By Camille Paglia at Salon
What is it with the Hillary cult?
As a lifelong Democrat who will be enthusiastically voting for Bernie Sanders in next week’s Pennsylvania primary, I have trouble understanding the fuzzy rosy filter through which Hillary fans see their champion. So much must be overlooked or discounted—from Hillary’s compulsive money-lust and her brazen indifference to normal rules to her conspiratorial use of shadowy surrogates and her sociopathic shape-shifting in policy positions for momentary expedience.
Hillary’s breathtaking lack of concrete achievements or even minimal initiatives over her long public career doesn’t faze her admirers a whit. They have a religious conviction of her essential goodness and blame her blank track record on diabolical sexist obstructionists. When at last week’s debate Hillary crassly blamed President Obama for the disastrous Libyan incursion that she had pushed him into, her acolytes hardly noticed. They don’t give a damn about international affairs—all that matters is transgender bathrooms and instant access to abortion.
I’m starting to wonder, given the increasing dysfunction of our democratic institutions, if the Hillary cult isn’t perhaps registering an atavistic longing for monarchy. Or perhaps it’s just a neo-pagan reversion to idolatry, as can be felt in the Little Italy street festival scene of The Godfather, Part II, where devout pedestrians pin money to the statue of San Rocco as it is carried by in procession. There was a strange analogy to that last week, when Sanders supporters satirically showered Hillary’s motorcade with dollar bills as she arrived at George Clooney’s luxe fund-raiser in Los Angeles.
The gushy indulgence around Hillary in the Manhattan media was typified by Vanessa Friedman’s New York Times piece, “Hillary Clinton’s Message in a Jacket,” after last week’s debate. Evidently oblivious to how she was undermining the rote sexism plank in the Clinton campaign platform, Friedman praised Hillary for “playing the clothing card” against Sanders: Hillary’s long white jacket made her look like “New York’s white knight,” riding to the rescue.
Gee, that sure wasn’t my reaction. My first thought was: “Why is Hillary wearing a lab coat?” My second was: “Isn’t this a major gaffe—reminding people of abortion clinics?” My third was: “The big belted look is not recommended for those broad in the beam.” For all the complaints about an alleged higher scrutiny suffered by women candidates, affluent politicians like Hillary can afford glam squads of stylists and an infinite range of clothing choices, hairstyles, and cosmetic aids. Male candidates with their boring cropped hair and sober suits fade into the woodwork when the queen bee flies in.
The protective major media phalanx around Hillary certainly extends to her health issues, which only the Drudge Report has had the courage to flag. In assessing possible future occupants of the White House, the public has an inalienable right to know. I was incredulous at the passive gullibility of the media, including the New York Times, last July, when a woman internist, identified as Hillary’s doctor, released a summary letter about her health that was lacking in the specifics one would normally expect in medical records. Does anyone really think that world-renowned Hillary, whose main residence for years has been in Washington and not Chappaqua, has as her primary physician an obscure young internist in Mount Kisco, New York? It’s ludicrous on the face of it.
And what about that persistent cough? “Allergy season,” the hacking Hillary claimed on a New York radio show this week. (“You all right? Any mouth to mouth CPR?” joked a host.) I’m just a Ph.D., not an M.D., but I’ll put my Miss Marple hat on here. Am I the only one who noticed Hillary’s high-wrap collar, pallid, puffy face, and bulging eyes during her choleric New Hampshire primary concession speech in February? (Another unusually high collar followed the next morning.)
My tentative theory is that Hillary may have sporadic flare-ups of goiter, worsened under stress. Coughing is a symptom. High collars mask a swollen throat. In serious cases, an operation may be necessary. Is this chronic thyroid condition disqualifying in a presidential candidate? Certainly not in my view, but I don’t like being lied to—by candidates, campaign staffs, or their media sycophants.
Hillary’s road map to the Democratic nomination was written by “Tricky Dick” Nixon, who after his acrimonious defeat in the 1962 California gubernatorial race doggedly restored his standing in the GOP by doing the “rubber-chicken circuit,” building up the grass-roots connections that allowed him to win the White House six years later. Similarly, Hillary has spent the years since her 2008 loss to Obama in deepening and tightening her relationships with state and local Democratic politicians, community leaders, and urban ministers nationwide—for whom she has assets of infinite largesse.
When pro-Hillary media taunt Bernie Sanders about what his campaign has or has not financially contributed to lower-level Democratic races, they are foolishly exposing Hillary’s modus operandi. Nixon’s rubber chicken has turned into one mighty gilded bird.