On Liking the Unlikeable Hillary Clinton
Melissa McEwan

Ok, but, so what? Honestly, the idea that a person can’t both be likeable, and corrupt, is a little silly. Every confidence man, or woman, established that confidence by being likeable first, before they stole your money. The rakish rogue is such a stereotype character as to be hackneyed.

I don’t like Hillary, but it has nothing to do with her personality. I don’t know her. But I don’t like her, because based on her biography, based on her perceived potential, she is a big disappointment.

Hillary isn’t just smart. She’s brilliant. She’s diligent — a detail oriented over achiever her entire life. She doesn’t just understand the issues, she studies them. She knows them forward and backward. She seeks out expert opinion, and reads so much about the topic at hand, regularly impresses with her grasp of the issue. She’s bigger than life. She has the potential to be a world changer.

But with all that, she regularly finds herself on the wrong side of history. She knew, long before she articulated it, that LBGT equality was the right moral policy. She’s known for years that climate change is the existential threat of our time. She knew that the underlying problem in inner cities wasn’t a lack of police, but a lack of opportunity. But she advocated DADT and DOMA anyway. She promoted fracking and the use of fossil fuels. And she despicably stumped for the crime bill by invoking the image of young black men as animals. She knew these positions were morally wrong and took them anyway. She knew what was right, and made the conscious choice to do the wrong thing.

And the reason was ambition. She wanted to be President, so it wasn’t enough to know what was right. She needed to advocate what was popular. And that’s the rap in Hillary in a nutshell. She fights her own liberal instincts in order to fashion a policy platform that will appeal to the majority at the moment. She opinion polls her own ethical choices. And this then puts her in a bind, because popularity is fleeting, and what was popular yesterday, like discriminating against the LBGT community, becomes today’s Neanderthal bigotry. What was yesterday’s sober common sense, becomes today’s reckless irresponsibility.

It’s the shape shifting basic moral principles that are disappointing. And I know it isn’t because she doesn’t have a core. It’s because she lets her strategic brain override her basic moral principles in order to appear in the majority at the given moment in time. She creates a persona of someone less enlightened than she really is.

And that works for a little while. Someone who comes out of nowhere, like Obama, might get away with it. But we’ve known her for a generation. We know she’s in favor of single payer — Christ, she wrote a bill based on it. So, when she throws cold water all over it — a policy near and dear to the base — we need to figure out why? Is she already playing to the general election audience at that point, or has the amount of cash provided by insurance and pharmaceutical companies caused yet another strategic shift in policy?

I don’t know her. I dont know who she is. She’s been in my life, as a Democratic voter, for 30 years, and I still don’t know what she’s going to support from one day to the next. And I don’t think its because she’s an unmoored relativist, really. I think it is because she has such a singular ambition for the Presidency, that she has effectively become one, by trying to appeal to too many people for too long.

It’s all just very disappointing. She could have been great. An icon. A giant. If she just maintained her own moral compass, the public would have eventually caught up to her, and realized she was there all along.

Sadly, she chose to chase the dream by being inauthentic. It oozes out of her. You can see her fighting her better angels in every debate. She doesn’t believe what she’s saying when she slanders progressive goals. But slander them she does.

I like authenticity, and I bet I’d like the real Hillary. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen her.

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