Politics & Media
Feb 20, 2015, 02:03PM

“Hillary Haters” Won’t Be an Issue in 2016

The wealthy grandmother is no longer seen as a “feminazi.”

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I’ve no idea who’s in charge of soliciting articles for The Daily Beast, but the deadline must’ve been pounding hard for McGill professor/historian Gil Troy’s Feb. 15 article, “How To Handle Hillary Haters,” to make the cut. Granted, the standards bar at The Daily Beast is so low that even a greased squirrel might not slither under it, but isn’t the “Hillary Hater” a trope that was extinguished once her husband left office in 2001? After saying that “Hillary hatred has been particularly virulent and irrational,” Troy takes willing readers on a nostalgic tour of animus against the former First Lady—including the claim that the hate began in 1980s when Bill was Arkansas’ governor, a time when less than one percent (a generous estimate) of Americans had even heard of her—but Benghazi aside, since she successfully carpetbagged a New York Senate seat in 2000, the “hate” directed at her has been negligible, certainly compared to Barack Obama and George Bush. (Has anyone said that Hillary doesn’t “love America,” as attention-deprived Rudy Giuliani slung at Obama, or that she’s the equivalent of Hitler, a common left-wing charge thrown at Bush?) Back in ’98, Hillary coined (or one of her advisers did) the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” in early reaction to Bill’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and that generated a lot of conversation, though I’d venture it was laughter or sheer incredulity, rather than hatred. When Bill fessed up about “that woman” Lewinsky, Hillary expertly played the sympathy card, paving the way for her Senate run.

Besides, in 2016, when Hillary’s expected to run for president against whomever the chaotic Republican Party chooses, a large percentage of voters will have either forgotten her “co-presidency,” Troopergate, Vince Foster, Paula Jones, cattle futures and her slur against Tammy Wynette, or will be too young to remember those staples of tabloids and talk radio. That Hillary consistently lands in America’s list of “Most Admired” women—which is beyond me, but Michelle Obama and Oprah also feel the Gallup Poll love—and crushes any potential Democratic challenger in the early presidential polls, as well as leads all GOP aspirants, appears lost on Troy. Aside from a very small segment of rabid conservatives, the types who champion the likes of demagogue Sen. Ted Cruz and religious zealots Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, there’s just not much to “hate” about Hillary. I wouldn’t vote for her myself, but the vitriol I felt in the 90s has been extinguished: in the current decade she’s just another multimillionaire Democrat who’s trying some way, any way, to convince Americans she’s for the “little people” who drive their own cars and lose sleep over mortgage payments or getting downsized. Translated: a phony-baloney politician who wants to be president.

So far, most Democrats are ignoring the recent reports about the millions upon millions the Clinton Foundation—ostensibly a charity, although most of that “charity” is used for promoting the Clintons—is raking in from foreign contributors. I suppose in a general election, the GOP could slam populist—and the world’s first grandmother!—Hillary for this fundraising, but unless the last name is Koch, the Clinton teflon will probably continue. In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, op-ed columnist Kimberley Strassel [paywall] wrote about the ethical dilemma facing Democrats: “It’s hard to label your GOP opponent anti-woman when the Clinton Foundation is funded by countries that bar women from voting and driving like Saudi Arabia. It’s hard to call your GOP opponent a heartless capitalist—out of tune with middle-class anxieties—when you owe your foundation’s soul to Canadian mining magnates and Ethiopian construction billionaires.”

I suspect Strassel, a conservative, was writing out of frustration. The machinations of the Clinton Foundation are too arcane a topic to boil down to a slogan, so it won’t gain traction. The way for a Republican to defeat Hillary, as I’ve written before, is to successfully expose the hypocrisy of an extraordinarily wealthy woman claiming she cares about the disappearing middle class, rather than her own career.

But when Gil Troy writes “paranoids” will soon yell, “the Hillary haters are coming,” he’s channeling a different era. Hillary Clinton has defeated the “haters” like Rush Limbaugh simply by outlasting them.

—Follow Russ Smith on Twitter: @MUGGER1955

  • I'm shocked with how little faith you have in the voters ability to hate. I agree that many of the past issues are exactly that, but to suggest that the pundits/media/politico's won't be able to gin up hatred for Hillary, seems insane. As you state, Bush was called Hitler, Obama a Muslim anti-colonialist America Hater, and I'm sure Hillary (if she wins the primary) will be a Lesbian commie-loving Marie Antoinette

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  • Nah, the lesbian jazz is done. She's a grandmother! She's "grown," as nauseating as that sounds. Besides, most of the media, once they get obligatory shots in, will be biased in favor of Hillary.

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  • Perhaps, but it was not that long ago that she was doing that no good, perv-marrying, Muslim Huma

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  • Your sneering at Hillary's wealth seems bizarre to me. Most politicians at that level have quite a lot of money. They all hobnob with wealthy donors. You and I may wish fervently for class war, but Americans have never really cared. And the closest they ever came to caring was probably after the Depression, when they elected FDR (not noted for his common roots.)// There will be plenty of Hillary hate from Republicans. They'd hate anyone the Dems nominated though, and really vice versa. The campaigns are in large part designed to let partisans know who to hate and why. They work pretty well.

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  • First, FDR was elected because the Depression was on Hoover's watch, not dissimilar, to a smaller degree, why Obama clinched election when Lehman fell. The "sneering" refers to the Clinton Foundation being passed off as a "philanthropic" institution.//I don't "fervently" wish for a class war.//And I don't think the "hate" in 2016 will reach the level of the hate Obama and Bush took. As I wrote, what's to hate about Hillary today? She's a phony, but so what? I don't think Romney was "hated," just as Bob Dole wasn't hated, nor McCain. Palin, perhaps, but she's a nut.

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  • I always find Russ's pieces about politics interesting although I'm more right wing than he is. Noah on the other hand is so predictable, see his comment above, I don't even need to read him to know what he has to say.

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  • Thanks, Erik. Who are you supporting for the '16 GOP nomination?

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