A few days ago on television, I asked why Senator Hillary Clinton would put herself through two years of personal attacks in her quest to be President. Is it ambition, a thirst for power, or a belief that she can help Americans in unique ways?
There is no question that Mrs. Clinton will be viciously attacked in every way imaginable. The stuff thrown at her will be malicious and unrelenting, designed to humiliate her and break her spirit. I said I felt sorry for the Senator, just as I feel sympathy for what President Bush is now going through.
Well, the mail poured in. Some of the letters vilified me for being “soft” on Hillary Clinton. There was more than a little hate contained in those missives, and I’m curious about it. What is it about Senator Clinton that causes so much animosity?
Statistically, about half the country doesn’t like Hillary Clinton. Both a Fox News poll and and ABC News/Washington Post poll say the same thing: 44% of Americans disapprove of Senator Clinton. That is a very strong negative for any politician, particularly one that wants to be President.
But, again, why? Why do so many folks despise this woman?
I put that question to my radio audience and the phone lines jammed up. From Alaska to Miami, the beefs rolled in. But in the end, they all fit into three separate categories.
First, many women don’t like Hillary because they believe she made a deal with her husband. That is, she’d stand by him and ignore his infidelities in return for his help in her political life. The ladies who called me did not like that alleged deal at all.
Second, many men objected to her leftist ideology. They see the Senator as a big government, limousine liberal who lives large herself, but wants to impose high taxation on those who are achieving in America.
And finally, some of the callers see Hillary as a cold, calculating woman with a sense of entitlement. There was anger that she rarely sits for tough interviews and speaks in generalities about important subjects like the war on terror.
On one level, I understand all of those opinions but they don’t rise, at least for me, to the hatred level. I reserve that territory for true villains like Saddam and Fidel Castro. But there is no question that hatred towards some American politicians like President Bush and Hillary Clinton is becoming an obsession for some people. An unhealthy obsession, in my opinion.
Much of this bitterness can be laid at the doorstep of an increasingly ideological and irresponsible mainstream media which reports rumor, propaganda, and outright slander on a regular basis. Talk radio also fuels resentments. So does the Internet and cable TV. Unfortunately, many people believe what they read and hear, especially if it fits their political disposition. Thus, it is easy to demonize people these days; it is easy to sell loathing.
This, of course, hurts America because many decent, brilliant people will not enter the brutal world of elective politics. For those who do, there will be pain. But to some, like Hillary Clinton, the sought-after gain is apparently worth it.