It’s Not About Whether We ‘Like’ Hillary Clinton


But what exactly do so many have against her?

This question drives much of David Brooks latest for the New York Times. He goes on to ask:

I would begin my explanation with this question: Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun?

I hate these kinds of pieces that attempt to frame folks distrust of Hillary as a matter of personality based disaffinity (made that word up).

At least in her public persona, Clinton gives off an exclusively professional vibe: industrious, calculated, goal-oriented, distrustful. It’s hard from the outside to have a sense of her as a person; she is a role.

This formal, career-oriented persona puts her in direct contrast with the mores of the social media age, which is intimate, personalist, revealing, trusting and vulnerable. It puts her in conflict with most people’s lived experience. Most Americans feel more vivid and alive outside the work experience than within. So of course to many she seems Machiavellian, crafty, power-oriented, untrustworthy.

Trying to frame Hillary’s inability to rally the fervent support of much of what should be her base, around the idea that she’s just not “likable” is not only insulting, but also a way of minimizing the heft of some of the really shitty choices she’s made in her career as a public servant. I say choices because, that’s exactly what they were. Heroizing Nancy Reagan on HIV and AIDS was a choice. Not apologizing for heroizing Nancy Reagan on HIV and AIDS was also a choice. She knew she was wrong, but underestimated how much her choice would hurt people. And when she realized how much it hurt people, she went as close as she could to apologizing without offending the demons who’d be offended by her apologizing for heroizing Nancy Reagan. That’s corny.

Calling the victims of America’s hyper-aggressive and inevitably oppressive capitalism ‘super-predators’ was wrong – and she knew it at the time – and she chose to just roll with it. Taking millions of dollars from bankers who crashed the economy and then trying to tell us you did it so that you could scold them on their badness, is wrong. She knew it was wrong, but she took those checks. Supporting NAFTA and then pretending you didn’t was wrong. Coming out against marriage equality and then pretending you changed your mind was wrong. Everything about how the Clinton Global Initiative rolls is wrong.

People like to call Trump supporters dumb for rallying behind a guy who’s spent his entire career working against their interests. They chalk Trump’s support up to folks just being uneducated and simple. Those same people like to champion the Democratic party as the smarter, more educated and more thoughtful party – except when folks in that party don’t support Hillary. When Dems don’t support Hillary it’s because she’s not “likable”. That’s bullshit. I don’t care where Hillary vacations, what she does for fun, how warm and caring she is as a grandmother or any of that. I care about her choices as a public servant. And it is those choices, above all else that prevent me from supporting her.

So when the shootout comes this November, you know what to do: Stay low and keep firing.


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