Election 2008

A Taxonomy of Hillary Haters

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Listen to Jack Hitt categorize the Hillary haters

Hillary Clinton has so many haters, writer Jack Hitt coined a verb: hillarating. Hillaraters see many types of Clinton, as Hitt told the BPP today. There's the "Dianne Feinstein" Hillary, a centrist hiding as a liberal. The "Tammy Wynette" Hillary stayed with her husband after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Then there's the "Lady Macbeth", the "Lisa Simpson" and finally, the cold and calculating "Ms. Frigidaire."

So all you hillaraters out there—which category do you fall into? Why do you hate Hillary?

And we know there are plenty of Hillary supporters out there too. Why do you think the former first lady remains such a lightning rod? Is it her politics, her gender or her personality? Hitt says there is no single reason. As he writes in the current issue of Mother Jones, "No part of her life, however sacred, is off-limits."



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Hillary is not seen as a "strong woman"

She is viewed as manipulative, catty and shrill.

She reminds me of my first wife.

Obama is a "likable" person. I don't agree with his direction for the Nation - but he IS likable.

Sent by rface | 12:31 PM | 1-14-2008

It's not always "hate." Personally, I will vote for Hillary if she's my party's nominee. It's just that I would prefer another candidate...and I would also prefer that Hillary's surrogates stop using race-baiting code words when referring to my preferred candidate. Let the GOP do that crap: we expect it from them.

Besides, she should know that that kind of attack can backfire. Just look at what happened here in Massachusetts in 2006: Romney's hand-picked successor, his Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, ran an ad against her opponent, Deval Patrick, that basically said "If you vote for the scary black man, you're gonna get raped in a parking garage and it'll all be your fault." She lost, hugely.

Sent by Stewart | 12:37 PM | 1-14-2008

Who would you rather have talk to Putin? Tough Clinton or no experience Obama?

Sent by Sandra | 12:48 PM | 1-14-2008

i am a hillary supporter...and i was never that keen on the dissection part of junior high science...i think gloria steinem wrote a very good op ed piece in last week's nytimes...maybe it would be interesting to post or highlight...

Sent by jan | 1:09 PM | 1-14-2008

Even if she wasn't such a massive tool, I wouldn't vote for her because of her family.

We don't need a situation where 2 families (The Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty) have been wrestling for control of the country for over 20 years. It truly was inappropriate for Hill to toss her name in the ring for that very reason.

I do think it's important to have a female in the race. But it's not like there aren't other women capable of being viable candidates.

Aside from her clan attachments, she's just weak. I don't want to say she has no values, but I think the quality of her value system is really wimpy. She wants to please everyone so she really gets nothing done. And there's no reason for a straddler as a Democratic Party candidate.

The years of hell we've been through have all been the work of of a non-straddler, a man who didn't care how many citizens he angered. This strongly partisan dude was elected twice, a man who almost made it his mission in life to make liberal politic thought/movement illegal.

We need a candidate for change. And change needs to be a code word for: "You people who supported Bush f'd everything up so for the next 4 years you are all going to sit back, shut up, and let us do the driving for awhile. We don't care what you think, because frankly what you think got us in this mess in the first place." And Hill is just going to be too bogged down by status quo to make the bold changes this country needs to survive.

Sent by Brian | 1:16 PM | 1-14-2008

I believe Hillary is concerned about making history as the first woman and former first lady to win the presidential election so as to be permanantly held in fame and history.
Her coye way of saying she has plans for this country is just a bag of tricks to the same as usual politics that we Democrats have followed regard less of cost. I think it's time for some fresh thinking in Washington.

Sent by Bob Permenter | 1:23 PM | 1-14-2008

Mr. Hitt has it right on in his longer Mother Jones piece:

For conservatives, it's who would "do" Hillary sober?

For liberals, why did she let Bill repeatedly walk all over her?

Now for the burning question--where is a tour of the menagerie of Bush haters?

Perhaps such a piece would hit too close to home for most NPR listeners?

I have no faith in Hillary standing up to anyone, let alone Mr. Putin.

