Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hillary: The Terminator

I spent a good portion of the day yesterday watching the Democratic National Committee try to sort this whole Florida/Michigan voting mess out, a spectacle that made me want to flush my eyes with lye and put yarn needles in my ears.

And one thing that has become increasingly clear to me: I am both in awe and in horror of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hillary: The Agony
The horror is obvious. After two Republican terms that nearly gutted this country, the fact that she would rather risk another by eating into the Democrats' campaigning time and splitting the vote is unforgivable. Related to this is that she has done more (purposely or not) to highlight race and polarize the voters accordingly than anything that the Republicans would dare to do.

Another horror, at least to me, is that this is our most viable female candidate for President to date. Great. And she's trying to make this about "women's suffrage" (when she isn't trying to make it about those "hardworking people, white people").

Hillary: The Ecstasy
But honestly, I'm totally in awe of her as well. Not even in a sarcastic way.

She is so over-the-top in focus, so seemingly bulletproof to the massive amounts of criticism thrown her way, so singlemindedly determined to become president...that it is, all the damage to the rest of the country aside, kind of impressive. It's like Terminator.

I mean, she is going after her dream -- NO MATTER WHAT!

It seems hopeless for her -- but she's moving forward to the bitter end, unwilling to accept defeat.

"Never say die, honey."

Isn't she simply doing what those self-help books and common parental wisdom everywhere have extolled for just about forever?

"Don't quit."
"Don't give up on your dreams."
"Just do the best you can and don't give up."
"If you can dream it, you can be it."
"It's always darkest before the dawn."
"Nothing's impossible."
"Little train that could; choochoochoochoo..."

Hillary: Escape From The Death Star

But, wouldn't we want a president that fights so passionately and without yield? If we were in a war, would we want the president that considers both sides of the argument and concedes that we might lose, or the one that megalomaniacally pursues our nation's victory at all costs and by any and all means at our disposal?

Or would she, in the heat of battle, jet like Darth Vader at the end of Episode Four, pull out from the Death Star as the credits rolled?

Great Women (and Men) In Popular Culture

Whatever the case, I would not count Hillary out until not only the official Democratic candidate has been selected, but she has ceased her legal appeals as well. It's like Michael Myers at the end of those "Halloween" movies, how you think he's dead but then he comes back, jumps out, reappears, revives.

And yeah, in spite of everything, I still think if Hillary was a man she wouldn't be as hated. I mean, pop-culture seems to think people like Donald Trump are adorable. Who are our female Donald Trumps? Martha Stewart? We know what happened to her.

Oprah? If Oprah didn't have her warm-and-fuzzy approach (and a helpful monthly magazine chock full of tips on how I can love myself more), would she be as hated as Hillary? And she still has been attacked in the media as of late, amid speculation that her "empire is over."

That is why I would like to opt-out of the gender thing and be hated solely based on my own merit.

Postscript: I love Donna Brazile: can she run for something?
Brazile on the Colbert Report:
"Look, I'm a woman, so I like Hillary. I'm black; I like Obama. But I'm also grumpy, so I like John McCain."

And more recently:
"I have pissed off just about every state in my career."

And yesterday:
"My momma taught me to play by the rules."


  1. Donna Brazile has become one of my favorite people ever. I'm afraid she's way too smart to ever run for office herself, but I think she'd be great at pretty much anything.

    I now want a bunch of "Donna Brazile has a posse" stickers.

  2. The Mich/Florida thing makes me annoyed. I mean-- they knew what the consequences would be if they moved the dates. & voila, consequences! & the candidates knew the situation-- they agreed to it, right? Noooo, not now.....NOW we all want to...

    Wait a minute-- I don't vote Dem or Elephant. Forget 'em.

  3. This is most definitely a great post.

  4. I live in Nashua, NH. I worked on Bill Clinton's initial presidential campaign before I was old enough to vote. Hillary walked the same streets I walk, and overall, I felt very strongly about the Clinton's message and campaign. When the whole Lewinsky thing went down, however, my feelings changed. But, that's a whole other story.

    Hillary's political ambitions leading up to her current campaign have been obvious in my eyes ever since she won her senate seat in 2000.

    What has been especially frustrating, is the feeling I had that the more the current administration fucked things up in the last eight years, the happier Hillary was.

