Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Why do People "Hate" Hillary?

Peggy Noonan opines that Hillary should think long and deep about that question and, carefully, answer it (if she can). If she could do that, she would be doing something that may inspire more female support, argues Noonan. Her eternal problem seems not to be the fact that she is a woman--but rather that she does not seem to be one. Her public persona of toughness comes off as a bit much--even to her supporters. Hillary’s recent flurry of appearances on programs like The View give testament to the fact that she is aware of this difficulty and that she is trying to combat it. It is an open question whether or not Hillary will be persuasive on this ground--but Noonan is certain that Hillary has chosen precisely the right field for the battle. It seems to me that if Noonan is right (and I think she probably is) then our side would do well to engage her there--albeit on the field of her choosing--instead of running for the trenches or searching for some other point of attack. Even if Hillary is choosing the battleground, it is the ground on which she is (ironically) the most vulnerable. All of this is a long way to a short point--which is: the 2008 election is probably going to turn on the votes of women and of men who are accustomed to aligning their sympathies to the concerns of women. Those are the folks who are angry at Bush. Those are the folks who are not supporting Hillary in enough numbers to make her bullet-proof. So those are the folks, therefore, we must persuade (or, if that fails . . . divide).

Discussions - 10 Comments

Because she is very scary - plain and simple.

She and her cronies will drag the Union into the worst of depths.

I would imagine that it's also difficult to engender female support when she allows Bill to cheat on her as he does. The impression is that she needs him as for his political contacts and not as a husband. What kind of wife does that make her? None, she has no wifely image.

Why in God's name is Peggy Noonan -- an often serious, and often intelligent, commentator who has written excellent stuff -- giving Hillary Clinton advice? This is not a game. We are talking about enormous stakes for the future of this country.
Conservatives have no business advising liberals on how to win elections, at least until the '08 election is behind us. They should focus on winning, not on showing off their bipartisanship.

I very much doubt that Peggy Noonan said anything in this article that the Hillary camp has not already considered. If you read the piece you will see that the real purpose is to give a clearer picture to her opposition. Noonan is directing our troops, not hers, to the battlefield.

Julie, come on. It goes without saying that Shrillary and her people need little in the way of advice, especially of this type. They are plenty smart on their own. My point isn't, and I didn't say it was, that the Shrillary campaign will benefit from Ms. Noonan's kindhearted ministrations in any direct way. They may, however, benefit indirectly. Noonan is a major commentator, and this kind of column contributes to a sense among readers that Republican and conservative voices in the chattering class often view the Shrillary candidacy with equanimity. We will lost next year's election if we are not warlike. Being warlike isn't enough. And one can't ONLY be warlike, as I would hope is also obvious. But columns that need to be interpreted, as you suggest Noonan's must be, hurt more than they help. If she were only talking in a private room to sophisticated conservatives, that would be fine. She isn't. She's speaking to the entire reading public.
Tone is damned important, and hers is all wrong this time.

I have no idea what you mean, David. I hardly think that it is Noonan's job to cheerlead for your particular vision of the GOP. Her job is to point to the truth as she understands it. You can disagree with her understanding of the truth here--and there is room for that disagreement--but you haven't done that. You've only said that she shouldn't have said it. (?!) If what she says is true then people who care about the future of the GOP should listen--even if it hurts.

I don't believe sufficient numbers of Americans would vote for her under any circumstances. She has a deplorable personality, she is not straight-forward but is slippery in the extreme, she is a cuckold and seems to like being one, and if she was elected Slick Willie would be first gentleman (which we all know he isn't). Moreover, in these times, why would anyone want to experiment with a woman as president?

One of my 10th grade students commented in class the other day that Hillary is a lot like Henry Clay--someone who spent their life in politics but could never get elected because he was too polarizing. Whether that comparision is fair is debatable, but what I found interesting is that this came from the mouth of a teenager.

It's no surprise to me, Lori . . . given that the student was one of yours! Good for you and the student. A future Ashbrook scholar?

Julie, I never suggested that Noonan should "cheerlead" for the GOP, let alone cheerlead for my "particular vision" of it. Being warlike (which I did suggest) in regard to a Democratic presidential candidate is not the same as cheerleading for the Republican party. If you don't like partisanship in commentators and you do like Noonan's sometime niceness toward Hillary, then say so. But don't set up a false dichotomy between a firm political message and intellectual maturity or self-sufficiency. There is no contradiction between the two at all. (And what would my "vision," which you sneeringly refer to, be?) You simply don't get the point I was making. I hadn't known it was all that subtle, but maybe it was. Again: Writing as if she wants to strengthen Hillary's campaign contributes to a sense among some readers that it's OK, in the view of some conservative voices, if Hillary wins. If Ms. Noonan supported Hillary herself, or was ambivalent about whether she wanted Hillary or a Republican to win, this would not only be OK but highly appropriate for her. But it would be something I'd vigorously oppose, since I vigorously oppose Hillary and fail to understand any conservative who doesn't. There is also the question of Noonan's consistency and seriousness. She tries to be a serious commentator, not a humorist. Ms. Noonan has also, for at least a very long time, been a Republican. She is, I presume, quite opposed to Hillary. This ambivalent column and some others make Noonan's message not diverse, or thoughtful, or fair, but merely confused and inconsistent. There is a difference. And please be consistent yourself. Don't, on the one hand, say "I have no idea what you mean," then in the next breath denounce what you wrongly think I said. When you do that, it makes readers think you are simply calling me an idiot, but deniably so, in the guise of "not understanding" what I've said. I'd prefer to be honestly called an idiot. Condescension, as distinct from name-calling, is a fine art. I would suggest that you hone it more finely if you wish to use it.

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