Hillary’s Fate: Mitt Romney’s?

I personally think that Hillary Clinton’s calculated insincerity, so persistently on display whenever she opens her mouth in interview (or writes a book), is going to doom her as a candidate. Her husband was insincere, but he knew how to do it in a way that we could all cheer for him. He was America’s bullshitter, and we could almost believe him when he bit his lip and got dewy in the eyes.

Hillary has never had that skill set. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote for her should push come to shove in a general election. I don’t want a far right president. Hillary will have good general policies if she can reach the presidency (on climate, on science funding, etc.), and I want my kids growing up at a time when they see a woman as president. But she grates on me as a campaigner, and I don’t think I’m alone among liberals to say so. I’m not thrilled about Hillary at all, and I think she’ll probably crash and burn as a candidate because she’s just not very good at the populist political game (and the next decade is shaping up to be a time of populist politics). She is an elitist to her bones, and Republicans are going to exploit that by playing populist cards hard against her.

I’m sure she’s very good interpersonally with her peers (when engaging in diplomacy, for example). But she is the Democrats’ Mitt Romney (someone you feel is never really straight with you, always cynically calculating, having rehearsed and poll-tested every word). A recent example: pointing to the Bible as the book that most influenced her. Does anybody seriously believe that?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to Hillary’s Fate: Mitt Romney’s?

  1. andrewclunn says:

    Wait… Did Hillary REALLY say that the book that most influenced her was the bible? I… honestly find that hard to believe that she’d really be so bold as to claim that.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I assume you’re being funny, expressing shock–shock!–that Hillary would be so shameless in her path to power. But for unbelievers, here’s the link:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/books/review/hillary-rodham-clinton-by-the-book.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

      And Hillary has Romney’s “say-anything-to-get-elected” problem in another way: Nobody doubts Romney is competent and intelligent. Nobody doubts (at least I don’t doubt) Hillary is competent and intelligent. The problem is this: how do you get a competent, intelligent person through the gauntlet of lunacies that is an American election (the attack ads; the conspiracy mongering; the feigning toward the base at one moment, toward the middle of the electorate the next; the insincerity; the dumbing down, etc.)? Romney almost navigated it, but not quite. Hillary is probably in the same sort of boat (at some point it will take on too much water and sink to the bottom of dragon seas). But somebody has to win, so we’ll see. Somebody has to reach port in a still floating campaign ship. I’m betting it won’t be Hillary.

      • andrewclunn says:

        You forget how quickly American voters forget. You also forget how effectively Bill Clinton used black congregations as sort of a spiritual shield. You couldn’t denounce their faith without it becoming racial. There is also a fairly sizable group of left-wing believers out there (I was raised in their culture). With “pick and choose” biblical passages and blatantly politically motivate retranslations like “The Message” they have created a form of Christiantiy that is all about promoting socialism and a form of environmentalism based around the notion of nature as sacred. Just look to the new Pope. There are a significant number of Christians who will lap this right up because it vindicates their view that their faith is the one true form of Christianity. And no, this time, I am not joking.

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