    When Bush took us to war in Iraq, she supported it. Where was Hillary when Katrina went down? When W was congratulating 'Browny' on the "heckuva job" he was doing, I pictured Hillary watching the news, mischeviously rubbing her hands together egging the Republicans on. She knew full well the worse things got for the country, the easier the campaign would go for her in '08.

    Regardless of these thoughts, I was betting on her to win the Democratic nomination, and as a registered, independent voter who tends to swing left, was prepared to support her.

    During this year's NH primary debates, the biggest problem for me became likeability. It was even mentioned in one debate in which the moderator asked Clinton how she felt about Obama being considered by the press much more 'likeable' than herself. Hillary nodded, concurred with the moderator and complimented him. Barack modestly returned the compliment, and the debate continued.

    I don't want to believe that my negative feelings regarding Hillary are because she's a woman, and as I think about it, I'm pretty sure, since both candidates are similar in policy, at least for myself, it's just comes down to likeability. Obama's got it, and Hillary don't.

  5. If Gore had hung on with this level of dogged determination through various procedural maneuvers in 2000, our recent history might have been very different.

    If Clinton feels she has to do this, I'm not going to say she shouldn't.

  6. Actually Gore kinda did.

    While he was adamant about certain districts being recounted due to hanging chads and all that, apparently he was only interested in getting recounts for strong Democrat districts, not ALL of them, as George W Bush maintained should have been the case.

    As I recall, some newspaper decided to recount all the districts after the election, and Dubya tripled his lead in Florida. An interesting note...

    With regards to Billary v2.0, it's clear this is all about power and creating a better legacy for the Clinton name than a cigar, blue dress, and an intern. And like Al Gore, she just can't admit that she doesn't have it.

    It's been pretty clear for months which way the momentum is really running, and with Obama a hair away from clinching, and Billary far behind this far along in the game, she should call it a day and let the party move on to countering it's real foe, McCain.

  7. I may be the one person following this who wasn't at all pissed off or perturbed when she mentioned Bobby Kennedy last week. I still don't understand what the furor was about, given the context and point she was making. Keith Olbermann lost some serious credibility with me with his angry tirade against her over it.

    I really respect and admire Hillary's intellect and her ambitions.

    But... I can't support her campaign because I know the Republican party will never work with her. She and Bill are too hated within those circles. Given the state of things in the U.S., I foresee a Hillary presidency as one of the most bitterly contested... they would stop at nothing to bring her down, to try and make her the failure George Bush is.

    And I feel she's earned that enmity by having a certain shrill, brittle quality about her. There's a self-righteousness about her that seems to express itself in an ugly way. When she feels she's right, she doesn't seem to feel she needs to be polite or tolerant of other points of view. Very offputting. And then there's Bill's legacy as a successful, well-liked president that the Republicans and the far right tried to destroy but couldn't.

    And they're STILL fighting that battle. Believe me, they'd love to have Hillary so wage war against.

    Speaking of... her support of the Iraq war and her rubber-stamping of Bush's policies in those days... when no one in either house was asking the questions we all should've been asking... makes me seriously cynical about her opposition to it now. It just seems so calculated. And when she attempts to make jokes like, "Whenever I see something about it, I want to kick my television!" or whatever she said a few months ago, I cringe. I honestly cringe.

    Maybe you should've thought of that when you VOTED FOR THE WAR, that's what someone needs to say to her.

    Anyway, like a lot of people, I end up with mixed feelings about her candidacy and I second a lot of what you wrote here. But she's right- other primaries have gone contested into June so she has every right to keep pushing. If nothing else, at least some of the positives of her message will get installed in the party platform.

    Great post!

  8. there's a point where determination to get what you want at all costs crosses over into megalomania, and i think hillary hit it somewhere back in indiana.

  9. You really did put together a creative post here, and I think you hit on all the "faces" of Hillary. For the most part, I've been irritated with people insisting Hillary should step down to give the way to Obama. I've thought that is absurd. She does owe it to her supporters... people who have invested not only a great deal of money, but even more importantly, many hours/days/weeks into her campaign... to keep going.

