Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hilary = Yoko

Last week Aspazia had a couple of posts wondering whether the Hilary hatred was rooted in more than sexism. I believe so, but have been struggling to clearly enunciate what it is. Madeline Albright and Condoleeza Rice are both very smart, serious women, but neither elicit the same sort of reaction. There is something more than misogyny here, but saying what it is is tricky. So I will turn to my favorite means of expression, metaphor. I believe that there are different strands of Hilary-hatred; for example, I think the right-wing hatred certainly comes from a different place than the loathing liberals. It is the second case that I think is interesting, those in what should be her base that dislike her. I think I have three metaphors that explain why these people do not like Hilary Clinton.

1. Hilary is a Democratic Dick Cheney

I don't mean this in the sense of being an ideologue looking to start wars, I'm talking purely in terms of personality here. She has the same heaviness. I would put it this way (warning, SAT flashback ahead):

Hilary : Obama :: Cheney : Reagan

Cheney and Ronald Reagan have very similar politics, Cheney not only worked in the Reagan administration, but it was Reagan's interventionist foreign policy that was the model for Cheney's PNAC gang. But Reagan is to conservatives what catnip is to cats. He gave them a sense of energy and hope. He was a beacon. He gave promise for a better future. Cheney is the emotional photographic negative. And that same dynamic holds between Senators Clinton and Obama. Hillary is dark and heavy while Obama brings passion.

2. Hilary is a Democratic Bush, Sr.

When Bush the first was running he responded to a question that should have been a cinch to knock out of the park, he was asked what kind of country he wanted the US to be and he weakly responded with "Oh, that vision thing." Bush, Sr. wanted to be President in order to be President, there was no grand vision of what America was or could be. Hilary, likewise, does not really convey any sense that she has a grand vision for US, she seems to want to be President because she wants to be President. There are other Dems who do that well, in addition to Obama, Russ Feingold conveys a real sense of what he wants America to look like. Hilary's time in the Senate has only reinforced the image that came out of the second term of the Clinton Presidency, the Dick Morris years, where they were willing to turn their backs on anyone and anything that they might have stood for in order to bring the poll numbers up.

3. Hilary = Yoko

The previous two account for the rational distaste, but there is also a purely emotional level to it, too. There is, I believe, precedent for this reaction:

Bill Clinton : Hilary Clinton :: John Lennon : Yoko Ono

No one doubts that Yoko was a legitimate visual artist who had a deep and authentic concern for the well-being of the less-fortunate and a true desire for world peace and a human community full of love. No one doubts that Hilary Clinton is a very smart woman, a good lawyer, and someone who wants the world to be a better and safer place for everyone, including and especially children. Everyone who owns it is extremely happy with the invention of the CD player, so that you can program away half the tracks on Double Fantasy. Similarly, the idea of Bill Clinton giving a political address before Hilary speaks is like washing down Dom Parignon with flat RC cola.

But it is not only that it is not something we want, but also a resentment that it is being forced down our throats. And we wouldn't mind getting force fed, if it was by someone sympathetic. But it turns out to be the opposite, we are forced to endure something distasteful by someone who refuses to admit that she is distasteful and on top of it all you get the sense that there is a thinly veiled contempt for you that would explode if you were to publicly gag over the offering.