets us back to the misogyny thing—women aren’t allowed to be nasty. Maybe it’s physical. She’s not as cute as Lizzie Warren or as drop dead gorgeous as Gloria. Most recent presidents have been unusually attractive human beings. Maybe that’s a commentary on our facile, telegenic culture. The days of ugly presidents like Nixon and Johnson seems to have passed. While Hillary isn’t ugly-ugly, perhaps we have particularly high standards for potential women presidents.
None of those reasons are ones we’re comfortable with, so we try to conjure up fact-based arguments. “She’s corrupt.” Okay, maybe, except she’s been the subject of more grand juries, special investigators, sub-committees and such than anyone I can think of, and despite constant rumors that she’s going to be indicted, she never has been. “She’s in the pocket of big business.” Of course she is. So is every professional politician. She cannot help but be swayed by the arguments of those who have access to her and money gets you access. However, she’s also been at this game awhile. I don’t know a lot of pols, but I do know a lot of CEOs and CEO is a political office. Every last one of them has had a fantastic bullshit detector. They realize that every single person they talk to every single day is trying to game them, and are pretty good at adjusting for it. “She’s a sellout.” Maybe, but look at the Bern’s positions on gun control and tell me he took those on principle. If he did, then he’s a fool. “She took speech money from Goldman Sachs.” Seriously, if G-S offered you a quarter mil to show up and talk for an hour you’d turn it down? Back when I was on the speaking circuit, I took money to talk to lots of people whose positions I didn’t agree with. I didn’t agree before I met them and I still don’t now that I’ve cashed the checks. Indeed, maybe it wasn’t about them changing her but about her taking the opportunity to change them, like preaching to non-believers. “She stood by Bill.” Damned because she did and would’ve been damned if she hadn’t. Can’t win with this one.
I’ve heard a lot of fact based arguments against Hillary and the only one that’s even remotely compelling is her foolish support of the Iraq War.
Having said all that, I don’t know what’s missing with Hill, but I don’t feel it, too. And the polls show that most Democrats are in the same place, too. For the second time, she’s on her way to blowing an insurmountable lead in the primary race to a complete nobody. That can only be because the American people just aren’t that into her. For whatever reason.
I’m still a supporter, but it’s only out of respect for my wife. I don’t feel the passion for Hillary I felt for BO and some of my other friends feel for Bernie. And I feel bad about it, because I strongly suspect that if all the bullshit were scraped away, I’d find a highly principled and supremely competent human being with whom I agree on almost everything.
Hillary, it’s not you. It’s me.