THE MIRACLE WORKER

It is not a secret that I've never cared much for Hillary Clinton. Personally, I find it difficult to get very enthusiastic about anyone in the "New Democrat / New Labour" (Bill) Clinton / Blair mode of the 1990s. It's obvious that they're willing to embrace neoliberalism if doing so helps them maintain a grip on power and some other part of their agenda deemed more important and worthy of sacrificing another part. The constant unwillingness to state a firm position until there is certainty that a sufficient majority of the public will express support for it irritates me to no end.

As for Hillary herself, she always struck me as highly driven, intelligent, and competent. She strikes me equally as someone for whom the aspect of politics that involves projecting personality and warmth do not come naturally. She does it, but she does it in a way that makes it easy to imagine highly priced consultants instructing her on how to do it while practicing before a triptych of mirrors. It's the difference between someone who smiles a lot and John McCain in 2008 after his advisers told him he needs to smile a lot. If you force it, it's gonna look worse than not doing it at all.

That said, I also consider "personality" a wildly overrated measure of candidates. We're not electing a mommy, a drinking buddy, or someone to sit shotgun on a coast-to-coast drive in a cramped car. I want intelligence and judgment in a candidate. It matters very little that Al Gore seems like he would be boring as hell to be around, and it matters a great deal that he probably wouldn't have started a war with Iraq just for shits and giggles on the deluded premise that it would only take a couple of weeks.

But for many, possibly most, voters personality is important. They will not learn enough about the candidates or issues in most cases to make a fully informed judgment, so being able to radiate that "You can trust me, you'd like me if you knew me" vibe is important – for Hillary Clinton and for everyone else. And for her 25 years on the national stage, Hillary Clinton has struggled mightily to generate that kind of feeling. We could talk endlessly about reasons why, particularly the impossible position women are in when trying to tread the line between Too Nice (which makes her ditzy and a lightweight) or Too Serious (which makes her a Bitch). For the present purposes it's sufficient to say that for whatever reason, Hillary Clinton has and always has had very high negatives and one of her most commonly cited vulnerabilities is the difficulty people have warming up to her. More charitable commentators describe her as "robotic" or "seemingly insincere." Less charitable ones print her name on t-shirts prominently featuring the word "bitch" or worse.

On Monday night, Donald Trump did what 25 years of effort on her part, on the part of her numerous advisers and paid staffers, and nine figures worth of advertising over the course of multiple campaigns could never do: he made Hillary Clinton look really human. A sympathetic figure, even if only for a few moments. He solved her most persistent weakness for her, and he did so because he is stupid and he doesn't think about anything he does before, while, or after he does it.

With even the smallest amount of pre-debate planning or forethought Trump would have realized that his "bully" routine was likely to play very poorly in this format to anyone who is not already a die-hard supporter. While Trump Nation would slap its diabetic hands together in glee at the spectacle – "Haw haw! You tell that stupid bitch! Me like big man!" – to everyone else it would look like a half-drunk CEO who calls all the female employees "sweetheart" berating, belittling, and talking over a woman vastly superior to him in experience (even if "bad experience"), intellect, and dignity. Would he have talked to a man the same way? Absolutely. We've seen him do it. But it wouldn't have looked nearly as bad. Her strategic choice to decline to respond to his behavior in kind required either the patience of sainthood or a Xanax scrip.

While most viewers tapped out of that shitshow within the first 45 minutes, I watched it start to finish. And in the last half hour, when Trump really went off the rails even by his standards, I felt something I had never imagined in a million years I would feel: I felt bad for Hillary Clinton. I felt tremendous sympathy for this successful, intelligent woman for whom I have refused to vote in two different elections as she had to stand there and put up with This Shit. I, and I suspect many viewers, felt empathy too – who among us, even men, has not been in the position of having to stand there while some asshole authority figure has talked over us, interrupted us, and generally treated us as something he finds stuck to his shoe after a stroll through the yard. Women probably felt that empathy even more keenly, having been talked over and disregarded by Big Men far more regularly than men experience it. I've never "liked" Hillary Clinton in that way before, and frankly making that happen is a feat of political wizardry on par with convincing America that former Andover and Yale cheerleader George W. Bush was a cowboy with a southern drawl. Trump did what consultants have spent careers trying to do without success; he made Hillary Clinton human and likable.

Hillary is someone who has, to my standards, led a very successful life. I don't pity her, even when people tear her to shreds. I'd give an arm and a leg to have any of the things she has and has had in her career. And somehow on that stage Monday evening, I looked at this multimillionaire, "one percenter" power broker, a member of the American oligarchy if ever there was one, and I felt as bad for her as I would for a nerdy kid getting picked on at the playground. Real, genuine sympathy and empathy. I cannot believe this woman has to put up with this shit, I thought, over and over. This is not fair, I said aloud in an empty apartment. She does not deserve this, because nobody deserves this, to stand there and have this adenoidal ass-clown con man, this ape in a suit, fling feces at her while she has to stand there and take it.

