Hey, I Like Hillary Clinton Too


Sady Doyle:

I’ve come to believe that saying nice things about Hillary Clinton can be a subversive act.

Well, I don’t know about subversive. A little unusual, maybe, but that’s all. So what accounts for Doyle’s affection for Hillary? Basically, the fact that Hillary is still alive and kicking after spending nearly her entire life on the receiving end of attacks that would turn most of us into sobbing wrecks who refuse to answer the doorbell:

It’s almost as if, after a quarter-century of being attacked for her appearance, personality, and every waking move, breath, and word, Hillary Clinton is highly conscious of how she is perceived and portrayed, and is trying really hard to monitor her own behavior and behave in ways people will accept. Which is “disgusting,” of course. We want “authentic” candidates. Remind me: How well did the public and media react the last time she appeared in public without makeup? Or raised her voice? Or laughed? Or went to the goddamn bathroom? Or did any “authentic” thing that a real-life person does every day?

….Honestly, ask yourself: How long would you make it, if people treated you the way you treat Hillary Clinton? Would you not just be furious by now? Would you not have reached levels of blood-vessel-popping rage and despair? She’s been dealing with it for decades, and keeps voluntarily subjecting herself to it, and knows exactly how bad it will get and exactly what we’ll do to her, and yet she is running for president again, and—here’s the part I love, the part that I find hard to wrap my head around—she might actually win. That is awe-inspiring.

Yeah, pretty much. I like Hillary Clinton too,1 and for much the same reason as Doyle. I view her as nearly the exact opposite of her reputation in popular culture. She’s not cunning or devious. In fact, she’s the farthest thing from that. She’s dutiful and always has been. She wants to do good. She’s demanding of herself. She’s not naturally extroverted, but forces herself to do what needs to be done. She’s not naturally brilliant, but she’s a studier and a hard worker. And I imagine that the relentless attacks she’s put up with have indeed wounded her pretty deeply. Unlike her husband, she’s not the kind of person who can brush them off as just part of the game.

Do I like Hillary because of all this? Sure, though not in any deep sense. I don’t really like people I’ve never met. But I sure as hell admire her. She could have ended up like Richard Nixon, but she didn’t. She keeps gutting it out, over and over. For that, she’ll always have my esteem—and maybe even my affection.

1I also like Bernie Sanders. I used to like Martin O’Malley, but not so much anymore.