Hating Hillary - The New Yorker
Mrs. Jellyby, you may recall, is the Dickens character in “Bleak House” who is as intent on improving humanity as she is cavalier toward actual human beings; thus she heartlessly neglects her own family while high-mindedly pursuing charity abroad—“telescopic philanthropy,” in Dickens’ classic phrase. Mrs. Jellyby is a pretty, diminutive woman in her forties with handsome eyes, Dickens writes, “though they had a curious habit of seeming to look a long way off.” (“As if,” he adds, “they could see nothing nearer than Africa!”) And, in Mrs. Jellyby, Dickens’ achievement was to have captured everything that people would come to detest about a certain strain of do-gooding liberal: the zealous reformer with a heart as big as all Antarctica.
Sun Jun 12 00:22:13 2016 - permalink -
represented itself as concerned only with the general good, the good of others (especially the poor and the blacks), but what it really wanted was to aggrandize its own power.”
How could your first assumption be that he’s telling the truth and I’m lying?’ Her reaction was such pure, authentic surprise. It says a lot about her.” Well, yes, but if you ask what it says, you find yourself in the realm of Rorschach.
notes that women in politics often make other women uncomfortable: “They feel threatened—they’re looking at a woman who is close to their age and has made totally different choices.” Hillary, she says, “forces them to ask questions about themselves and the choices they’ve made that they don’t necessarily want to ask.”
It’s clear enough that many of Hillary’s most severe critics, especially in the mainstream media, are women; it’s less clear what to make of that fact.
She sees it, basically, as a way for a woman reporter to prove she’s one of the boys: “There are women in the business of communications who are striving very hard by what they think of as impartial standards, and they prove that by being as hard on women who run for political office as the guys. In your head, you think that the way to succeed is to win acceptance by that crowd, and those are their standards. But I have got to tell you, I have worked for a lot of women candidates and—guess what?—there is nothing impartial about those standards.”
tells me of a sense of exhaustion after a bruising campaign requiring constant interaction with the media: on some level, she thinks, it was as if the Clintons “thought they could close the door.”
who drew conclusions about having been cultivated and then essentially dropped after the campaign—drew conclusions about the Clintons’ sincerity which were unnecessary.”
“She hates the press, and that’s not smart,”
He mentioned to her that he’d never met Hillary and that he assumed she was very bright but also stern and humorless.
what’s remarkable is the extent to which she has sequestered her personality from the media.
the wages of well-meant counsel spurned. The list of Clinton friends and supporters who now feel abandoned is a long one.
“And I felt horrible, crass, manipulative—everything people think of political consultants,” Mandy Grunwald tells me. “Bad politics, good parenting” is how she describes the trade-off.
But Hillary’s intelligence is specific and concrete—she’s task-oriented, she’s a great problem solver. The President, on the other hand, is vision-oriented—he’s obsessed with the grand design. They depend upon each other.
“Hillary’s approach is closer to circle or matrix management than to hierarchical management,”
I just think we work differently; I think we’re more task-oriented, more coöperative. And she’s a big delegator. I mean, she’s got people that she trusts.
“We all have our disagreements with Hillary, on policy and on procedure and all kinds of things,” she says. “And you can disagree with her.”
“Hillary wants the opposition view, always, because she might even adopt some of it. She can be convinced. She can be convinced even when it comes to things she thinks she knows everything about.”
And Maggie Williams says, “This is about choice, isn’t it? Let’s face it—when white feminists were talking about getting jobs and being in the workplace and coming out of the home, my mother was saying, ‘God, I wish I could stay home.’ Maybe this is the maturity of both the country and its movements, but they should be about choice.”
Indeed, for someone often accused of being obnoxiously self-certain (, she can sound practically Chinese in her self-criticism.
“She impressed the heck out of everybody, and you could see alarm bells going off all over town, in terms of the opponents of this plan saying that as long as her popularity remains that high and she is that impressive, we’re not going to beat it,” he says. “All sorts of stories began to get back to us about meetings among the opposition about how to discredit her. "
“Every President who has touched it has got burned in one way or the other because the interests involved are so powerful,”
More to the point, perhaps, is the fact that voters do not elect a President’s friends, either, yet they often have an incalculable sway over the President’s Administration. Nor is the position of White House Chief of Staff, arguably the most powerful one in most Administrations, subject to Senate confirmation.
Watergate, of course, had all the hallmarks of the modern scandal: it was, in essence, not about the precipitating illegality but about the act of covering it up. Whitewater, in turn, is the perfect postmodern scandal: the latest and most serious charges allege an act of covering up an act of covering up, while so far nobody has unearthed an original sin.
So at the end of the day you need to decide not only how much of the opposition’s case is true but also how much it matters.
. (The original charges remain unproved, though Deaver, having been flushed into a self-serving fib, was ultimately convicted of lying to Congress and a federal grand jury.)
“Modern liberals like Hillary thought Republicans were hounded by special prosecutors for twenty years because Republicans were bad and deserved it,” “I truly feel she did not have the wit to understand that the prosecutorial atmosphere that she and her friends unleashed and encouraged would engulf them, too. "
This is what I’m saying about Hillary being book-smart and street-stupid.
You don’t want to drive talented, capable people away from public service, and I think that probably is happening in some cases today.”
But the negativity also reflects the stresses of ideological realignments,
In conversation, too, many of her points of reference are social scientists whose findings tend to affirm civic culture as against rights-based liberalism.
It’s why the enmity among ideological disputants can escalate even as their political differences narrow (and it’s why the Administration’s moves toward the right are experienced by Republicans not as conciliation but as coöptation: they see not an outstretched hand but the covetous pseudopod of an amoeba).
(In Cambridge, where I work, religiosity is accounted one of those conditions that suggest some lapse of hygiene on the part of those afflicted, as with worms or lice.)
What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person. George Orwell once wrote, with some wisdom, “Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent.”
“When we say, ‘Tell me what So-and-So is really like,’ “ the literary critic Harold Bloom has observed, “what we generally mean is ‘Tell me the worst that can be said of that person.’
why are we so certain that reality is always to be found behind her public persona, her stated political views, opinions, and values?
Wouldn’t you be entitled to wonder why your involvement in a mammogram initiative that will save many thousands of lives gets scant coverage, while, say, your trading in cattle futures fifteen years ago takes center stage? But she may well have a point.