The great mystery to me (and not just me and not just as affects the election) is why the deep, irrational, violent reaction to Hillary from so much of the left? I can understand why the right would loathe all things Clinton. There are clear political advantages to the right to preventing effective leaders from rising on the left. There is the revenge factor on someone who has repeatedly defeated them and who is more beloved by the American people than Saint Ronnie. There is the fact that HRC has promised to battle them over health care again, which Krugman has rightly identified as the foundation stone of a revitalized left.
I need to return to the key paragraphs of Stanley Fish's NYT essay on Hillary hatred:
Still, sexism doesn’t seem an adequate explanation of the Hillary-hating phenomenon if only because so much of the venom in the comments is directed at the Clintons as a team. The idea is that nothing but evil can emanate from them; they are a moral blot on the nation’s escutcheon, a canker-sore on the body politic, and they must be removed (perhaps by any means necessary). No doubt sexism is a component of such sentiments–a number of women respondents accused her of riding on her husband’s coat-tails and lambasted her for not leaving him–but sexism doesn’t really account for an anger that sometimes borders on the homicidal...
Underlying this surrender of the franchise to those least qualified to exercise it is the complaint (rarely overtly stated) that the Clintons have had the bad taste to undergo the assassination of their characters in public and have thereby made us its unwilling spectators. This is of course the old ploy of blaming the victim, and Ava Mae Lewis (16) is at least explicit about it. After deploring the “wild accusations” and “rabid hate”, she declares herself “disappointed that the Clintons force us to make this final and public rejection.”...
In other words, by being the targets of unwarranted attacks — that is their crime, being innocent–the Clintons are putting us in the uncomfortable position of voting against them for reasons we would rather not own up to. How dare they? Given the fierceness of the opposition to her candidacy, why doesn’t Hillary do the decent thing and withdraw? “What bothers me about Hillary is that she must know this, yet she apparently thinks so much of herself, or wants to be president so badly, that she’s willing to risk compromising the Democrats’ chances of winning in November to stay in the race” (Matthew, 440). How inconsiderate of her both to want to be president and to persist in her quest in the face of calumny.
Why is she putting us through this? Why is she making us a part of the smearing and shaming of her? Even more than with Big Dog, there is a maniacal obsession with punishing Hillary Clinton for having been the victim of the right wing's and the MSM's misogynistic assaults. Two particular points of ire stand out.
One is her ability to accept and forgive her husband for his infidelity. I know it upset me at the time, when I was recently married and pretty insecure about it all, not to mention we were going through some relationship issues of our own. Dammit, woman, stand up for yourself! Teach that lying so-and-so a lesson for dissing you! A decade further on, with a bunch of marital water under the bridge, I have come to respect what it must have taken for Hillary to not follow conventional wisdom (or bow to public pressure) and go on to create something new from the detritus of that betrayal. On a personal level, I know it is a lot harder to mend than to abandon, and she and Bill showed more fortitude than most people.
The second is her AUMF vote, or, more precisely, her refusal to be badgered into some half-assed apology to people who hate her anyway. She made a decision that was defensible for a number of reasons, some of which had to do with the ways in which the executive and the legislative branches needed to properly interact. That Bush betrayed everyone afterwards, taking a simple diplomatic bargaining chip and gambling it into an entire war, does not invalidate the original decision. What infuriates her detractors is that she won't grovel for having made a bad decision. I look at this and respect the stance while decrying the decision. Kerry and Edwards both pandered to try to get anti-war votes, trying to have it both ways. That HRC will not be shamed into recanting is the flash point.
As I was puzzling over this combination and reflecting on Fish's words, something came to mind. At some level, the brutal attacks on Hillary have nothing to do with her acts and deeds. It all has to do with the detractors' feelings of shame over what she has done or refused to do. She should have withdrawn from public life rather than insist that her life is her own to do with as she likes and deems right. She will not be a "good girl" and capitulate to the blustering alpha-males in the room.
What we're watching is little more than a political honor killing of a woman who has refused to allow our shame over how she has been treated dictate her decisions.