Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Oh, dear -- phony psychoanalysis of the Clintons is back, as practiced (without a license) by alleged centrist pundits, many of the employed by the Washington Post Company. This time around, it's Evan Thomas in Newsweek:

It is clear ... that anyone who thinks he's voting just for Hillary on Election Day is naive. The Clintons are a political package, a two-for-one bargain, a duo inextricably intertwined.... they are also an unhappily married couple whose relationship would inevitably affect Hillary's judgment and actions. Bill will insist that he will be hands-off, but everything we know about him suggests that he will be meddling at every turn. He loves politics and being the center of attention too much. He will be America's first unelected vice president, also its first unconfirmed secretary of state, unconfirmed secretary of the treasury, etc.

Good grief. Where to begin?

Well let's start slowly, with "anyone who thinks he's voting just for Hillary on Election Day is naive." That's actually true -- and no one in the general public is that naive. Ordinary people know Bill's part of the package. Only journalists seem to find that notion terrifying. Ordinary people think Clinton was a good president.

And did you know that powerful people have advisors and confidants? I knew that, and I think most ordinary people know that -- Poppy Bush had James Baker, Dubya has Condi and now Cheney, etc., etc. But Evan Thomas apparently thinks it's terrifying that Hillary has an advisor/confidant, namely Bill. In fact, the notion so rattles him that he can't decide whether they work in sync ("a duo inextricably intertwined") or he butts in where he's not welcome ("he will be meddling at every turn"). So which is it, Evan? Never mind -- Evan's too terrified to find out.

And may I be a know-it-all for a second? We've actually had two unelected vice presidents -- Gerald Ford (after Spiro Agnew's resignation), then Nelson Rockefeller (when Ford became president), both appointed under the provisions of the 25th Amendment. (And anyone who thinks we haven't ever had an unelected de facto secretary of state doesn't remember Henry Kissinger's time as Nixon's national security advisor.)

Now let's back up a bit.

The problem isn't just that Bill and Hill work together -- it's that Hillary's such a delicate flower that she can't think straight because her two-timing man's made her half-crazy! ("[T]hey are also an unhappily married couple whose relationship would inevitably affect Hillary's judgment and actions.") Dames are like that, you know -- ruled by their emotions.

But unlike most dames, Hillary turns into -- well, you know, and it rhymes with "witch":

... The stress of not being able to trust the man she loves has had a strong negative effect on Hillary. It has made her harder, harsher, more brittle, and secretive herself.

See, a normal woman is nice all the time. Men can be harsh and brittle and that's OK -- but a woman? She can't just normally have any sharp edges to her personality. If a woman's not nice all the time, she must be messed up in the head, and it must be the result of man trouble. (It doesn't take much to derange a woman, of course -- just cheat on her a few times and she'll be virtually incapable of functioning.)

Now Mr. Thomas digresses:

Senator Clinton has had the good luck to have Barack Obama as her foil for the last nine months. She has been able to look steady, experienced, in control. Obama, by contrast, has seemed soft and, at times, weak or naive. He is, next to Clinton, the "Obambi" of unkind caricature.

Not so unkind that Thomas won't remind you of it, of course.

She is the one tough enough to be president -- tough enough to overcome the Democrats' long-standing liability (at least among some voters) of appearing to be the Mommy Party to the GOP's Daddy Party.

Yes, that's a liability "among some voters." Not Evan Thomas, of course. Which doesn't mean he won't invoke that idea as well.

But her real relationship is with her true partner, her husband. Next to him she seems less impressive -- less warm and captivating than he is, for sure, but also a person whose fierceness betrays an inner hurt. Despite her recent attempts to laugh a lot, she often seems tense and somewhat hostile. The fact that at some level she is mad at her husband and wounded by him -- and that she knows he might at any moment get her caught up in some kind of tawdry replay of Monicagate -- is inescapable.

You see, all women really care about is love. They may go to work, accomplish significant things, develop real mastery of complicated matters -- but they all need a man, dammit. And if a man hurts them, they can never, ever get over it.

So I guess we'd better vote for somebody who won't endanger the Republic by getting all emotional in the Oval Office. Somebody like, y'know, Rudy Giuliani.

(That's a joke -- but if we go through twelve more months of "journalism" like this, I'm afraid it's going to seem sensible to a lot of voters.)

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