Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In Defense of Hillary Clinton

Defending Hillary Clinton at this point in time is an extremely difficult endeavor, akin to my guarding Kobe Bryant in a game of basketball. I believe that somewhere amongst the various versions of Hillary displayed during the past years, there is a Hillary that is very bright, very capable, and could make a good president of the U.S. Unfortunately, as I alluded to in the previous sentence, we have been presented with different Hillarys and it is difficult to know which one is real. A significant group of people detest her to a degree that is almost unfathomable. Thus, when she makes a “mistake” or utters anything that could be interpreted negatively, a nuclear arsenal of verbal vituperation is launched at her creating a mental radioactive wasteland that makes it hard to render a fair judgment of what she said.

The most recent nuclear verbal uproar was in regard to her mentioning Robert Kennedy’s assassination in June1968 when he was a candidate for the presidency of the U.S. A wide range of groups were horrified by her mentioning this fact. Various interpretations of “what she was really saying” spewed forth like foul smelling volcanic lava. Something that should have been a major factor in determining how people reacted to what she said, but which was largely overlooked, was the reaction of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He was not offended by what she said, and this should not be overlooked because he is a Hillary Supporter. Unfortunately, at this point in her career, and her bid for presidency of the U.S., each person’s individual feelings are paramount in interpreting what she said or did.

Let’s get back to the problem of the multiple Hillarys. Recently, I watched a documentary of former president Harry S. Truman. It seemed that once he decided to campaign for the presidency in 1948 he had already formulated what he wanted to say. When he arose each day on his famous train trip across America he spoke from his heart without hesitation. He did not have to figure out who he was going to be that day and what he was going to say. Therein lays the dilemma for most people who have run for president and other political positions since that time. They get up each day and have to figure out who they are going to be and what they are going to say to the people on the day’s agenda. This is certainly Hillary’s dilemma as is it Senator McCain’s, but to a lesser degree Senator Obama's. When Hillary is at her best, speaking from her heart, she has been able to establish a somewhat improbable connection with the working class of America. At such times she resonates well because there is less political artifice going through her head. Unfortunately, much of the time she is constantly trying to figure out what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to. This is when she ends up in deep caca. One particular instance was when she casually stated she would wipe out Iran when questioned what her response would be to Iranian nuclear aggression. I believe she was trying to impress on the interviewer, and the audience, that she would be tough leader. Unfortunately, this was a horrendous way of making her point.

Another factor hampering her ability to come forth as a consistent person is her association with her husband Bill Clinton. There is nothing genuine about Bill because everything he says and does is calculated for a desired effect. This does not make Bill unique as a major political figure but he has served as a poor model for Hillary. The Clintons as a single psychological entity have developed their own narcissistic sense of personal entitlement.

I’m not sure how well I defended Hillary, but it was a tough job and someone had to do it. No doubt James Spader portraying Alan Shore on Boston Legal would have done better. But that is fiction and I have been dealing with the reality that the Hillary who could have been a good president has long since been subsumed by political calculation, blind ambition, and the belief that she was entitled to be president. As Americans have learned to our dismay being the best presidential candidate has little to do with becoming the president. Shame on us.

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