The unusual circumstances of this election – namely the specter of that same ape being the president, led me to conclude months ago that I would vote for Hillary Clinton despite the laundry list of doubts I have about her political positions and track record. There is good, there is bad, and there is unacceptable. When one candidate is unacceptable, you recognize the limited choices made available by the rules of our system, you recognize that life is rarely about getting what we want, and you vote for Not Unacceptable. For at least a few minutes on Monday night, though, I felt like I wanted to vote for her, not because of anything she says or believes but for the sheer disgust I felt at watching the way she was spoken to and treated. That, more than anything else, makes Donald Trump a virtual political miracle worker. He did for her what all the commercials and appearances on talk shows in the world never did. Good work, genius.

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80 Responses to “THE MIRACLE WORKER”

  1. terraformer Says:

    Right there with you, Ed. I'm not particularly a fan of Hillary, but I do remember the 90s when the flying monkeys went all in after her when she had the temerity to take on the healthcare industry, and when she followed that with the "vast right-wing conspiracy" comment – for which as well all know, she was pilloried, despite being largely correct given what has happened since.

    But as I sat there watching, I knew, as you wrote, that those who are in the tank for Trump, like my truck-driving, right-wing radio captive listening, prejudiced, racist brother, thought he did a fantastic job against That Bitch. Those people cannot be reached, and are an extension of (for those relatively new to politics) or a continuation of (for those who thought Iraq was completely on the level) the "I'm not interested in your liberal facts" crowd. Those people will not be reached, ever.

    It's so rare to vote "for" someone rather than "against" someone; I can count on maybe three fingers the number of times that's happened in my life, but in this case, Trump is a true danger. There is no question who is qualified and who is not, and that's what it comes down to this election.

  2. mm Says:

    You never get everything that you want in a candidate for office, but one is always better than the other.

    A landslide isn't going to help her unless we can get flip the Congress to Democratic control with enough senators to stop this 60 vote barrier on everything. Maybe we can get the news media to go back to saying that a majority vote passes the bill instead of normalizing the filibuster.

    A Democratic controlled Congress will give her a better chance of getting her agenda passed. Yes I know it's hard to herd cats, but the Democrats, if they have any sense, have to unite.

    And how about some work on flipping state legislatures so that we can un-gerrymander the congressional districts after the next census.

  3. Ray Dio Says:

    I just can't vote for Hilary. It'd be like Obama getting a third term- just a continuation of terrible policies/choices already in place. Same empty rhetoric that goes nowhere for 99% of the population.

    As for Trump, he has no business being president. None. It's a grotesque state of affairs when these are the two choices we're forced to choose from.

  4. John Danley Says:

    And to think that he was actually "holding back." He didn't get to say what was really on his tardigrade mind, because, you know, they would have squandered it.

  5. Emerson Dameron Says:

    One of the things I deeply respect about Clinton is her ability to stand up to assholes in a way that Jeb! and Little Marco simply didn't prepare for. It didn't help much against Obama and Sanders, who both seem like dignified, sincere people. But it's perfect for this. This really is the ultimate referendum on bullying.

  6. Romanian Visitor Says:

    Slow clap.

    Slow fucking clap.

  7. steve Says:

    Then, Ray, you're irrelevant, and nobody cares what you think.

  8. Madmax Says:

    Ray:

    If you are in a solid blue or red state, your unwillingness to vote for Clinton makes little difference. Just make sure to show up for the down-ballot races, and write-in Eugene Debbs for president if it makes you feel better.

    If you are in a swing state, and you don't vote for Clinton, then you're helping the Angry Cheeto get into the Oval Office. And then we'll all get to see what "empty rhetoric that goes nowhere for 99% of the population" REALLY looks like.

  9. J. Dryden Says:

    There's a moment in BLADE II where Ron Perlman's racist semi-villain taunts Wesley Snipes's Blade with (surprisingly) racist smack talk. Snipes's response is a smile and a "Whew" and a little mocking shiver at how "big" and "bad" Perlman is. It's a devastating moment of deflation, and the best moment in a pretty good movie.

    When Hillary took Trump's toxic bombast for a very long time and then, in the pause that followed, gave a little "Whew" and shimmy, I saw, for one of the only times in my experience of her, a real person–and one I liked very much. "She was Wesley Snipes!" I said to someone who was immediately very confused. Her best moment in the debate, in my opinion.

