The Clinton Ick Factor


A reader writes:

In response to your reader's query about Hillary, I would advise that he read Maureen Dowd's interview with David Geffen, which encapsulates perfectly why so many people dislike the woman. I also think her pathetic response to the criticism is another illustration of her problems. As Nora Ephron wrote on Arianna's site:

"Here's what Hillary Clinton should have said in response to Geffen's remarks: 'I love David Geffen. He supported me in the past and I hope that after I win the Democratic nomination he will support me again.'"

But what she instead did was to issue a statement demanding that Barack Obama (whom Geffen supports) distance himself from Geffen's remarks. Then she sent her political adviser Howard Wolfson, who seems to have been groomed by the same people who restyled Chuck Shumer, onto Hardball. The Clinton campaign even suggested that Obama return the $1.3 million that Geffen and his partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg raised at a Hollywood fund-raiser this week. I love that suggestion. As far as I can tell, there is not a morsel of food that has crossed the Clintons' lips in the last twelve years that people have not paid $2300 a person to witness, and the only circumstance I can recall where they ever returned money was an instance where it could be traced to someone who was a distant cousin of a distant cousin of a person who might have been (but probably wasn't) a member of Al Qaeda."

The woman lacks grace. People can intuitively sense that she is a phoney. This is why she attracts such visceral dislike.

Another reader - a woman - adds:

I am a liberal New Yorker who voted for Bill twice for president and also voted for Hillary to be my Senator. And yet (and yet!) I find Hillary deeply unsuited to the rhetorical demands of a national campaign for president. When she tries to inspire large crowds with a high-energy stem-winding speech she comes across as hectoring. It is cringeworthy. There is a pitch and tone she reaches when she needs to raise her voice that is totally harsh and off-key. She is better in small venues talking face to face. But in the January snows of Iowa and New Hampshire where she will have to conjure huge crowds and deliver a level of energy she is unaccustomed to, Barack Obama and John Edwards will easily outperform her on stage. Do Democrats really want to go into the general election with the hectoring voice or with one of the inspiring voices?

And another:

She reflects the most cynical aspect of politics, politics stripped of even the hint of vision. She is the sum total of her calculations, and a prickly and defensive sum total at that. I don't doubt that she is competent in the narrowest sense of the word. But she isn't a leader. We are desperate in our need for leaders right now.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)