Sent by Eric Jensen | 1:27 PM | 1-14-2008

Sandra: How exactly does someone who held no elective office prior to 2000 have more experience than someone who worked up the ranks from local community politics to the national stage?

Sorry, but being first lady doesn't count as experience. If that were the case, I would be qualified to do my wife's job. And I assure you, I am not.

Sent by Stewart | 1:54 PM | 1-14-2008

Who is this Obama anyway? Half White-Half black, no personal historical connection to slavery or american reconstruction atrocities- gathering up the race cards as if they belonged to him alone..I don't know him, I don't trust him, and I believe the campaign and office is about more than what he feels is due to him- It's not about what the people owe Barack, it's about what Barack can really do for all americans. Hillary has paid her dues with a lifetime of service and keen observation. She knows what needs to be done and how to do it..

Sent by sue Hindersmann | 2:06 PM | 1-14-2008

It seems to me that the sport of Hillary hating has its roots in our fear as a society of strong, intellectually exceptional women leaders. I think many American men and women are instinctively fearful of this and have a hard time embracing these attributes in a woman seeking a position of power. We need to grow past it. It is as much or more a negative reflection on us as a society than on Hillary or any one woman.

Sent by Emily | 2:12 PM | 1-14-2008

Wow, I am scared! So divisive...

If experience really counted, we wouldn't be looking to a "rock star" as the democratic candidate. There were other (much) more experienced democratic candidates out on the peripheries in terms of number of years holding an elected position.

My problem with Hillary is her vaguely framed platform... we're left to think that she'll simply propagate her husband's policy. Also, there is something Caesarian about her political ambitions.

Finally, the potential for the election of Barack Obama to ease our relations with certain Middle Eastern countries is such an immense opportunity. This one act could deflate terrorism and reveal a side of America never seen in that part of the world. Seriously- listen to what Fawaz Gerges says on this subject (as related to Kuwaitis): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18023004

Who cares about what Barack would say to Putin; I care more that we remedy our terrible blunders in the Middle East.

Sent by Anna | 2:47 PM | 1-14-2008

1. It's "woman", stupid. American males do not want a woman of authority telling them what to do or leading them. Women of authority remind them of their mothers, who they've spent years getting out from under. In business, a woman is PERCEIVED in one of four roles (and those roles only): Mother (creepy but some authority there), wife (adversarial, not good for her career), lover (danger, but some advantage), or child (mentoring good, subordinate bad). And why do Women hate other women of authority? I don't know and it's too sad to contemplate.

Reason 2: because drama conservatives provide BoogyMom labels, and since LBJ presidential campaign, its proven that Americans will accept Any Prounouncement, no matter how vile or untrue, if it is repeated often enough.

There may be a 3rd reason... seems Journalists/media big heads have something against her too. Did she piss people off by some slight while she was First Lady?

Observant folk who think feminism is passe, dead, or irrelevant to young movers & shakers might think differently after this campaign season.

Sent by Stephanie L | 3:20 PM | 1-14-2008

It is not a female leader that America finds a noxious notion.

It is this particular woman as president which is the nauseating thought.

If she has constant principles other than her own self-advancement no one has yet discovered them.

Please refrain from conflating fear of Hillary with disgust for her past acts and omissions.

Thirty-five years of change? All save for her spots.

Sent by Eric Jensen | 4:16 PM | 1-14-2008

It is not uncommon to hear loud shady comments from people who make it a calling to bring someone down regardless of consequences. It happens to the best Americans who diligently and patriotically serve our country like John Kerry, John McCain and Hillary. This type of fanatic hatred leads to fascism and the decline of our democracy. I would be totally turn-off by such fanatic hatred. I hope that we are mature enough society to realize that ignorance isn???t going to save our democracy.

Sent by Jamie | 4:41 PM | 1-14-2008

All that matters to Hillary is her ambition and place in history. You would think more people would be tired of two families fighting for the presidency for more than 20 years.

If you want a Democrat in office, be careful who you vote for in the primaries. I dislike Hillary enough for all the reasons mentioned in the comments above, as well as in this story. If Hillary got the nominee, I would have to consider her opponent. This has nothing to do with not wanting a woman in office. She just isn't a viable candidate. As first lady, she never sat in Presidential briefings. I don't think her experience qualifies.