    I don't think she can do that very often–break out the human being inside the cybertronic exoskeleton, but dammit if it wasn't a moment above and beyond anything Bush and Christie and Rubio could do–and she could do it because of what you said, Ed–years of fucking practice and the ability to come through to the far side of it with a goddamned sense of humor about masculine bigotry. Because if you can't laugh at Trump–well, it's just madness, otherwise.

  10. Jonas Says:

    I agree with some of this, but Hillary gets an unfair rap about the 'New Democrat' thing. She actually has a record from her days in the Senate, and according to DW Nominate she was the 11th most liberal Senator in each of the four sessions of Congress in which she served. Left of Obama, Left of Kerry. Sure not as liberal as Bernie-#1 most liberal in each of those, but still to the left of the median Democrat.

  11. Jenn Says:

    Attention Third Party Voters:

    The grown ups do not give a shit who you are going to vote for, anymore. You have all proven that you are short sighted, petulant children who care more about being able to say "but it's my voting riiiiiiiight!" than you do about actually making the best choice for this country. You understand that it's going to be Trump or Clinton, right? Not Stein, not Johnson. If you want to affect change, support third party candidates at the local and state level, not just during presidential elections. THAT is how change begins. My guess is that for all of the belly aching they've done about NOT voting for Clinton or Trump, they've done little to support or educate others about local 3rd party candidates. Jesus. Do any of you listen?

    Go sit at the kids table, the adults are talking.

  12. Marc Marton Says:

    One thing we tend to overlook is that Hillary is an attorney. Being under siege for so many years, she's been in a siege mentality for that length of time. And, rightly or wrongly, a public personality's private life is no longer theirs, a point she's not been willing to accept. So, as an attorney, she's only said as much as necessary and not as much as the public wants. Because of this, much of the electorate labels her as untrustworthy.

  13. Katydid Says:

    There is an episode of The Simpsons where doofus dad Homer finds out he has a half-brother, who just happens to be the owner of a wildly successful car company. Homer begs to be allowed to design a car and his brother lets him despite the fact it's obvious to everyone that Homer has no idea what he's doing. When Homer's design inevitably fails, the brothers talk about it and Homer tries to bluff about his expertise by citing the "rack-and-peanut steering". The brother counters with, "You don't even know what that is–you just called it "rack and peanut steering" instead of "rack and pinion steering"."

    As a woman in a traditionally male-heavy tech field, I deal with this all the time in the role of the brother; some doofus is allowed to come in and make an utter hash of things. However, as a woman, I have to be extremely careful not to damage the ego of the fragile doofus by pointing out the obvious errors. And dog forbid I show any sort of frustration or disapproval or unhappiness on my face–that's being "over-emotional".

    This is the exact position Hillary Clinton has been in her entire adult life. I expect the cries of "she's a robot!" would turn to, "she's hysterical!" in a heartbeat if she showed any emotion that a male colleague would be lauded for.

  14. Mild Mannered Secretary Says:

    This is the probably my favorite entry you've ever written.

  15. Talisker Says:

    Gore was pretty funny in his appearances on Futurama.

    Blair, ironically enough, was undone by the one decision he made by his own judgment, without much reason to think it would be popular in the UK: Backing Bush's invasion of Iraq. It was wrong and stupid, but to this day Blair seems to genuinely believe he did the right thing.

    Otherwise, hell yeah to everything Ed wrote.

  16. old white person Says:

    "I'd give an arm and a leg to have any of the things she has and has had in her career."

    Yeah, we all want a special prosecutor to spend $40 million and upwards of 8 years investigating everything we've done in our life, plus a "news" media who criticizes us every time we change our hairstyle. And the women among us would love to be blamed for everything, private and political, that our husbands have been involved in. She's had it dead easy.

  17. Jim (not that one) Says:

    You're not alone, Ed. I suspect a lot of people watched that and went, "What the fuck?" It was fun to see Trump shit all over weasels like Rubio, Cruz and the rest, but for folks who don't follow politics closely the depth of his douchebaggery went unplumbed. This, though, was the drunk puking in your lap at your kid's wedding. Sure, everybody knew Uncle Donnie liked his cocktails, but now they can see what a vile pile of crap he is. And yeah, they even feel sorry for you.

  18. NC_Nate Says:

    Ray Dio sez – "Same empty rhetoric that goes nowhere for 99% of the population."

    I would wager you're much closer to the top 10% of that crowd than the bottom if you honestly believe that the Obama years have been nothing but empty rhetoric.

  19. TAGinMO Says:

    I basically got to where Ed is now about halfway through the Democratic primaries.

    I had always been somewhat tepid about Hillary but took the position in 2008 that we had two good candidates and, although I preferred Obama, I'd have no qualms about pulling the lever for her in the general if she won the nomination.

