Time for straight talk. Why? Because some of us are tired of being Hillary pilloried. We are being brow-beaten for speaking our truth. Accused of being mean. We are told that in the interest of party unity, we must go to our rooms and not come out until we can behave. Okey dokey.
I've taken issue with Hillary Clinton, sometimes publicly. For years, I have struggled with my aversion to her. I don’t much like that about myself. Historically, I have to be crossed hugely and multiple times before I give way to mistrust and that shivery thing that runs up my spine. But the fact is, I find Hillary Clinton immensely off-putting. More.
When it became apparent that Hillary was going to run for president, I did an intervention on myself. I did the whole “she’s smart enough, she’s good enough and doggone it, people like her” routine. The whole “acting as if” deal. I shut my mouth about my reservations, in part because it’s difficult to defend gut feelings. Also because I suspected I’d be evicted from the sandbox if I didn’t get on board with the sisters.
It is fair to say that like many American women, I do get jazzed about the prospect of having a female CEO for this country. In my lifetime. Tick tock. Even so, every time I encounter some variation of “Hillary’s the one,” my gut whispers, “I don’t think so.”
I’ve mentioned here before that each time in recent memory that I’ve tried to disregard my rookie political preferences in favor of the anointed ones, the results have been catastrophic. Think John Kerry. Think Mike Hatch. I totally understand that my instinct is not Alpha and Omega. But each time I’ve done an enforced course correction on candidate preference . . . well, you know.
About Hillary? Look, I understand that her ruffles and Barbara Bush pearls represent decisions by her handlers, attempting to present a softer Hillary. I get that the “Hillary wept” dealie was propelled into nauseating scrutiny by the media. And I also recognize that the woman rarely gets a break from her detractors. Unfortunately for her, there are lots of those.
Hillary’s tendency to waffle and weave has not endeared her to me. Her failure to take a strong stand against the Iraq Occupation when that was essential was a deal-breaker. And while I understand that moderation picks up more votes, I’m disappointed in what seems to me Hillary’s march to the middle. That certainly worked for Bill. And I suppose the rationale is, “Whatever it takes.” Indeed.
Turns out my principal aversion is less to Hillary herself than to the Clinton Machine. Aversion to the Machine’s humongous special-interest funding, some of it from dubious sources. To its apparent culture of back-room deals and arm-twisting. To an uneasy suspicion that the Machine will pull all stops. For example, outlining directions for the Nevada caucus, a Clinton campaign directive stated, “It’s not illegal unless they tell you so.” Made me queasy. Made the word “ruthless” come to mind.
Then there’s the matter of Bill. More to the point, what’s the matter with Bill? His intrusive presence in Hillary’s campaign has been deeply unsettling and adds to my growing dis-ease with All Things Clinton. Pecker problems notwithstanding, Bill Clinton was a brilliant political strategist and a mighty fine president. It’s been painful to watch him morph into a loose cannon. And the Billary thing, whether real or perceived, is no longer an asset. It feels . . . creepy.
My storied gut is warning me away from the Clintons. I’ve been smacked down for demonizing Hillary. Going forward, I will choose my words more carefully and my listeners with utmost care. It’s the unity, stupid.