Hillary With a Dose of Humanity

Fri, February 22, 2008


If Hillary Clinton really wants to be President of the United States, she must continue to do what she did last night in the CNN debate — be in touch with her humanity.

For better or worse, we, as American voters, feel the need to relate in a Dr. Phil/Oprah kind of way to our presidential candidates. No matter how smart or qualified, we still can’t get past our desire to have our leaders feel our pain and then throw back a beer over some barbecue.

I’m not sure the Brits felt those were qualities they wanted or needed in Margaret Thatcher.

But Hillary still needs a story. Maybe she found the beginning of that story last night.

Borrowing (careful Hillary, some might say plagiarizing) from the John Edwards playbook, she spoke about the fact that no matter what happens in the race, the candidates will be fine, but that we need to focus on how to make things better for America. Clinton’s affect seemed toned down and genuine, maybe a little weary.

Being in touch with our own humanity, no matter what we’re doing, is what makes us likable and appealing to others. It’s no different for politicians. After seeing what it was about her husband that resonated with voters, I’m a little surprised Clinton hadn’t figured that out yet.

If she’s finally gotten to the place where she can be smart and show her more human, less wonky, face, things could turn around. Even if they don’t, being able to show that part of herself to the world isn’t such a bad bonus.

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10 Responses to “Hillary With a Dose of Humanity”

  1. Jennifer James Says:

    Thing is, I think it’s too late for Hillary. When I heard Hillary’s closing last night I immediately heard a defeated tone. She’s putting on a brave front right now, but I think she realized that she was sitting beside the next president of the United States and that Barack has run an amazing campaign. Her numbers are down and her campaign is almost in financial ruins. I really don’t think she is going to go beyond March 4.

  2. Justin Says:

    Margaret Thatcher was a despotic evil dictator responsible for crushing the very fabric of British society and destroying British industry as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. Whatever Hillary Clinton has done, she does not deserve to be compared to that evil, heinous, vile, selfish woman who also introduced the most unfair tax Britain has ever seen. If Hillary Clinton loses the democratic nomination, she can at least content herself with the fact that she would have made a far better President of America than Thatcher The Milk Snatcher (so called because she banned free milk in schools) was Prime Minister of Britain.

    Even so, as a Brit, I am rooting for Obama. I don’t think it’s too late for Hillary however. There is still time for an upset.

  3. Dana J. Tuszke Says:

    I admire her tenacity. I can’t imagine the struggles she endures while running for President. Her tough exterior seems like a defense mechanism against her opposition. I know that I would have given up the fight long ago, had I been in her shoes. Her perseverance amazes me.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog, it always has great insight. But I am very frustrated with the media’s lack of questions to the presidential candidates about global warming. Now that it is down to just a few candidates I would think that this would be a bigger issue.

    Live Earth just picked up this topic and put out an article ( http://www.liveearth.org/news.php ) asking why the presidential candidates are not being solicited for their stance on the issue of the climate change. I just saw an article describing each candidate’s stance on global warming and climate change on earthlab.com http://www.earthlab.com/articles/PresidentialCandidates.aspx . So obviously they care about it. Is it the Medias fault for not asking the right questions or is it the candidates’ fault for not highlighting the right platforms? Does anyone know of other websites or articles that touch on this subject and candidates’ views? This is the biggest problem of the century and for generations to come…you would think the next president of the United States would be more vocal about it.

  5. cce Says:

    Oh oops, I tried to comment on Hillary and Thatcher too in a post from a few days ago. I guess my point was not that Thatcher was a good leader (that’s neither here nor there) but that the Brits clearly forgave the woman her appearance and her waist size when electing her to office. Thatcher was not elected for her taste in clothing, her beauty or her girl next door like-ability. Americans should take a page from the England’s book and study Hillary’s political record not her taste in suits. And Justin is right, Thatcher was not a leader that helped the middle class. Hillary can do much better.

  6. PunditMom Says:

    My only reason in mentioning Thatcher was not to make a comparison between the two as politicians — it was to try to remark that I’m not sure voters in other countries have the same need to expect a certain level of emotional intelligence in addition to experience.

  7. Justin Says:


    I understand your point, I just don’t think that that comparison can be drawn to Thatcher because people in Britain only elected her because they were scared of what she might do if we didn’t. Neither emotional intelligence nor experience had anything to do with Thatcher coming to power. Like all dictators, she was “elected” on the basis of fear – not the fear conservatives usually use to gain power but a different fear – the fear of Thatcher. The fear that should she not gain office when she wanted to and on her terms there would be even deeper repercussions.

    In the end it made little difference. I was very young when Thatch was eventually toppled but all people in Britain still live with her legacy – a fractured society.

    Anyway, can you switch your allegience to Obama please.


    I will never forgive Thatcher her appearance.

  8. selfmademom Says:

    I think Hillary has it tough- if she gets too “touchy feely” or too “human” then she gets hounded by the press for being weak, if she’s too tough, then she has no heart. We never analyze men in these postitions this way, and it’s driving me nuts!

  9. Mauigirl Says:

    I agree with Selfmademom that Hillary is subject to scrutiny that a man isn’t, and it is grossly unfair.

    I’m supporting Obama but feel a lot of ambivalence about not supporting Hillary, who probably is more experienced and is certainly a competent, hard worker. But to your point, Obama seems to connect to many in a way that Hillary has not been able to, and has less baggage overall, which makes me feel Obama could win in November.

    I think the reason she got the standing ovation at the end is partly because of her “humanness” but also because I think people genuinely want both candidates to work together and like each other.

    Let’s hope whoever wins gives the other a prominent role in the new administration.

  10. JRenee Says:

    I, for one, think there is as much excitement surrounding Hillary’s campaign as Obama’s. The difference lies with the media and its non-existent objectivity. Nearly all the cable news channels have admitted to an Obama bias, siting his “newcomer” status as a ratings grabber. The problem is that Hillary isn’t just running against Obama, she’s running against the media, running against a race war, a gender war, and a republican machine. Everyone knows republicans are voting for Obama in the open primaries because he will be a much easier target for John McCain. Given the nearly insurmountable battles, Hillary Clinton has withstood well. I admire her courage and I still believe she is the stronger, wiser, more compassionate candidate.

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