    Then I watched the Bernie Or Busters savage Hillary with attacks indistinguishable from those that have emanated from the right-wing puke-funnel for the past 25 years, after it became clear she would be the nominee. That's what turned me from a "Yeah, sure, I guess" Hillary supporter to someone who felt deeply invested in–almost protective of–this extremely wealthy, powerful woman.

    Obviously, I'm not saying that Hillary is perfect or doesn't deserve scrutiny. But NO ONE deserves to be subjected to the degree of This Shit that this bright, capable woman has had hurled at her–from the right, the left, the media, you name it–since she first emerged on the national political scene.

    It would be a true shame if this long game is ultimately a "success," resulting in the Vulgar Talking Yam's (h/t Charlie Pierce) election to the highest office in the land.

  20. fastEddie Says:

    Bill and Hillary are masters at staking out a position that is fully representative of the leftmost 51%. When the makeup of that 51% moves left or right, they will move with it. In 2008, 51% of America was not ready for gay marriage, so they came out for civil unions. In this way they are perfect players of the game of REPRESENTATIVE democracy – they represent. There is no point in representing the leftmost 30% or even 48% – because you will LOSE and achieve nothing. So I don't think it is fair to say that they truly endorse the neoliberalism – it's really just that that was where the 51% mark fell in 1992. Politics is the art of the possible after all – and the possible is pretty much whatever 51% wants.

  21. J.D. Says:

    It's good that we have people like terraformer's "truck-driving, right-wing radio captive listening, prejudiced, racist brother" around. Trump has proven again and again that he mostly wants to listen to the people who tell him how great he is, and has no willingness to listen to criticism or learn about reality. So those mouthbreathers will keep him on his track of insanity, and he won't find out until the wee hours of November 8 that most of the country actually finds him rather repulsive.

  22. Ringleader Says:

    I think that Hillary learned from the primaries the lesson that none of Trump's GOP rivals did – never wrestle with a pig, you both end up covered in mud and the pig likes it. I also agree that, except for Trump diehards, it was clear to most people watching that, whether you truly "like" Hillary or not, she's prepared and qualified to do the job of President and Trump is not.

    Katydid – just have to say that I loved your, "For the love of dog," and I use that saying all the time too (even though I have cats, not dogs! LOL). Well done!

  23. Well ,... mostly Says:

    I don't know anyone, thankfully, whom I think little enough of to subject to 90 minutes of standing that close to a category 5 ego hurricane. Having to listen closely enough to respond through the bizarre thinking and speaking style he has – that alone would kill all but the largest land mammals. Kudos to her for doing it and getting out of bed the next day.
    Humanity – warmth? It's there to find if one cares to look for it. I do and have. Then again, I found it in Nixon, a real strange duck. So there's that.

  24. scott Says:

    "It'd be like Obama getting a third term"

    In other words, fucking awesome?

  25. Jestbill Says:

    @fastEddie FTW.

  26. old white person Says:

    As to personal warmth: I don't know where I heard/read it (maybe here?), Clinton's strongest supporters are those who have worked for her; Trump's strongest enemies are those who have worked for him. Just sayin'

  27. Spiffy McBang Says:

    I'm fine with Hillary for president, but if we could get a third term of the IDGAF Obama we've had the last year-plus, I'd be all for rewriting the term limits.

  28. land_planarian Says:

    I'm still not a fan of many of Clinton's policies, but after watching that disaster, I do feel like she could negotiate with literally anyone about literally anything and never crack. I can picture her shrugging past intentional diplomatic tantrums thrown to create a pretext to break off peace talks. I'd trust her to negotiate the hostage release of her own grandma.

    I've been a little eye-roll-y at the various memes asserting the patience and self-control she showed is just what literally every woman has learned to do to survive in a sexist society. To some degree, yes, but that seems to shortchange how very well she did it, and the ways in which that kind of emotional self-control are an actual job qualification for the presidency.

  29. jeneria Says:

    And if she'd told him to shut up and let her finish, the way a man would have told him, she'd been crucified as a stone cold bitch. Not only were American politics on display, but also the hypocrisy of gender politics. She had to sit there and smile and take it because had she stood up for herself, she would have lost the debate at that moment.

  30. Scout Says:

    I was a Mama for Obama and a Berner, but now I am ALL IN for Hillary. The convention was a big eye opener for me when I learned how public service oriented her entire life has been. That people who know her and work with her love her. That people who ask her for help get it, and that she follows up later. And now, watching her handle that gross, anus mouthed, orange hellbeast with aplomb? I am voting for her with unmitigated enthusiasm.

  31. JeffK Says:

    Too much emphasis on the quarterback and none for the unknown offensive line. Clinton's effectiveness will depend on her cabinet picks. People say that if the third party candidates had not stolen votes from Gore that we wouldn't have had the Iraq fiasco. I think that if Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Talent were not W's picks that we may not have had the Iraq fiasco. I think Clinton has the right stuff…but not all of the stuff. The quarterback is not the team. We'll see.

