Commenting on Hillary’s performance in the Ohio debate last week, Michelle Malkin observed that the Democratic candidate for president looked “bitter, tired, angry.” This is not the first time a pundit has noted the former First Lady’s anger.
It does seem she has become increasingly irritated as the campaign for the Democratic nomination has failed to meet her expectation of the coronation she believes she deserved. On that score, her anger does not seem warranted in the least. No one is entitled to election or nomination just because he believes he is better suited for the office than others might be.
Yet, on another level, Mrs. Clinton’s anger does seem justified. While the media has been harsher on her than in years past (but not as harsh as they have been on Republican candidates), it has largely given her rival for the Democratic nomination a free pass.
For example, one has to turn to the blogs for questions about Senator Obama’s connections to real estate developer (and Democratic fundraiser) Tony Rezko who goes on trial tomorrow for corruption charges in the Illinois Senator’s adopted home town. (Glenn Reynolds has been doing a good job of linking posts on Rezko, e.g., here, here and here. Interestingly, most of his links are to non-traditional news sources.)
Perhaps, were Mrs. Clinton losing to a more accomplished politician, I might be less sympathetic to her bitterness. Much as I dislike and distrust the woman, I do have to admire her intelligence, her diligence and her perseverance. She has sacrificed much for her ambitions, having endured what has been (by many accounts) a difficult marriage at least in part (if not in entirety) to attach herself to one of the most gifted politicians on her side of the political aisle in the last few decades.
Once elected to the Senate, she took a seat on the Armed Services committee, mastering the details of defense policy, an issue for which she had theretofore shown little interest. As a Senator, she has worked hard, making more efforts to reach out to Republicans than she ever had as First Lady. It seemed to me she was compromising her long-standing and well-established liberal views in order to appear more centrist, thus making it easier for her to defeat a Republican in the fall campaign once she secured the Democratic nomination which she believed she would have no trouble winning.
Indeed, I believe she voted for the Iraq war not because she favored aggressive military action against a dictator who repeatedly defied U.N. mandates (as well as the terms of the cease-fire he signed with the United States) but because she thought it would cement her image as a sensible centrist. And now, she’s bitter because her choice to craft a centrist political image is hurting her among her natural political allies.
It’s not just that, she’s losing to a man who has managed to avoid the specifics which has taken great pains to master. She must be fuming that her attention to detail has not helped her while a candidate with a presence and rhetorical gifts that she lacks is winning. It must not seem fair that, having worked so hard and suffered so much, the man beating her seems to be doing so effortlessly.
As an example of this, consider her reaction to the Los Angeles debate. I didn’t get to see it, but when reading about it on the blogs and news-sites, the pundits thought she had won while voters in focus groups preferred Mr. Obama. The pundits evaluated the candidates on their command of the issues. The undecided voters on how they made them feel.
She believes she worked hard for his accomplishments while his success came to him naturally. No wonder, this video comparing her to Reese Witherspoon‘s Tracy Flick from the movie, Election, has been circulating widely over the Internet. (I have lost count at the number of times friends and family members have e-mailed various links to the video to me not to mention the number of bloggers who have linked it.)
I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton because of her extreme partisan nature, something which she managed to obscure for the better part of her first term in the United States Senate, but which has become increasingly manifest in this campaign. All that said, she is an intelligent woman who has worked hard to master the details of policy and to position herself as a centrist who could work with Republicans and lead the nation. And she is losing to a man who, while intelligent and charismatic, has campaigned on broad themes rather than concrete policies.
It must be frustrating to her to be losing to a man who has gifts like her husband, gifts he did not have to work hard to attain. Had she had those gifts, she might more easily have achieved her goals–without having to tie herself to a philandering spouse.
UPDATE: As a followup to my point on the free pass Obama is getting from the media, check out this post on Obama’s relationship to his pastor (whom he has called a spiritual mentor) when that pastor has honored a hatemonger like Farrakhan. (Via Instapundit). If a Republican candidate’s pastor had commended David Duke or a religious leader who claimed Scripture sanctions segregration, the MSM would look into.
The MSM needs to be diligent in asking Obama about his relationship to a pastor who presents awards to Farrakhan and followup when he tries to dodge the issue as he did in the anecdote which leads off the post linked above.
UP-UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has more on the Rezko trial and the media’s disinterest. Just follow the links and read both pieces!