No Thank You, Hillary, I’ll Pass

Am I really the only liberal in the country who hasn’t already thanked, raised money for, supported, door-knocked for, voted for and attended the 2016 inauguration of Hillary Clinton as President?

I love these conventional wisdom commentators who are all saying the Democratic nod for president is Hillary’s if she wants it. Why? How come? Really?

Hillary for blogI’ve gotten emails every day for the last month saying “please sign this card for Hillary thanking her for her amazing superlative selfless saintlike damngood service to the country, the species and the universe.” It’s as if we’re all so greatly indebted to this masterwoman who lowered herself from her corporate board seats to serve poor drooling humanity one more time.

The latest is an email story from The Washington Post announcing a contest —ย  Help Hillary name her upcoming memoir. I’ve got a name for Hillary’s book that’s fitting — “ME!”

Let me step firmly off this bandwagon.

Carl Bernstein’s excellent and revealing 2007 biography of Clinton showed her to be soulless, a person driven by whatever is best for her. Measured, focus-grouped, a person whose core principles are all about advancing herself.

Has she done a good job a secretary of state? Yes. Has this been good service to the United States and world? Yes. Does she believe in and advocate for important causes, such as the empowerment of women worldwide? Yes. She, like all of us, is a complicated woman, a blend of selfish and selfless.

But what’s at her core? Watching her last week testifying before the Senate, reading — READING — her remarks about how she stood at Andrews Air Base and watched the coffins return from Benghazi and how she put her arms around the daughters and spouses showed her to be — hollow. Reading these remarks? Did she have margin notes — “Choke up just a little here…”?

This is the person who, in the 2008 campaign, when Republicans were attacking Barack Obama for not being American and for being Muslim, responded when asked about his religion — “As far as I know he’s a Christian.” What a profile in courage. The ugly sewer-level whispering about Obama was benefiting Hillary, so she was going to do the least required of her to deal with it. Compare this to what I’ve posted on this blog several times — Colin Powell excoriating his fellow Republicans for not stamping out this disgraceful canard.

Even my oldest brother, who can cherish a grudge like fine wine, says I have to let go and get over this. But I don’t think I will. Character, or its lack, shows through in key places in a person’s life, and I think with Hillary we’ve seen what we’ll get.

I don’t find her a compelling political leader nor a mind with great vision, as I’ve found Obama. She has a good shot at becoming the first female president — but should she be elected because she’s female? What’s the bumper sticker — “Not just any woman”? There are many women leaders in the country who would make better presidents, even if they would have a harder time getting elected.

But could Clinton get elected? I think her lack of character would show, as it did in the 2008 campaign. Against a genuine and passionate and younger Republican — she’d have great trouble.

But apparently I’m the only one who’s not waving a Hillary 2016 flag. I’m not ready for the restoration — I think it’s time to keep moving in the direction Obama is heading us.

— Bruce Benidt



(Image from NBC News

19 thoughts on “No Thank You, Hillary, I’ll Pass

  1. PM says:

    I am hoping that there are more serious candidates for 2016 than just Biden and Hillary.

    I really do not like the idea of “royal” families–whether Kennedy, Bush Clinton or any other.

    I hope we have wide open GOP and Democratic primaries for 2016. Let there be no inevitable candidates!

      1. Mike, just watched Marvin Kalb, Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer talking about the debates on C-SPAN. Hilarious to have Kalb ask Shieffer and Lehrer if they were affected by twitter during the debates. These guys, in their 80s and late 70s, might as well have been railroad conductors from the B&O talking about space flight. Only Martha Raddatz had any idea how social media affected debates — or what media since the telegraph is.
        So along with your hooligans, i renew my call for a debate with no moderator, or with you as moderator.

      2. PM says:

        I hope that some of those 3rd party hooligans will run in the Dem and GOP primaries, at least at first, so they can get in on those debates. That is where the real action is, i think–and the opportunity to slay some sacred cows.

    1. I think you’re on to something here, Bruce … as opposed to … well, you know. While Hillary is more battle-tested, diplomatically skillful and generally thoughtful than say George W. Bush was in the late ’90s as he moved toward his coronation by the GOP, these glide path candidacies make me a little twitchy. With her it’s tough to make the argument that she hasn’t been vetted by public opinion. Hell, she’s been accused of every vice and attacked with every calumny imaginable. But that shouldn’t exempt her from full bore competition … even from another female candidate.

