Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Calculating, clenched, relentless--and a little robotic."

(Cross-posted on AmbivaBlog.)

Jacob Weisberg in Slate:
Sen.[Hillary] Clinton's political positioning couldn't be better for 2008. Despite being a shrewdly triangulating centrist on the model of her husband, she remains wildly popular with the party's liberal core: It seems to share the right's erroneous view of her as a closet lefty and draws closer to her with every inane conservative attack. There's no other possible candidate in either party so well poised to claim the center without losing the base.
So why couldn't she win?

In Weisberg's view, it's not how much conservatives hate her. It's not that Bill is a liability (he's at least as much of an asset). It's not misogyny.

It's that people just plain don't like her.
Plainly put, it's her personality. . . . As hard as she tries, Hillary has little facility for connecting with ordinary folk, for making them feel that she understands, identifies, and is at some level one of them. You may admire and respect her. But it's hard not to find Hillary a bit inhuman. Whatever she may be like in private, her public persona is calculating, clenched, relentless—and a little robotic. . . .

[A] case can be made that the first woman who gets elected president will need to, as Hillary does, radiate more toughness than warmth. But in American elections, affection matters. Democrats lost in 2000 and 2004 with candidates Main Street regarded as elitist and aloof, to a candidate voters related to personally. Hillary isn't as obnoxious as Gore or as off-putting as Kerry. But she's got the same damn problem, and it can't be fixed.
Someone I know is having buttons made that say "Obama: Accept No Substitutes." But it's too early for that, isn't it? Not for a black president, I mean -- just too early for Obama, who's relatively young and untried in national politics. Jack Kennedy had been in the Senate far longer, and in Congress before that.

Maybe we'll have Condi Rice as our next president, and that'll break two barriers in one. By the way, Ann Althouse quoted the transcript of a Washington Times interview with Rice back in March of this year. You may not have known this: her positions on social issues are genuinely centrist, with a libertarian tinge. On abortion, for instance, she favors parental notification, but believes the government should stay out of the private decisions of adults.


At 7:30 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Hillary Clinton, before starting her "white house run" in 2000, had made her entire career on the liberal front-line, trashing Republicans and attempting to single-handedly revamp the U.S. economy's health care system with Hillaryhealthcare. Her own view is that she shined brightest when she worked as a lawyer on behalf of the Children’s Defense Fund, the ultra-liberal lobbying group that promoted welfare dependency as a consitutional right and opposed welfare reform. Let's not forget that it was Hillary who initially proposed her friend Johnetta Cole for secretary of education before the NY Times exposed Cole as a Fidel Castro propagandist. While her record is sparse before 2000, her affiliations and her friends were not, and they were definitely liberal.
-Sam Nicolas

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Sean said...

true, true, true.
I saw her speaach at the DNC. Boring! stale! Made Kerry look like Mr. Personality. I think the response to her outside of hardcore Dems will be a surprise to her supporters and the radical left.
If Warner plays his cards right, he could get the nomination.

I will be surprised if Hillary even finishes 2nd in the Dem primaries.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Sarah the Penguin said...

I have a bad habit of voting for someone with a strong plan and a sharp mind.

I don't care if it's Howard Stern or one of the nuns from St. Michaels.

If my past dictated my future, I would kill myself.

PS, if Dr. Rice runs in 08 I will lick I-40 from Tennessee to Texas.

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Phil S said...

Sean comes close-comparing her unfavorably to Kerry. But the truth is they are the same type of candidate: smart, tough, right on the issues; BUT they don't CONNECT with the public. It's as if they are always talking to only a camera, and never to a person!! There's no there there!!!! The key word was "robotic"!!
As bad as Bush is (and he IS bad), he DOES connect with the audience.


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