Okay, so maybe "hate" is a bit strong, but the always entertaining (but hardly conservative) Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic offers one possible reason why. Remember Socks the Cat? He suddenly burst onto the American scene during the 1992 campaign, when press photographers noticed him outside the governor’s mansion in Little Rock. Suddenly Hillary the non-cookie-baker had a way of connecting with "the vast group of Americans (schoolchildren, mothers, teachers, old folk, simpletons) who share a good-natured, apolitical enthusiasm for the particulars of White House domestic life." Before long Socks was showing up in staged White House photographs and accompanying the First Lady on personal appearances. She even wrote (well, compiled) a book, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she showcased "the way Hillary wanted to be seen as a first lady...warm, spontaneous to the point of being a little bit silly sometimes; somone who always has a twinkle in her eye whenever children are around." In other words, everything that she very likely is not.
You may be wondering, whatever happened to ol’ Socks? As the Clintons were making preparations to leave the White House in early 2001, the hapless feline was quietly palmed off onto Betty Currie. Of course, Buddy "had barely sniffed his first Chappaqua crotch" before he got loose and was struck and killed by a car--the same fate that befell the Clinton’s previous dog Zeke.
Okay, so Hillary, along with her husband, used dumb animals for whom they probably never had any real affection to score political points. That they’re phonies won’t really strike anyone as front-page news. But what’s worse from Flanagan’s point of view is not that Hillary’s a phony, but a sanctimonious one at that. For Dear Socks, Dear Buddy isn’t just fluff, it’s preachy fluff, full of admonitions never to give pets away, and always to be protective of their physical safety.
The bottom line is that Hillary combines "the worst of the traits that often mark idealists (humorlessness, sanctimoniousness) combined with the worst expediency and hypocrisy of her husband." Yep, that sounds about right.