Magazine article The Spectator

Hello, Mrs President

Magazine article The Spectator

Hello, Mrs President

Article excerpt

Atlanta, Georgia Who thinks Hillary Clinton is the nastiest woman in the world? The American Spectator once called her 'the Lady Macbeth of Arkansas' while US News and World Report described her as 'the overbearing yuppie wife from hell'. But that was back in the nineties. Surely such vitriol is a thing of the past? No. The founders of 'StopHillaryPAC' say on their website that they want to 'save America from the destructive far-left liberal cancer' that Mrs Clinton represents. Do they wish her actual harm?

Well, they plan to 'STOP Hillary dead in her tracks' but, you know...just politically.

They're not the only ones. The similarly named group 'StopHillary2016' is equally keen to deal out at least a metaphorical death, as is the Republican dirt-grubbing group AmericaRisingPAC. Republican National Committee leader Reince Priebus said on a radio show last year that AmericaRising was searching the record as far back as it could: 'I think that there's a lot of rough stuff coming out on Hillary that...you know, it doesn't just come out of thin air. It comes from somewhere. And sometimes, it comes from us.'

When the networks CNN and NBC considered making documentaries about Mrs Clinton's extraordinary career, Priebus blustered that these would be, in effect, campaign commercials for the next Democratic candidate. He then orchestrated passage of a Republican resolution to boycott the networks as carriers of the 2016 pre-election debates if they went ahead with the documentaries (they didn't).

How don't Republicans love Hillary? Let me count the ways. She has a long record of being pro-choice on the abortion question and of favouring gay marriage. She favours a comprehensive national healthcare system , much stricter gun control, effective trade unions, an amnesty for long-term illegal immigrants, and deficit spending in recessions by a strong federal government. But what Republicans hate most of all is that she's the overwhelming favourite to win the White House in 2016.

Mainstream pundits credit Mrs Clinton with improving her public image during her four years as Obama's Secretary of State and achieving the aura of an elder statesman. The Hillary haters, by contrast, argue that she was a hopeless diplomat. They single out the 2012 killing of Chris Stevens, America's ambassador to Libya, as a national disgrace, and say it was her fault. The terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi that September offers a rich vein for conspiracy theorists to mine, and there are plenty of politically motivated miners ready with their picks and shovels. Clinton herself accepted responsibility for the tragedy and admitted to a lack of foresight, but no serious evidence supported her enemies' claim that she was recklessly naive or negligent about the Libyan situation. When she went to hospital with a concussion near the end of her term of office, Tea Party publicists sneered that she couldn't take the political heat and was really suffering from 'Benghazi Flu'.

Women have come a long way in public life even since 1990. It's no longer permissible to say that you don't like Hillary because she's a woman, but there are ways of finessing the point. Some Tea Party writers argue that by standing by Bill despite his White House shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky, she sullied the image of American wifeliness. …

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