Thursday, August 24, 2017

When Hillary Choked

Just in case you were not sure why so many natural Clinton voters abandoned Hillary last year, the dowager duchess of Chappaqua, as she is often called, is about to drop a memoir explaining it all.

In a preview she shows us that she simply did not have the right stuff. Having spent a lifetime enabling a male sexual predator, she did not know what to do when she mindlessly ambled across the stage into Donald Trump’s territory.

One emphasizes that Hillary always says that Trump followed her around the stage, standing behind her, trying to throw her off her game. Last night I saw a clip of Hillary walking across the stage and standing in front of Trump. Perhaps on other occasions he seemed to be stalking her, but there is some ambiguity.

Hillary explained that she was thrown off her game when she heard that Trump was bragging about groping women. Actually, Trump was talking about women who allowed him to grope them. If consent matters—as it apparently never did to Hillary’s husband—the point needs emphasis.

At best, we must assume that Bill Clinton never groped Hillary. Perhaps that was part of their deal. She said:

Two days before [the debate], the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.

Hillary defined herself as a woman stalked, as a woman terrified, as a woman who froze. If we assume that Hillary had contracted a marital arrangement with Bill Clinton, if we understand that Hillary’s extremely thin accomplishments were magnified by her marriage, and if we understand that she made a Faustian bargain with her husband, we can also see that, standing on the stage with Donald Trump—a decidedly weak candidate— with her life on the line, Hillary choked.

Why so? Perhaps because she did not really earn her position. She inherited it by contracting a marriage that no one believes to have really been a marriage.

She described her trauma:

It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, well, what would you do? Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘back up you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’

I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off.

I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. 

I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.

We will not meditate on the implications of Hillary’s hard grip, but clearly the incident, and her analysis shows why she should never have become president. We also remark that while, presumably, she gripped the microphone extra hard—or was it the extra hard microphone—she dug her fingernails into her other hand, while biting her tongue. These images of pent up rage, directed against herself, give us a little pause. Someone should check out the video to see if she drew blood. Surely, she found no way to express herself at the time. And she is not doing much better now, even with the advantage of hindsight.

Of course, she tries to explain it away by implying that her gender identity was socially constructed… in order to make her more deferential. If all else fails blame the culture. 

She did not know what to do, so she wanted to ask “everyone else” what to do. I assume that, given her own weakness, she would have asked Bubba himself. Since her career was little more than an appendage of his, that would have been her usual M.O.

So, the ultimate in autonomous, independent feminists melts down when she is on her own and cannot ask a man what to do.

Now, upon retrospection, Hillary tells us that she should really have leaned in. She does not use the phrase, but telling a man to back off, calling him a creep… it all sounds like the playbook of leaning in.

Is she right? No, of course, she is not. In truth, most women are loath to get in a man’s face, because such posturing is dangerous. A woman should not run around threatening men, because she will be attacking someone who is considerably stronger than she is. Thus, if her choice is between leaning in and doing nothing, she will opt for the safest option. In a strange way, telling women to be tough and assertive and aggressive tends to make them weaker.

Hillary and the lean-in contingent does not understand that these are not the only two options. Several commentators have remarked on the comparison between Hillary’s handling the situation with the way George W. Bush dealt with the threatening and intimidating gestures of Al Gore during a presidential debate in 2000.

Clearly, Gore was trying to throw Bush off his game. All’s fair in presidential debates. He was hovering over Bush, far more obviously than Trump was toward Clinton. Bush did not fall silent. He did not become timid and timorous. He flicked his head, as though he was dismissing a pest. Bush found a third option, one that split the difference. Hillary was simply not up to that job. 

Heaven knows why, having lost to Donald Trump, of all people, Hilary wants to invite us to compare her unfavorably to George W. Bush. 


James said...

"My skin crawled." I had not realized that reptilian skin was that sensitive.
Extra scientific fact, thank you Stuart.

Sam L. said...

I think my skin would crawl if I were that close to Hillary.

Walt said...

I remember my observations when I watched the debate at the time.. Aside from the part where , yes, she walked in front of his lectern, it later appeared at first that he was dogging her closely across the stage but that was simply the effect of the camera angle which foreshortened the distance. When the camera took a wider angle of the same moments, it was clear he was at a distance. Some of the after-reporting, however, based on the first angles, reported that he dogged her. So clearly she decided to pick up on the reports rather than the reality, and pwrhaps even conveniently mis-remember the event. Like she mis-remembered landing in wherever it was under fire.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Always the victim. She needed to write another book to communicate that?

Sure to be a Pulitzer Prize winner.

I wonder how much she and Bill are charging to give speeches now.

Ares Olympus said...

Propublica has an interview from authors of "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign" with one story after being beat badly by Sanders and not understanding it.
The campaign was dysfunctional — tense from infighting over how resources were spent. The candidate herself couldn’t settle on a message for why she wanted to run, and argued with staff over whether she should apologize for her email server scandal. And even in the most pivotal days of her campaign, Clinton didn’t seem to understand the mood of the country.

“She’s partway through the primaries already and she’s saying, ‘I don’t understand what this populist uprising is,’” says Allen. He and Parnes were “dumbstruck” when sources first told them this, long before Election Day.

Yes, Trump understood the mood of the country, or at least part of it. People need scapegoats to feel better about themselves, and Trump provided them in spades. If you wanted to punch down, you support Trump. Sander's Punching-up populism might have beaten Trump, but who believed a Democratic Socialist could take on a Republican congress and do anything but flounder? Strangely Corporate Democrat Clinton might have actually worked better with congressional Republicans than Trump does, although we'd still be short one justice.

Sam L. said...

Yes, Ares, I suspect you're correct the the GOP congress-critters would have preferred Hillary. They certainly seem happy to be the third or fourth dog in the line, because they're not responsible for anything.