  32. Dr. Mac Says:

    "For the present purposes it's sufficient to say that for whatever reason, Hillary Clinton has and always has had very high negatives and"…..

    For the record, they vary greatly according to Pew Research Center:
    http://www.people-press.org/2015/05/19/hillary-clinton-approval-timeline/

    I'm sure that there are several dissertations imbedded in these numbers. Anyone in the national spotlight for 25 years would experience the same, especially if their opponents revel in fantasy.

  33. Nate Says:

    I was for Bernie all through the primaries and i really like his policies better than Hillary's, but after she won the nomination, she totally has my vote. None of the occupants of that clown-dumpster car on fire would be even close to as good as her at president. The pseudo-fascist circus peanut con man included. Last night just showed everyone what a disrespectful, uninformed, and bullying jerkwad he is.

  34. JustRuss Says:

    @Scout: : "That people who know her and work with her love her."

    This. No, Hilary can't work a crowd like Bill can, but should that really matter? We all know decent, competent, even brilliant people who don't have the ability to light up a stage. Doesn't mean they can't do great work. I'm tired of the "I just don't like her" crap. Everyone who's worked with her has nothing but good to say about her, that counts for a lot.

  35. Katydid Says:

    FWIW, my non-USAian customers have all had great things to say about Hillary Clinton. They also loved Bill Clinton. Several of them are quite concerned that the Angry Cheeto might get elected because they all believe he'll start WWIII.

  36. Lyn Says:

    I've liked Hillary politically ever since she tried to get health care passed when Bill was President and voted for her in the primary against Obama even, but I couldn't ever listen much to the political messages she put out, as they seemed stereotypical and somehow way under her (and my) intelligence. (I did understand that as a woman she couldn't seem too intelligent in our society, as that can be seen as intimidating by a lot of the population, so my support didn't waver).

    In this debate, I enjoyed listening to her and watching her while Trump was interrupting, denigrating, and trying to take over. I saw her keen intelligence calculating exactly what to say and do as she listened, and choosing from many response options in her head. I saw a Hillary I not only liked, but one I have an enormous amount of respect for. We will be very lucky to have someone of her caliber as President.

  37. Sharkbabe Says:

    I’ve gone from Bernie sis, to resigning myself to Clinton, to finally admiring and digging the hell out of her, warts and all. That debate performance was a fucking master class in the art of totally depantsing a dangerous charlatan without even breaking a sweat. I think she’ll make a great president.

  38. c u n d gulag Says:

    Go ahead and vote 3rd party, you petulant children.

    But that vote you cast, might turn into a mushroom cloud for all of us.

    And if t-RUMP wins, and doesn't – miraculously – end human civilization and millions of other life form on this planet, do you ghink he will do any work?

    Hell NO!
    he'll hand off running the government to Mikev"The Dense" Pence, "Turtleman" McConnell, and, "Privatizing" Ryan!

    If you're a woman, LGBT, a senior, a minority, a parent, a non-"Christian," a student, disabled, a veteran, and/or an active member of the military, you might want to look at the conservative agenda!
    Guess what?
    You ain't on it – except to make life as difficult and horrible as they can!

    And ifvyou look at Nixon's, Reagan's, "Papa Doc" Bush's, and "Baby Doc" Bush's records, believe me the CAN and WANT to do just that! .

  39. April Says:

    @ John Danley TARDIGRADE LIBEL! They are adorable! How about coked-up slug instead?

  40. BruceJ Says:

    Her strategic choice to decline to respond to his behavior in kind required either the patience of sainthood or a Xanax scrip.

    Try: "putting up with 25 years of this fucking bullshit without resorting to bloodshed." Remember Cookiegate? http://time.com/4054623/clinton-dunham-tea-cookies/

  41. Katydid Says:

    @BruceJ: There was cookiegate and pantsgate (she wore pants sometimes! Fetch my fainting couch and my pearls to clutch!) and haircut gate (zomg, the first woman to ever try different hairstyles!), and don't forget she went to college (conservatives are terrified of educated women) and could talk about things other than decorating the White House and shopping. Simply, there was no pleasing her critics. So she stopped trying.

  42. Major Kong Says:

    She has shown the ability to keep her cool under challenging circumstance. That's good enough for me.

  43. lizzie Says:

    I've read and heard so many people talk about how they just do not like Hillary Clinton, so I realize there must be something to it. But I have to confess I just can't relate. I've always thought she was an admirable person, and the more I've learned about her, the more my admiration increases.