Sent by Tim | 5:18 PM | 1-14-2008

silly ol' simple-minded me. It just seems that I'm so fixated on delivering our world, our country and our children's economy, from the claws of the Neo Cons, that I will happily vote for any of the front-running Democrats. As for Hillary Clinton who is not my first choice -- I reserve my hatred for those who have personally harmed me or my way of life. Cackle, coldness, or phoney, that's really not this person. When you're thinking of not voting, if it's Hillary, imagine a world of (insert Republican name).

Sent by Toni | 6:51 PM | 1-14-2008

For the record there are many people, such as myself, who whole heartedly support and admire Hillary Clinton. The fact that there are people who choose to put so much energy into trying to see and emphasize the negative in Hillary just proves that she has the depth, conviction and intensity to really fire people up. Any great figure/leader in history has had personality traits that rub certain people the wrong way. The candidate that seems to be the most pleasing and likable (as George W. Bush seemed to be in the past elections) is not always the one who is right for the job. Besides all this public criticism is only helping her prepare for what any Democratic president who doesn't immediately end the war, turn our economy around, end terrorism forever and save the planet will receive. Will Obama be able to handle that inevitable criticism?

Sent by Megan | 7:05 PM | 1-14-2008

Those who dislike Hillary for staying with Bill becuase of his indiscretions are hippocrits who should be admiring her for perservering and trying to salvage her marriage. I applaude her.

Sent by robert e storch | 7:54 PM | 1-14-2008

The simple fact that there is so much wide spread hate for Hillary is reason enough alone not to elect her. It would be unhealthy for this already severely divided nation. Along with that, she is seen as corrupt and power hungry. Both of these allegations seem to have some proof and merit. I'm also leary of this notion that it would be so great to have Bill back in the white house, he wasn't as great as some would have you believe. He broke the war powers act, bombing Yugoslavia round the clock for sevetyeight days to quell a civil war; the "Clinton Prosperity" was illusory, showing the widest gap tween rich and poor since the depresion, keeping millions below the poverty level. the list goes on, he wasn't the people's President as he was portrayed.

Sent by Russell | 11:22 PM | 1-14-2008

I can't stand listening to the sound of her voice. It grates. She's also so programmed -- has no spontaneity -- she's a total bore. The Meet the Press interview on Sunday Jan. 13th was painful to listen to: thousands of words coming out non-stop, 75% of which said nothing. And you can't trust anything she says, either because it's calculating or triangulating. She'll always have some excuse for doing or saying something wrong, will never admit to a mistake. Her comment about Martin Luther King was an example of really poor judgment. Her intellect is limited to policy-making type skills. We need her in the senate, not as a leader whose intellect must encompass good judgment. Obama's skills, gifts and intellect show us what a real leader is. Hillary just can't compete with him on that level. She sees it. She doesn't know how to counter it well. She is not competent (or graceful) when on the attack. This is why she screwed up with her commentes on Martin Luther King. She probably didn't mean to say what she did. It was more important for her to try to take Obama down, and she just wasn't THINKING. She is also too stubborn and proud, just like Bush. We can't have someone like that leading the country any longer, and we don't want her in our living rooms for the next 4 years. The change people want is to CHANGE THE CHANNEL. The Clintons are just too slick and sneaky.

Sent by C. Neiman | 3:40 AM | 1-15-2008

Just think: 20 years and 2 dynasties... who only worry about the so called Black or Latino vote when they need us. This last dynasty (if they win), will be lead by someone who has the age and experience but was easily fooled into voting for a senseless war then turned around and blamed others for her mistakes. I admit, at this point any one will be better than Bush; but let's face it, this country needs reparation ASAP with someone intelligent that can think on his feet like Senator Obama. Some people have calculating agendas and will do ANY-THING to achieve their goals. Hillary is not my role model. She allowed herself to be fooled by Bush and by her own husband (not once but several times). She is not a positive leader to me. Chances are that may win this but not with my vote.

