THE OVERLY EMOTIONAL ROBOT
It's news to me that everyone in America is struggling to understand why Hillary Clinton is thinking about running for president, but Dick Meyer of CBS News assures us it's so, and Meyer -- who can occasionally be mistaken for a liberal under a dim light -- concludes (naturally) that this is yet another reason she can't possibly become president:
Sen. Clinton's psychological quest is just too obvious and determinative for most us. What exactly drives her we cannot know, which itself is frustrating. Is it redemption? Or resurrection? Would being leader of the free world erase the public indignities she suffered due to her husband? Does she have a messianic thing going on? Did she ever have a desire to completely escape public scrutiny and dissection altogether?
I'm agnostic on these therapeutic queries. But the sense people have that Sen. Clinton's drive is overly determined by her emotional issues is, I suggest, fatal. This is not sexist. Al Gore has a similar problem. Richard Nixon had that problem; he didn't solve it -- but George Wallace solved it for him. There is a balance between ambition, drive, earned confidence and reluctance that voters are comfortable with. For many voters, Sen. Clinton doesn't have that balance.
Sen. Clinton is also emotionally inscrutable. That adds a layer to the question of "what makes her tick?" that is very uncomfortable. In public, she's a robot. No compelling and satisfying account of her private side exists. In every election since 1972, the presidential candidate who gave the appearance of being the most emotionally available won. Sen. Clinton will never be that candidate.
He's right about "emotionally available" candidates winning since Nixon resigned, but the rest is utter hooey.
Do you find Hillary's motives puzzling? I don't -- Pataki's, definitely, but not Hillary's. She's running because she's smart, she's led a political life, and she has a large political base of support that, it's not unreasonable to assume, could get her elected. And she's running because she wants the freakin' job, just like a lot of other people.
"Redemption"? Did anyone ask whether Liddy Dole set out to run for president seeking "redemption"? Did anyone put her on the couch that way?
"A messianic thing"? Why are we asking this about her and not, well, everybody who runs for president? (I mention no names.)
"Did she ever have a desire to completely escape public scrutiny and dissection altogether?" Well, no -- and clearly, neither did any other graybeard who's stayed in Congress for forty years or shuttled in and out of a combination of appointed and elected government positions for decades. Why not ask that question about soap-opera-divorce veterans Giuliani and Gingrich? Or John "Keating Five" McCain?
But I think my favorite line is:
There is a balance between ambition, drive, earned confidence and reluctance that voters are comfortable with.
Yeah, that's so true -- especially the "earned confdidence" part. We really placed a premium on that in 2000 and 2004, didn't we?