    I'm also in a mood these days to cherish women of that generation, the same as my mom's, whom I lost last year. Outspoken, accomplished, ubercompetent older women who are unfazed by bullshit now feel like a precious resource to me, a middle-aged woman and mom of two daughters. I'm thrilled to vote for a woman like that, and for my older daughter to get to vote for a woman like that in her first election.

    I'm surprised at how much it means to me to vote for a woman for president, and I've heard a lot of women say the same thing. So if it makes you feel any better about casting your vote, you're helping a lot of middle aged ladies achieve a dream they didn't know they had.

  44. Zak44 Says:

    The great TBogg had the last word on third-party voters in this missive he addressed to Naderites in 2008:

    YOUR MUMIA SWEATSHIRT WON’T GET YOU INTO HEAVEN ANYMORE

    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes.

    They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

    You don’t live there.

    Grow the fuck up.

  45. Bawdy Woman Says:

    Just what lizzie said. I'm am thrilled that I'll probably have a chance to have a Madame President.

    I have always liked Hillary a lot. Yes, she's reserved, guarded. After 30+ years of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy raking her over the coals and making up copious lies about her, she'd have to be mentally ill to NOT be reserved and guarded. I know if I'd been treated that way I'd be a paranoid wreck hiding in my closet. I am in awe of how smart she is and one of the toughest people I'm aware of.

    GO HILLARY!!!!

  46. wetcasements Says:

    I'm fine with criticizing Hillary but ffs, the election is 40 days away. We are facing the possibility of a) literal fascism and / or b) a potential World War III.

    Make sure you're registered to vote. Make sure your friends and family are registered to vote. Donate and volunteer if you can.

    My thinking (hope?) is that HRC's ground game, inherited from Obama, is going to do the job. A lot of the yahoo's showing up for Trump rallies may or may not actually be registered to vote.

    At this point, it's all about getting bodies to the polls. Seriously, that's all that matters and if you're _still_ trying to win internet points by letting us know how awesome Jill Stein is then kindly go fuck yourself forever.

  47. mago Says:

    Appearance is everything to the ignorant.

  48. JDM Says:

    Too bad Hillary Clinton isn't the type of woman who would be named by respondents as the most admired woman in the USA. Oh wait, she is, for 20 years now.

  49. HoosierPoli Says:

    Hillary's first rally after the debate, when she actually had the opportunity to revel in clobbering that moldy sack of tangerines, was the first time that I felt I saw her express and authentically positive emotion. Maybe it was because, for the first time, I was actually on her side, but I connected in a way I never had before. It was probably just the post-Cuban-missile-crisis-scale relief I was feeling, but I actually LIKED her for the first time.

  50. Talisker Says:

    @Katydid: I think general opinion on this side of the pond is that Clinton is… OK. Not as exciting as Obama in 2008, but a competent and steady hand. In that sense she's somewhat similar to Theresa May and Angela Merkel. Trump, needless to say, is seen as a total disaster and everyone is shocked he has got this far.

    @JeffK: If Tim Kaine is any evidence, Clinton will pick boring, competent, mainstream Democrats to work with her. That's fine by me. Trump will pick hard-right numbskulls (Pence, Boykin) or loudmouthed hacks (Giuliani, Christie). He might appoint his kids to head federal agencies, just for shits and giggles.

  51. Talisker Says:

    Now I think of it, Trump might appoint his 10 year old son to be Secretary of Cyber. It's very big, the cyber.

    Amusing though it would be, I hope he doesn't get the chance.

  52. Maaya Says:

    Excellent post, Ed.

    I highly recommend The Atlantic article, "The Four Donald Trumps You Meet." Most (all) women will immediately recognize the phenomenon, and I imagine a good many men will too, and if not, will get a quick education. President Trump would be *extremely* detrimental to half this country's population. Don't lose sight of that.

  53. skwerlhugger Says:

    I was hoping someone else electable would appear. 4 to 8 more years of Obama Derangement Syndrome is not appealing. Whether or not you deserve it (and she doesn't), when you're hated that much by so many people, it just isn't practical. Then I watched a few minutes of the Benghazi hearing, and changed my mind. I really hope Warren gets some tangible power, though.

  54. ccprof Says:

    I appreciate your point that watching HRC have to stand there and take the gorilla's poop was enraging. I was enraged for a slightly different reason. I was enraged for her, that she was expected to stand on stage with this simian as if he was an equal. The humiliation here wasn't that she had to take his shit–as you point out that is actually a fine strategy for winning voters. The humiliation is that she isn't actually being given a fair test against a worthy opponent. And you can almost see it in her performance. At one point she actually hit the pause in the debate and spoke to our allies to reassure them that the US honors it's agreements. Now, that may have been a calculated moment, but it revealed a person whose brain was working so many levels higher than her opponent's that she could actually fend him off with a pinky as she turned her attention to far more pressing matters. Yes, HRC looks sparkling in comparison, but she deserves to look merely good in comparison to a more wothy statesman/woman. The problem is, of course, that the GOP seems to have few of those states people left.

