When I sketched out this post last night, I had intended to call it, “Hillary Clinton: Phony” and make some reference to Holden Caulfield, but then as I did my morning blog-read, I chanced (if chance it was) upon Glenn‘s link to David Brooks’s insightful New York Times Op-Ed, “Combat and Composure” where he said a lot of what I had wanted to say about Ms. Hillary, but with far more flair:
[Her response to George Stephanopoulos’ question on the gas tax] wasn’t just shameless spin, it was shamelessness with a purpose. Clinton signaled that she wasn’t going to concede even an inch to the vast elitist conspiracy. She wasn’t going to feel guilty about ignoring the evidence. She was going to stomp on it, flay it and leave it a twisted mass of jelly quivering on the ground. She was going to perform the primordial duty of an alpha dog leader â€” helping one’s own.
Shameless. She’ll say or do anything to get elected.
Even in her latest incarnation as what Brooks terms, “an alpha dog leader,” an incarnation which has earned her some admiration on the right, she continues to campaign not as an principled leader committed to improving the world, but as a pandering politician eager to please an audience.
Recall, that on saving her campaign from oblivion by winning in New Hampshire, she didn’t extol the virtues of standing on principle, but said, “I listened to you and in the process, I found my own voice.” She doesn’t find her voice through a lifetime of experience and thoughtful reflection, but in listening to others. A voice dependent on the whims of others.
Perhaps for a politician this is a good thing, to reflect he needs of his constituents, but shouldn’t a leader have a voice, an identity, different from that of the masses? For without a solid sense of one’s own identity, of core values, such an individual could not offer steadfast leadership in times of crisis.
Her phoniness is not just in her pandering, how she shifts her views to reflect the political needs of the moment, it’s also her appearance. Watching her arm gestures in the last debate, I thought she looked like a marionette, moving her arms on the command of some unseen political consultant to look more engaged. Now, look at the picture in this article where she points at someone in the audience. Again, it looks like something Bill told her to do so she could appear to connect with the audience.
Every time I see her on TV doing that pointy thing, it just seems contrived.
While Obama is struggling now, one reason he has emerged as an effective challenger to Mrs. Clinton is that he appears genuine. Or, as David Brooks put it, he “still seems like a human being. He still seems to return each night to some zone of normalcy where personal reflection lives.” Whereas his opponent scorns personal reflection to mimic the multitude.
Hardly someone we want as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief.