Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Among Democrats, Cynicism Will Triumph Over Victims

We’ve already seen the many ways Hillary Clinton can use her gender to her advantage politically--even when she seems to reinforce negative stereotypes and appears to put herself at a disadvantage. The tears of this clown were on call and came out on cue in order to help secure her victory in New Hampshire. Hillary the Strong . . . Hillary the Victim . . . Hillary the Triumphant . . . Hillary the Tried . . . Hillary named after the Everest climber before he climbed Everest . . . Hillary the wife of America’s first black President! Why not? If you want to lie, lie big! And so, according to Dick Morris, she is.

It doesn’t matter that the lie won’t be believed in the wide field of public opinion. In the cynical world of Hillary Clinton, it didn’t matter that her tears weren’t so believed. What matters is the way in which the lie can manipulate the reactions of particular groups of people to her benefit. So Bill Clinton can traipse around South Carolina in black neighborhoods and compare his civil rights record to Obama’s, bare his wounds to that multitude, suffer their scorn, and give his wife a victory in a defeat of their doing by spurring more white pity votes in Florida. It’s audacity incarnate. It’s cynical beyond words. But it’s beautifully and masterfully of a piece with Democrat logic. One can’t argue against that. The victims they purport to elevate have to know their place, after all. There is a hierarchy of victim-hood. The lesser victims (blacks and women) will always be sacrificed on the altar of the higher victim. And with the Clintons--as with all the most successful Democrat politicians--the highest victim is always themselves.

For more on this theme of the Clinton Machine (though with a slightly different twist) see Hugh Hewitt’s analysis of today’s WSJ editorial about Obama’s "education" in real Democratic party politics, Clinton style.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Here's the WSJ editorial, which is accessible through the Opinion Journal page.

Thanks, Joe. I put the link in the original post.

Julie wrote: "There is a hierarchy of victim-hood."

This is the fundamental truth that rules our age. And it would be one thing if the hierarchy was immutable, but it is not. It seems to shift as those victim classes provide more or less value to those in power and seeking to maintain it.

In one sense it's fascinating to watch the shifting fortunes of the competing victim groups.

Great post - both on the egotism of the Clintons and on victimhood (direct or apparent or vicarious) as the coin of the Democratic realm, the claim to rule.

And on truth and cynicism. Among the many stupefying aspects of the Clintons, one that has always dumbfounded me is their contempt for their own constituencies. Consider, for example, black Americans. Bill, in particular, was and remains wildly popular among most of them; when I bring up his impeachment and trial in my classes, the black students have a knee-jerk reaction as to his innocence, or rather, to the injustice of his impeachment for "having sex." Anyway, assuming for the moment that the cynical view of politics is true -- that governing is simply about rewarding interest groups to stay in power -- when did Clinton ever actually do anything policywise to promote black people in America? When did he use politics for them, in contrast, say, to using them (e.g., Vernon Jordan and Betty Currie) for himself.

Bill's a master of ingratiating himself to black crowds, radiating familiarity and folksiness, and mouthing tropes of churchifying, southern-style; just read the transcript of any MLK-day address, etc. But it's all sentimentality and symbolism (like his apologies for slavery and the Tuskegee syphilis experiment). And flattery, and manipulation. And the appearance of shared victimhood. And that's sufficient for their vehement support? (If true, I suppose that would be contemptible.)

The other big constituency for Bill was his feminine, or rather, feminist one. No need to elaborate on his James Bond-esque disdain for women. Yet this constituency remained fiercely loyal, despite his being the epitome -- nay, the fleshy incarnation -- of the image of the male-privileged, sexually exploitative boss.

What actual political payoff bought their loyalty, which Bill presumed and on which he depended? Vetoes on partial-birth abortion bills? Perhaps. But can that action really compensate for the general insult to women? Can it really establish a solid base of political support?

Maybe it can, if the truth really doesn't matter in politics, or in friendship, or in life. The Clintons, then, have taken speaking "power to truth" to its logical conclusion, using the technique on political allies as well as enemies. But then, what "is" the meaning of "allies" and "enemies" anyway?

Maybe it's time to include Richard III in civics classes.

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