  55. Major Kong Says:

    @skwerlhugger

    I don't think it would matter. You could run the most middle-of-the-road Democrat and the GOP propaganda machine would turn them into Joseph Stalin's even more left-wing cousin.

    They're very good at putting labels on people and making them stick. Trump changes positions as often as he changes socks but they were able to brand Kerry as the "flip flopper".

  56. maurinsky Says:

    I voted for Bernie in the primary and almost immediately felt regret – because while I love his emphasis on the economic issues affecting working class and poor people, he doesn't have a history of accomplishing very much. Hillary Clinton does. I have become enthusiastic about her over the course of the campaign, like others here have stated.

  57. SeaTea Says:

    >>I'd give an arm and a leg to have any of the things she has and has had in her career."

    >Yeah, we all want a special prosecutor to spend $40 million and upwards of 8 years investigating everything we've done in our life, plus a "news" media who criticizes us every time we change our hairstyle. And the women among us would love to be blamed for everything, private and political, that our husbands have been involved in. She's had it dead easy.

    Way to totally and completely miss the point. Wow.

  58. Bill Heaps Says:

    As a retired 'rocket scientist' I have met a number of super smart women over the years. Many men have trouble with them as they can be viewed as intimidating. I suspect women have trouble with them too because their lifetime goals may not align well. Add to this the fact that Republicans got early warning that Hillary was going to be a long term problem for them and began an unprecedented program of attack and innuendo that has gone on for nearly 25 years. The debate provided for many their first ever opportunity to evaluate in the flesh what had been merely an object of media scorn. She was magnificent!

  59. Katydid Says:

    @Bill, I think you're onto something with the life goals aligning. As a Gen X'er, I looked up to Hillary Clinton in the early 1990s as an example of one option open to women–she'd gone to college, been a lawyer, and lived a life very different from the stay-at-home mothers in my neighborhood. Apparently a lot of women are threatened by other women with a drive to do something outside the home. For all the Mary Tyler Moore and That Girl! and Ally McBeal and the women of Sex and the City, there's an equal outcry that women who have an interest in and ability to do anything outside the kinder-kuche-kirsch triad are bitter, shrill harpies who are desperately unhappy.

  60. beejeez Says:

    Maybe it's because I'm older, but I got to Ed's point a long time ago. I've always understood both Clintons as highly skilled but imperfect people who wanted to do the right thing while realistic about what it takes to succeed in the big leagues: money, connections, and most of all, compromises — with other pols, with their own ideals.

    What their quest for power is not about is to impress the country club set, or to push people around, or to rip off the underprivileged. Their cross-class, cross-race, cross-cultural friendships are genuine. Their idea has always been to find the right mix of capitalist prosperity, socialist fairness and a safer world. That they've let us down at crucial moments is a bitch, but they can only move us forward as far as a majority of American voters will let them. For me, it's much easier to imagine worse scenarios than better ones. And God, do they have the right enemies.

  61. quixote Says:

    Larry Womack at HuffPo: Stop Pretending You Don’t Know Why People Hate Hillary Clinton

    Yet, many on the left who gladly voted for John Kerry, two years after he voted to authorize the Iraq war, now say they couldn’t possibly vote for Clinton, because she did, too.

    And view her with contempt for opposing same-sex marriage in 2008, while fawning over men like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, who held the same position at the same time.

    It’s time to stop pretending that this is about substance. … This is about the one thing no one wants to admit it’s about.

    As they say, go read the whole thing.

    It's good that so many were able to get a clear view of her considerable talents for once.

  62. Lyn Says:

    I've always thought what beejeez expressed above about the Clintons.

    Larry's comment really hits the nail on the head. Sometimes I fear that people make most decisions from their biases, and then look for justifications for them after. We as a society are heavily biased against women, older women, intelligent women, and women who are not very sexy. Many in our society also prefer someone with an authoritarian demeanor, and this has been touted as part of Trump's appeal to his followers. And then there's the fact that there are a lot of very ignorant people out there, and they've recently become more free to become aggressive and hateful.

  63. mago Says:

    What Machiavelli said.

  64. Katydid Says:

    Thanks, Ringleader–that's not my saying, so feel free to steal it like i did.

  65. Katydid Says:

    The difference between conservatives and liberals; a lot of liberals have disliked previous administrations, and current candidates but limited themselves to speaking out against them and spreading news articles highlighting their points. Here's one conservative group displaying their 'calculated, rational" hatred of Hillary Clinton:

    Courtesy of TPM:

    A North Carolina gun rights group is raffling off an AR-15, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a portrait of Hillary Clinton to raise money for Republican congressional candidates, CBS News reported Thursday.