Sent by Maria | 2:46 PM | 1-15-2008

What is everyone so afraid of? What happened to critiquing a person on their hard-earned merits such as experience, intelligence and knowledge base and delivery of past results?Instead, because she is a woman, she is under the microscope;... her dress, and her emotions, her family life, and of course, her weaknesses.

Sent by mfeagans | 3:36 PM | 1-15-2008

I don't hate Hillary, but I'm not exactly fond of her either. In fact, she doesn't inspire anything in me other than a sense of indifference.

As for this particular election, I would vote for her if she were the Democratic nominee, but her personality just doesn't register on my political palate. I think she'd make a capable president, but 'capable' isn't exactly a good bumper-sticker slogan.

Sent by Kevin S | 4:28 PM | 1-15-2008

Hillary is a liar ; and most of the African/Americans that support her have no clue what kind of president her husband was. Just remember 10 times the time for crack as for powder cocaine; welfare ended with no viable job training set-up. Bill's Africa policy was a joke . Who was president while Rwanda was a 'KILLING FIELDS". sO JUST ON THE WEIGHT THAT hILLARY TRIES TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE cLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S POSITIVES SHE SHOULD STINK WITH THE TRASH IT LEFT BEHIND!!!!

Sent by Azikiwe Taft | 3:06 PM | 1-22-2008

Hillary has earned my respect and my vote. Obama is still earning my respect - when he actually votes for issues such as those affecting women, rather than being "present," I'll consider him for future office. Bill Clinton may have lied about a personal issue, but Bush and Cheney lied about Iraq, and almost 4,000 US soldiers have died, and untold numbers of Iraqi innocents have died as well. Republicans are the ones who cannot be trusted to lead us out of the foreign and domestic nightmares caused by this administration.

Sent by Susan S | 11:31 PM | 1-28-2008

I don't hate her, but I don't want her to be president. She's a ball of pure ambition. Her platform- judging from the dozen or so mailings I and my family have received- consists almost entirely of self interest appealing promises of things no president can deliver. She'll pay your mortgage, give you a free doctor, make sure "your" social security pay off, see to it that all children are well educated, and so forth. Interesting too how some promises get sent to some people, and others to other people...

Sent by staghounds | 5:57 PM | 2-10-2008

A guest reporter on NPR stated that a major T.V.news organization was continuing to spew venom about Obama's association with his racist pastor of 20 + years. Since the beginning of the primary, all 3 major T.V. news stations have spewed hate and venom toward Hillary Clinton. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Tim Russett, and many others have lauded Obama and marginalized Clinton. Many say Hillary is trying to steal the nomination from Obama, and she can't win in November against McCain.Many in the news have concluded the race is over and Obama's the winner. They say Hillary should get out of the race and unite the democratic party. I thought NPR reporting was above this but you are no better. Why has no one, since the start of the primary race, talked about the hate and venom spewed on Hillary Clinton?

Sent by Daniel Grossman | 11:24 AM | 3-23-2008

i think you're exactly right daniel...even i try to be even handed in spite of a particular gut bias but you would think that the upper echelon news media would think it their absolute job desciption to do so...present both sides as though you were debating yourself!!!

Sent by jayn | 5:33 PM | 3-23-2008

It's not that I hate Hillary, I just prefer Obama. I think he is a better candidate, with a better platform, better campaign, and better character. If there were no Obama, I wouldn't have a problem voting for her. But the fact is that Barack Obama IS here, he Is running for president, and in the Barack Obama is the better choice for president.

Sent by Amanda Brown | 12:54 AM | 4-30-2008

We will get the leader we deserve. If we get Obama we will get chaos. If we get McCain we will get more of the same. If we get Hilary Clinton we will get some modest change, because she is determined, but she still has to deal with the male conservatives (which included women who have grown male gonads). Exactly what I predicted has happened in the Bush reign, icluded the economy being destroyed with the rich to richer and the poor to poorer. And the war of his father, failure is in there genes, and conservative believe that the only fix for a failing economy is war. But you won't find their sons in them. With Obama, I can picture the flow of events and the consequences, but I won't share, because it is terrifying.........terrifying chaos.

Sent by Jane L | 3:29 PM | 5-21-2008