      Given the hapless condition of the GOP, who will be hard-pressed to avoid a Marco Rubio under the delusion that all they need is a guy who speak more than 20 words of Spanish to win back the brown vote, we are looking at the Next Evolutionary president in 2016 … i.e. a woman.

      Personally, I’m watching Elizabeth Warren. Barring some colossal crew-up, and presuming she knows the game of drawing cameras, she has a set of progressive bona fides that Hillary has never had. At the least, she would push La Grande Dame to the left.

  2. Wow. A great deal of Hillary bashing here, gentlemen, with few facts to back up your generalities.

    Bruce: A 6-year old Bernstein bio calls Hillary soulless? Isn’t that negated by her traveling 965,000+ miles to 112 countries in the past 4 years, representing the USA with the highest of praise? In fact, she’s done more than anyone I know to advance the rights of women and children during the past 20 years.

    You also say, Bruce, “There are many women leaders in the country who would make better presidents.” Can you name some? Are there binders and binders full of such women?

    And, Brian, I can only hope the Evolutionary Gasp of Disbelief is about to cough up a woman (unless, of course, we find a way to stop before that rather drastic step and tap a Jew or a cripple). So, let’s look at Elizabeth Warren. “She has a progressive set of bona fides that Hillary has never had.” Right, Brian. Name some.

    As for 3rd party candidates with any credibility, Mike, there aren’t any.

    Why do so many intelligent men appear so frightened by and/or hostile to Hillary Clinton? She’s just been named “the most admired woman in America” in a Gallup poll for the 17th year – and yet that’s still not good enough.

      1. That’s right, Mike. There aren’t any. Believe me, I went through a loonnnggg list of names and bios. Whom would you endorse?

        I think an interesting pick for the Rs would be Chris Christie. He might be able to bring everyone back toward the middle. No pun intended. He’s putting on a brave public face now with his obesity battle and I think that makes him appealing to many people. I respect that. He also proved he can get the job done following Super Storm Sandy.

      2. Who would I endorse for the sake of participating in otherwise two-headed debates? Literally anyone. Even the former pornstar who regularly runs for governor of California, though I vaguely recall that she’s just a regular Republican (ha!), not a third-partier.

        In terms of serving as president? Again, the bar ain’t very high. Bob Barr. Gary Johnson. Ross Perot. Ron Paul. Joe Lieberman. A disillussioned Hillary Clinton who’s fled the Democratic Party. I almost don’t even care. These people aren’t wingnuts trying to rise out of the local Klan Konvention; Perot excepted, they’re all mainstream (at least formerly) politicians fed up with the same old bullshit.

        On principle, I’d vote for just about any third-partier with a fire in his or her belly and the metaphorical balls to run for major office as a third-partier.

  3. Do you have the feeling that Rove is straining to remain relevant? The GOP would do well without his type of political advice. Move over, Karl.

    I forgot to mention to my fella Bubba that yes, Hillary read her prepared statement before Congress – word for word. That is PRECISELY what you must do when you are under oath testifying before a body that can cite you for contempt. You do not just wing it.

    Even still…

    So many right-wing bloggers (OK..I read 6 of them) have already crucified her for the emotion she showed. One said she “shrieked” before the committee. Another said she “roared,” etc. What a heartless *itch, heh? She can not win, I tell you.

  4. Ellen, two weeks late and a dollar short, but I’ll finally respond. Good points, my friend, no surprise. Regarding reading her testimony, I agree that she has to be careful what she says before Congress because Republican vultures will swoop on anything she says. But that’s about what happened at Benghazi. When she’s talking about her own experience with the families and her own emotions, there’s no reason she needs to follow a script. It just furthers the impression many of us have that she scripts and calculates and measures everything in her political life. Not an engaging trait in a leader.

    Elizabeth Warren’s credentials? Almost alone, she has worked to hold Wall Street and the big banks accountable for fucking this country. She has the guts to call them out and the knowledge to unravel what they did and to devise regulations that will keep their greed from fucking this country again.

    Bernstein’s book being six years old — does that disqualify it, my colleague who also taught history, as I did? I don’t believe she has changed at her core. Miles of travel don’t develop a core. Has she done good things, highlighting what’s holding down women and working for and celebrating their progress? Yes. She’s not all bad. I just don’t trust that someone so calculating has a North Star.

    I hear you about Hillary-bashing. There’s no doubt some misogyny at work here — I hope not in myself. In my view, her problem isn’t that she’s a woman. But, my dear Ellen, you and I have often disagreed over the years, and you do a damned effective job of jabbing me. And I still love you, even if you are a woman.

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