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Why do People Hate Hillary, part II

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.

Discussions - 19 Comments

Don’t forget her famous "pretty in pink" press conference after the Monica story broke and all those awful interviews she did, while First Lady, to show off the way that "she" had decorated the White House for Christmas. The number of people who believe that Hillary was an unknowing victim of the lecherous Bill is probably about equal to the number of people who believe that she actually decorated the White House for Christmas. But it doesn’t matter. She staged these productions for a reason. The reason was that she knew it helped her image with that number of people who are open to believing fairy tales. And it did. She will do it again. The question may be whether calling her on it will hurt her or help her.

Didn't SNL debut Toonces around the same time as Socks?

"Okay, so Hillary, along with her husband, used dumb animals for whom they probably never had any real affection to score political points."

This is absurd. Utterly absurd. I have to admit that I did a real double-take when I saw that this was written by you, John. And then you get into how they're "phonies" too? This is recycled Limbaugh and Coulter material.

What Craig Scanlon said.

Was that not a fair account of what Flanagan wrote in the article I cited?

Perhaps it was a fair account. Based on what you wrote about it (and, I presume, expanded upon), I didn't think it justified a subscription to The Atlantic. It's just silly and pointless to speculate on the authenticity of the affection that the Clintons felt for their pets. Yes, right, their dogs got hit by cars because they didn't love them enough. Come on. So we have Mr. Hayward here at NLT exhibiting Gore Derangement Syndrome and pretty much all of NLT's regular contributors to have Hillary Derangement Syndrome.

And for the life of me, I wish I could figure out the NLT take on hypocrisy. Sometimes it's merely a diversionary charge thrown out by haters of virtue who take a "childish delight" in the "public unveiling" of it, sometimes it's even a mere "non sequitur." But now, this digging back into such substantive matters of the Clinton's dark, crime-ridden past has apparently found the type of hypocrisy that truly matters, the kind that can be pinned on both Slick Willie and that cold, calculating He-Beast, Hillary - "she" whose eyes don't twinkle at the sight of children.

Buddy knew too much.

The Clintons are truly frightening people, and their use of pets as props is a good example of their whatever-it-takes abnormality.

There is a difference, Mr. Scanlon, between falling short of one's moral aspirations (as all of us do) and genuine hypocrisy--which is a mere pretense of respect for virtue in order to garner the benefits of the public perception of your virtuousness. One is mere weakness, the other is deceitful from the get go. One is the recognition of the fact that we are all sinners and imperfect. The other is a kind of Machiavellian manipulation of virtue toward one's own ambition. You may find it distressing, but there are a lot of people who believe Hillary more closely resembles the latter.

Sorry, but I'm still having trouble comprehending the outrage from Craig and Steve. We were talking about the reasons why people tend to dislike Hillary. Surely we can all agree that her negative ratings are unusually high. Moreover, it doesn't seem to me that we can blame her politics for that; much as I disagree with her, it looks to me as though her stated views on most issues are solidly within the mainstream. So we must look somewhere else. Peggy Noonan offered one possible explanation. I thought Caitlin Flanagan's views were germane to the topic because here is a woman of unquestionably liberal outlook (I suspect she'll end up voting Democrat in 2008 no matter who the candidate may be) who doesn't seem to like Hillary much at all. Moreover, without going into the particular merits of her case (I hadn't heard a thing about Socks being given away until I read the article), Flanagan's characterization of her as a sanctimonious phony pretty well lines up with the impression I've had of her since I first saw her on television during the 1992 campaign. Obviously Craig and Steve disagree with that assessment; well, bully for them, and bully for Hillary. But perhaps they might offer their opinions on why so many people--non-conservatives as well as conservatives--seem to react viscerally to her.

Not exactly outrage. . .I thought the post was silly. Pakistan is in danger of imploding (to take just one example) and we are talking about Socks and Buddy and the Clintons' weird marriage. I have no idea where Hillary registers on the hypocrisy meter compared to other candidates, Democratic and Republican.

I'm not sure why so many people react viscerally to her. Although there are many people who seem to viscerally like her as well. You say that her negative ratings are unusually high. Maybe so (I really don't know), but isn't she leading the pack among the Dems? I suspect that more of those who rate her negatively are those who are those who will likely vote for the GOP or 3rd party candidate. Surely, the message is always being drilled here at NLT that Dems by and large are crazy liberals, so apparently a lot of non-conservatives like Hillary.

I don't really think she's the best choice for POTUS. For me, though, that opinion has more to do with a variety of things - policy positions, voting record, her corporate interactions, her apparent prioritizing of issues, etc. - none of which really get into wild speculations about if she really likes her pets or children or if her smile is always part of an elaborate ruse, or if she just married Bill to get ahead in politics. Who in the world can really know these things? This is tabloid-level stuff. Bill and Hillary "quietly palmed off" Socks!

I'm sure there are some who speculate that GWB is a bad father to his daughters or that Cheney mutters bigoted epithets when his limo rolls past non-white people or that he eats kittens in the White House basement. I either shrug them off or laugh them off, as the reasons that I oppose the Bush administration are restricted to things they have actually done or approved, policy-wise, or said on the record. I won't take any guesses on the feelings of Bush or Cheney (& co.) towards their wives, daughters, or pets. I don't think I'm in any position to speculate.

That is sounds rather sensible Craig... are you sure you are a liberal?

Yes, John Lewis - Last time I checked I was a raving leftist moonbat! ;)

John Moser had the gist of the piece just right, and it did go to a larger point: how HRC deploys both feminism and femininity in ways that creeps out even people who'd like to support her. If Steve Thomas wanted to read about Pakistan, he might have not clicked on this post. Just a thought.

I'm just no damn good at this extreme partisanship stuff. Certainly character matters, but do we know much? As for the hypocrisy meter, the lowest score is probably Rudy's, but he has other problems.

You sound like a Democrat who fears getting stuck with Hillary as your nominee. After all, you can't seem to muster Flanagan's absence of partisanship, but instead get cranky and want to change the subject.

Sorry this is out of place, but in response to Steve: On the contrary, I think Pakistan is looking on the up-and-up. This Abuto (sp?) lady who was nearly assasinated has a large amount of popular support. That popular support will now be married to our boy Musharif (sp?) and turned against the extremists.

Andrew - I hope you are right.

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