Part 2—Skipping one obvious answer: In this morning's Washington Post, Richard Cohen asks a very good question:
Why do people hate Hillary Clinton so much? Cohen offers several possible answers, steering away from one.
Why do people hate Clinton so much? Over at Slate, Michelle Goldberg decided to ask the same question. Her piece appears beneath these headlines:
The Hillary HatersWhy do people hate Clinton so much? Goldberg decided to go Cohen one better. She went out and asked an undisclosed number people why they hate Clinton so much.
Few figures in American political life have inspired such deep and decades-long contempt. But why?
In the course of her undescribed search, Goldberg turned up some of the usual suspects. She spoke with a 49-year-old Iowan who supported McCain in 2008 but now is in love with Sanders. She spoke with a 22-year-old medical student who rattled a list of "suspicious deaths" around the fiendish Clinton, who he sees as a sociopath.
(The "febrile" young man cited 47 suspicious deaths. In future years, he may not be the medical figure you want on your death panel.)
Goldberg's undescribed search took her far and wide. She even turned up a 78-year old Los Angeles songwriter "[whose] work has been recorded by Julie London, Mama Cass, and Harry Belafonte, among others."
Goldberg describes this fascinating case in some detail:
GOLDBERG (7/24/16): Like many of the people I spoke to, Rosner’s antipathy doesn’t follow a precise ideological trajectory. Now 78, she says her negative feelings about Clinton first arose during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Rosner says she was especially irritated when, in response to criticism of her work at the Rose Law Firm, Hillary said, “You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession.”Hillary-hatred can last a long time! This hater is still citing Clinton's "baking cookies" remark from March 1992. She still burns with tears of rage!
“That bugged me,” says Rosner. “She was putting down regular women, people who stay home and take care of kids and bake cookies.” It’s not that Rosner was offended on behalf of housewives; she herself has always had a career. “I just thought it was a stupid comment,” she says. “I don’t think she’s as smart as most people think she is, or seem to think she is.”
Rosner also makes a fairly standard progressive case against Clinton. “I don’t like her support for the Iraq war,” she says. “She didn’t support same-sex marriage until it became a popular issue. Her email stuff—she is the only one that would not testify, and I think that’s bullshit. I don’t like her friendship with Netanyahu. I think they’ve destroyed the Middle East with Iraq. I don’t like that she takes money from big banks. She doesn’t support universal health care. For all those reasons. I think she’s more a Republican than a Democrat, and I refuse to vote for Republicans, ever.”
All the same, Rosner says she would happily vote for Joe Biden, who also voted for the Iraq war. In the Senate, Biden was known for his deep ties to the credit card industry, and as a presidential candidate, he didn’t support universal health insurance. “Yeah, Biden does not have all the positions I would like, but he has a certain kind of humanity that touches me,” she says.
As Goldberg notes, Hillary hatred can also evade "precise ideological trajectory." When it comes to more literal politics, this particular Hillary hater cites Clinton's vote for the war resolution along with her original stance against same-sex marriage. At the same time, she'd be happy to vote for Vice President Biden, who also supported the war resolution and who also "didn’t support same-sex marriage until it became a popular issue."
Despite Biden's retrogade views, this hater likes his humanity! She hates Clinton, but likes the guy whose Senate voting record was actually somewhat less liberal.
Where does all this Hillary hatred come from? Obviously, Goldberg's search is highly anecdotal. There's no way to know how representative her Hillary haters are.
That said, Goldberg tries every theory of the case—every theory save one. Like Cohen in today's column, she is partial to the idea that sexism and misogyny are involved in the hate—and almost surely, they are.
Goldberg is also willing to entertain theories which revolve around Clinton's shortcomings. In this passage, Goldberg makes a very good point, though it doesn't really succeed as an explanation of hatred:
GOLDBERG: Most Americans, however, are not frothing partisans. For many of them, something in addition to sexism is at work in Clinton’s unpopularity—some mystery of mass media connection. There’s a reason actors do screen tests: Not everyone’s charm translates to film and video. For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in public life, people who’ve met in her person have marveled at how much more likable she is in the flesh than she is on television.Goldberg asks an excellent question. Would Hillary Clinton have passed a "screen test" to be a major politician?
Actually, no, she probably wouldn't have passed. Her performance skills are quite limited, and she's a bit of gaffe machine. This dates back to the tone deaf "baking cookies" comment in March 1992, and to her tone deaf statement two months earlier, in which Clinton seemed to diss Tammy Wynette in her first appearance on the national stage.
We remember watching that 60 Minutes program and wondering how a Southern first lady could make such an obvious gaffe. Like many people before us, we'll suggest the obvious answer:
Bill Clinton was a highly skilled natural pol. His wife pretty much was not.
Hillary Clinton is a bit of "legacy" pol. Based on the evidence of her skills, there's no reason to think that she'd be where she is if she had been required to get there "on her own," without the initial giant boost from Bill Clinton's position.
To state the obvious, that doesn't make Hillary Clinton a bad person—and it doesn't explain the hate. So what explains the depth of the hatred? And why is she hated at all?
This is now a profoundly important question. In November, Clinton will be running against the craziest major party candidate in American history.
Her opponent is virtually allergic to truth, yet Clinton is seen as The World's Biggest Liar! For that reason, she may end up losing to this craziest candidate—for that reason, and because of all the hate.
Why is Clinton hated so much? Goldberg pretends to wonder. She considers every possible answer—every answer save one.
Tomorrow, we'll return to the obvious possible answer which Goldberg and Cohen both skipped. Why is Clinton hated so much? As it has long been decreed in the guild, Goldberg and Cohen both chose to skip one obvious part of the answer.
Tomorrow, we'll read through Goldberg's essay again, noting the possible answer she very deliberately skipped. When we do, you'll be able to see, once again, how guild members like Goldberg and Cohen may yet send Candidate Trump to the White House, helped along by the mandated silence of their many enablers and friends.
Tomorrow: The road not taken
Still coming: She lied about the Cubs and the Yanks! Also, she even lied about her own freaking name!