    In a post announcing the “Hillary Clinton Special,” Grass Roots North Carolina Treasurer Grant Gardner jokes that “what you do with the picture is between you and Hillary.”

    “We won’t tell you what to do with the photo, but when we ran a picture of Hillary on the front of our newsletter, we heard it was very popular at the range,” Gardner added.

  66. geoff Says:

    This is no way an endorsement of the Giant Evil Baby, but if you don't think that Mrs. Clinton, and Samantha Power and Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan and those 60 "diplomats" in the State Dept. who want to "get tough on Syria" aren't spoiling for a confrontation with Russia, then you haven't been paying attention. Otoh, it looks like the DoD is doing whatever they want over there (ME) as it is, so maybe we'll get mushroom clouds no matter who wins.

  67. willf Says:

    quixote said:

    And view her with contempt for opposing same-sex marriage in 2008, while fawning over men like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, who held the same position at the same time.

    This is not true. Sanders has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. Vote for who you want, but please hold the lies about his record:

    In 1996, then-Representative Sanders voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred recognition of gay marriage at the federal level (DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013). Sanders' and his home state of Vermont were the first to legalize same-sex unions in 2000, at first recognizing them as civil unions. Gay marriage has been legal in Vermont since 2009, and as The New York Times reported, Vermont was the first state to pass legislation in support of same-sex marriage, rather than in reaction to a court ruling.

  68. Skepticalist Says:

    Hillary: Smart and dull.

    Trump: Incredibly childish and embarrassing.

    It's easy.

  69. Dave Says:

    I think this entire election cycle may seriously backfire on Trump. Certainly if he loses he'll pull out an endless series of excuses but he'll have damaged the Trump brand to such a degree that there may not be much repair possible.
    I really do believe he never wanted to get to this point and has no idea how to exit gracefully so he's doubling down on ego. It's galvanizing so many organizations and folks on both sides against him that I'm thinking his campaign ending in an election loss will be coupled with serious business problems afterwards.
    Oh damn… is this how we unite the dems & repubs in Washington? Yay Trump…?

  70. Skepticalist Says:

    I don't think Donald worries about doing much gracefully. He confirms every day that he's a super adolescent while entertaining his home schooled supporters. He's Mortimer Snerd and he's having the time of his life.

    Shame on the Republicans for this and that they are holding on to him only because they're the ones with the tiny packages. Too bad we have to witness it and make plans to emigrate just in case. Canadians will be the ones needing a wall.

    Too, I really hope Rudolph Giuliani is just on something.

  71. AwWhoDunnit Says:

    Couldn't help but notice that the way "I, and I" is written in the second-to-last paragraph in the article, sounds a bit … Rastafarian.

  72. moderateindy Says:

    Mostly, I thought after watching the debate, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster (along with hate radio, and the racist, Xenophobic troglodytes that populate the Republican party base) for the gift of Trump.
    I can't think of any other viable Republican Pres candidate that could have performed worse at that debate.
    Even a dolt like Rick Perry wouldn't have come off nearly as bad as Trump did to the majority of the country.

  73. Craig Says:

    Clinton: corrupt centre-right plutocrat.

    Trump: narcissistic fascist.

    Screwed either way.

  74. Katydid Says:

    Craig, thanks for repeating the constantly-debunked talking points about Hillary Clinton! You're parroting the party line has made all the difference! … Oh, wait, just the opposite, you've outed yourself as a mindless follower. Congrats?

  75. Craig Says:

    A vote for Trump is a vote for racist apocalypse. A vote for Clinton is a vote for business-as-usual catastrophe. A continuing descent into corporate kleptocracy, mass incarceration and a complete failure to address the urgent existential threat of climate change in any meaningful way.

    Vote Clinton, but recognise that defeating Trump is just the first step. The problem is much bigger than team red vs team blue.

  76. lizzie Says:

    You mentioned mass incarceration. Obama's DOJ is pursuing much more humane sentences in drug cases these days, and I think it's a good assumption that Clinton'so DOJ will follow a similar policy. This is important because federal drug sentences can be extremely long even for completely nonviolent, low-level offenders with minimal criminal history.

  77. Katydid Says:

    @Lizzie, it appears Craig is just cutting-and-pasting various random things from Libertarian sites. I don't think he's doing any thinking about anything, just parroting the talking points.

  78. Craig Says:

    Socialist, actually.

    Clinton is no more corrupt than the American norm; she's just the apotheosis of US pay-to-play corporatist neoliberalism. In other words, blatant corruption to a degree that would be treated as a felony in most of the industrialised world.

    Still a better option than the fascist, though.

  79. Troubadour Says:

    I smell a stinky troll rattling on with Fox news talking points.

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