Camille Paglia, a liberal left feminist, has a fascinating read about Hillary Clinton.
Hillary without tears
Why it's time to close the book on the Clintons -- and herald the Obamas! Plus: Iran war hawks, Russian drag queens and the genius of Zeppelin.
By Camille Paglia
Jan. 10, 2008 | Subject: Hillary and sado-masochism
As her husband has dragged his numerous female play objects before her and has humiliated her on the public stage year after year, she still stays within the marriage.
Hillary seems to take every beating, and yet she appears to "keep on ticking." Does she thrive on this?
How would this affect one's (female) psyche? Judgment as President?
Corrales, New Mexico
A swarm of biographers in miners' gear has tried to plumb the inky depths of Hillary Rodham Clinton's warren-riddled psyche. My metaphor is drawn (as Oscar Wilde's prim Miss Prism would say) from the Scranton coalfields, to which came the Welsh family that produced Hillary's harsh, domineering father.
Hillary's feckless, loutish brothers (who are kept at arm's length by her operation) took the brunt of Hugh Rodham's abuse in their genteel but claustrophobic home. Hillary is the barracuda who fought for dominance at their expense. Flashes of that ruthless old family drama have come out repeatedly in this campaign, as when Hillary could barely conceal her sneers at her fellow debaters onstage -- the wimpy, cringing brothers at the dinner table.
Hillary's willingness to tolerate Bill's compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men. She distrusts them and feels morally superior to them. Following the pattern of her long-suffering mother, she thinks it is her mission to endure every insult and personal degradation for a higher cause -- which, unlike her self-sacrificing mother, she identifies with her near-messianic personal ambition.
It's no coincidence that Hillary's staff has always consisted mostly of adoring women, with nerdy or geeky guys forming an adjunct brain trust.
Hillary's rumored hostility to uniformed military men and some Secret Service agents early in the first Clinton presidency probably belongs to this pattern. And let's not forget Hillary, the governor's wife, pulling out a book and rudely reading in the bleachers during University of Arkansas football games back in Little Rock.
Hillary's disdain for masculinity fits right into the classic feminazi package, which is why Hillary acts on Gloria Steinem like catnip.
Steinem's fawning, gaseous New York Times op-ed about her pal Hillary this week speaks volumes about the snobby clubbiness and reactionary sentimentality of the fossilized feminist establishment, which has blessedly fallen off the cultural map in the 21st century. History will judge Steinem and company very severely for their ethically obtuse indifference to the stream of working-class women and female subordinates whom Bill Clinton sexually harassed and abused, enabled by look-the-other-way and trash-the-victims Hillary.
How does all this affect the prospect of a Hillary presidency? With her eyes on the White House, Hillary as senator has made concerted and generally successful efforts to improve her knowledge of and relationship to the military -- crucial for any commander-in-chief but especially for the first female one. However, I remain concerned about her future conduct of high-level diplomacy. Contemptuous condescension seems to be Hillary's default mode with any male who criticizes her or stands in her way. It's a Nixonian reflex steeped in toxic gender bias.
How will that play in the Muslim world?
The Clintons live to campaign. It's what holds them together and gives them a glowing sense of meaning and value. Their actual political accomplishments are fairly slight. The obsessive need to keep campaigning may mean a president Hillary would go right on spewing the bitterly partisan rhetoric that has already paralyzed Washington. Even if Hillary could be elected (which I'm skeptical about), how in tarnation could she ever govern?
The current wave of support for Barack Obama from Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans is partly based on his vision of a new political discourse that breaks with the petty, destructive polarization of the past 20 years. Whether Obama can build up his foreign policy credentials sufficiently to reassure an anxious general electorate remains to be seen.
But Hillary herself, with her thin, spotty record, tangled psychological baggage, and maundering blowhard of a husband, is also a mighty big roll of the dice. She is a brittle, relentless manipulator with few stable core values who shuffles through useful personalities like a card shark ("Cue the tears!"). Forget all her little gold crosses: Hillary's real god is political expediency. Do Americans truly want this hard-bitten Machiavellian back in the White House? Day one will just be more of the same.
I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee of my party, because I want Democrats appointed to the Cabinet and the Supreme Court. But I plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity. Obama has served longer as an elected official than Hillary. He has had experience as a grass-roots activist, and he is also a highly educated lawyer who will be a quick learner in office. His international parentage and childhood, as well as his knowledge of both Christianity and Islam, would make him the right leader at the right time. And his wife Michelle is a powerhouse.
The Obamas represent the future, not the past.