    I would also come to Hillary's defense on the "race issue." As the past week or two has proven, some of Obama's more radical supporters are doing a fine job, all on their own, of making race an issue. One can only stare in jaw-dropped awe at their antics and wonder how they ever think such remarks will do Obama any favors in the general election (or in gaining the Democratic nomination).

    Sadly, Hillary's demeanor of late doesn't convey to me that she is refusing to surrender because she owes it to her supporters. Her refusal smacks of pride, and that's unfortunate.

    The Democratic Party typically portrays itself as the party that is all about equal rights, blind to people's sex and skin color. This election year has only proven that Democrats are no better than Republicans in this regard. I find that both sad and reassuring.

    I'm tired of hearing the talk of it being past time for the first Black / Woman / Hispanic / Asian / Homosexual / Android / Whatever to be president. I just want the best person for the job. Is that really too much to ask for? Based on the elections I've witnessed within my lifetime... apparently so.

    Val, thanks for a great post. You really fleshed out some important issues in an entertaining way.

  10. I disagree with you just a little. I think part of why she is hanging on is that she thinks she is the Dem's only shot to beat McCain. The primaries are almost proof of that. The primaries with their delgates and cacuses are almost nothing like the electoral college. If you look at it state by state and compare the numbers to how it would work in the electoral college, Clinton crushes Obama. If you look at it that way, she is the best shot. Obama failed to win one big electoral vote state. I think an Obama/Clinton ticket would crush McCain but I'm not real confident about Obama pulling off an electoral college win.

    The primaries are the dog and pony circus you vist on the way to clown college. This makes three elections in a row that the dems have proven they have no idea how to run a national election. Of course Karl Rove was really good at it and we saw how that turned out.

    I blame Florida and Michigan on Howard Dean. It's not the voters job to make it work. The voters had nothing to do with breaking the rules. He should have nipped this in the bud at the start. This is bad news for the Dems in the general election as far as their changes in either of these states goes.

  11. p.s. If republican man-god Ronald Reagan taught us anything it is that rules are for suckers. (I think Reagan took his first failed pres run all the way to the convention btw. Reagan pushes the issue and he's a saint. Hillary pushes the issue and she's a (insert anti-feminist chiche' here).

  12. Oh, I think both of them are delusional. I think you HAVE to be to run for prez.

    But Hillary has always been smug, superior and grating with a sense of entitlement. This ain't news. Well, it IS news just because every story needs a villain and a hero, and the media has picked Hillary as the Luthor of this tale.

  13. Even as a non-Dem I have to say I was pretty offended by the Rules committee decision. They completely caved to the Clintonistas. As a New Yorker I've seen the kind of campaigns that she runs and its fairly disgusting.

    Also, sorry to burst your bubble about Brazile. She was the campaign manager on Gore's failed campaign. Please ignore all the Florida nonsense...he lost his home state, Tennessee, and a number of other states he would have won if he had fought there instead of Florida where Bush had the a statistical advantage. She is a smart lady and I enjoy reading her comments, but as a campaign manager she dropped the ball.

    As a Conservative if you had told me 18 months ago that a Republican would have a chance of winning I would have asked if you were on drugs. This whole mess is of Hillary's making. Per the comment about Reagan, he is one of the few examples of "taking it to the convention" that didn't cost the party the election. The GOP only lucked out on that score because of the Dems implosion in Chicago (helped along by the RFK assassination).

    The whole rational against "taking it to the convention" is that you end up splitting the party. Hillary managed to go from the prohibitive favorite (think Big Brown at the Belmont this weekend) to losing the race. No matter who gets the nom at this point she has either poisoned FL an MI against Obama or poisoned Obama supporters against herself.

    I guess the GOP owes Hillary a big parade for giving them a shot at the election. I just wish they had picked a better candidate.

    Sorry if I went to political OS.

    P.S. Why don't you where a cape in your public appearances?

  14. Anonymous10:13 AM

    You just wrote this entry to skew your google search results for the people looking for Hilary and Death Star, right?

  15. It looks like the primaries are finally over, but Hillary Clinton hasn't withdrawn from the race yet, while Obama says he's the winner! Whom would you like to see as his running mate? Should it be Hillary herself? People Power Granny asks you to read my my post about this tonight and vote in my poll regarding if Hillary should be his running mate.