February 9, 2016: Yesterday
All across the landscape of New Hampshire one can see thousands of political yard signs and banners of nearly every candidate running for president. There is no shortage of political spirit here in “Live Free or Die” country. In fact, we pride ourselves on our enthusiastic political engagement and we consider this activity as an essential part of our civic duty. There is nothing quite like the political circus in New Hampshire every four years.
Hillary Clinton is once again attempting to woo voters to her side. She beat Barack Obama in the primary here in 2008, but that win was not enough to carry her to secure the Democratic nomination. If you recall, Mrs. Clinton played a very rough game of politics with Obama during that campaign. Now that Bernie Sanders is giving her a real run for her money, Clinton has once again taken the gloves off and has revved up the Clinton Political Machine. She has quickly reverted to dirty politics and going negative, yet, she continues to play the victim, and she is very good in that role. One wonders if the real Hillary Clinton has not been jaded by the constant attacks on her character and that of her husband. We could, after all, forgive her for feeling more than a bit bitter at the onslaught of these attacks, but ever the consummate professional, Hillary has always kept her chin up.
There is perhaps no other candidate as polished as Hillary Clinton. She is, above all, a professional politician. She talks a good talk and I am not sure how sincere she is. But her real problem, at least for me, and I suspect, for thousands of others, is likability. Hillary is just not a likable person. She comes off as brash and more than a bit entitled. Her husband’s recent comments about Bernie Sanders demonstrate more than a lack of civility, they demonstrate desperation. To make matters worse, Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright’s recent comments about female supporters of Sanders in hope of gathering the support badly needed by the Clinton campaign have backfired. Truthfully, Steinem and Albright’s comments should be thought of as anti-feminist. Why? Because voting for a woman just because she is a woman is not giving women the respect they so justly deserve. As the father of a daughter, I long to see a woman president, (almost as much as I long to see a Native American candidate) but Hillary, and the Hillary-fatigue I am suffering from, gives me serious pause when it comes to casting my vote for her. There is also the ongoing FBI investigation into her personal email account when she served as Secretary of State. Then there are the speeches she gave to certain Wall Street organizations. Sanders is quite right to bring this up, and I think of it as fair game. What did she talk about to all those big wigs on Wall Street? Please Hillary, release the transcripts to those speeches so we can all move on.
The Clinton campaign machine is on the verge of irrelevancy. New Hampshire’s cooling toward her epitomizes the general lukewarm sentiment toward Hillary and her brand of professional politics. As more and more younger voters continue to come out and work on campaigns, more seasoned politicians, like Hillary Clinton, will be left on the side of the political road. The political landscape is changing, and the time is coming when voters will no longer accept a candidate who bullies his or her way to the nomination. I do see Hillary as a bully, and the fact that she is a woman is actually the best compliment I can pay to feminists: she (Hillary) is able to run with the big kids and hold her own.
Hillary’s defeat in the New Hampshire Primary by over 20 points is telling. It wasn’t just young people who came out in droves to vote for Bernie, it was hoards of young women. Perhaps Hillary’s problem is not so much a gender problem as it is a generational one. But then, if that’s true, how do we explain Bernie’s unprecedented win at the age of 74? I suspect that the nation is tired of the Clintons and the Bush family, and with good reason. We are no longer living in the same world that had Bill Clinton as president of the United States. If we are honest, it’s no longer the same world when Obama took office for the first time eight years ago. There is something self-serving and tired about Hillary’s (and Trump’s) overuse of the personal pronoun, while Bernie places himself firmly in the “we.” Bernie’s message is and has been that we are all in this together.
All of this does not mean that Hillary is the worst choice to serve as Commander in Chief. In fact, if she is the nominee I will most likely end up supporting her. After all, who else would I vote for? Donald Trump, or worse, Ted Cruz?