Is Hillary Clinton Eleanor Roosevelt?

By Hitchens, Christopher | The American Enterprise, July 2000 | Go to article overview

Is Hillary Clinton Eleanor Roosevelt?


Hitchens, Christopher, The American Enterprise


I attended Oxford with Bill Clinton (at one point sharing a girlfriend in common--she later became a radical lesbian), so I have a deep-rooted understanding of both the President and the President's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And I regard both of them as partly a consummation of the 1960s, and partly a negation of their era.

Mrs. Clinton's call in It Takes a Village for sexual abstinence among teenagers, for instance, may be the furthest she's gone from what would have been predicted. It's probably her most ironic advice. But there have been many other similarly unexpected pronouncements that I wouldn't have expected to hear from a spokeswoman for her particular slice of her narcissistic generation.

Steadfastly building a double personality, Mrs. Clinton has alternately presented herself in two very distinct lights. First, as a deadly tough and strong woman, assertive, and out on her own. Second, in the mode of the simpering female, quick to take offense, easily resorting to self-pity, claiming to be vulnerable. In short, she presents herself as either the Amazon or the weak sob-sister.

Let me give you an example. When asked how it was she couldn't remember any of the facts about her infamous cattle futures trading, Mrs. Clinton replied, batting her eyelashes, that, Well, she was pregnant with Chelsea at the time and in such a hormonal state that it was very hard to keep track of such mannish matters.

That's the simpering bit, in case you were wondering.

But she was tough enough to hire private detectives to go after dangerous opponents, tough enough to be a very ruthless overseer of many political campaigns, tough enough to recall Dick Morris to the colors not once but twice when hubby was in trouble.

By the same token, Mrs. Clinton once argued (because she'll try anything once) that the source of the vile rumors directed against her husband was a rooted prejudice, among the intellectual and political classes, against southerners and people from Arkansas.

Those are only a few of the ways in which this woman who is constantly reinventing herself (currently carpet-bagging from D.C. to New York, and I have a feeling back to D.C. again) can deploy herself--always in such a manner as to suggest that nothing can be her own fault, but always someone else's.

And the reality is, the First Lady has had great success, particularly among some intellectuals, in recruiting sympathy to herself. This raises the question of whether she will ever accept the responsibilities that go with her obvious power and influence. This question applies with particular force in a White House that has gone to some length to replace the concept of accountability with the concept of deniability.

In a famous speech, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin said that what his opponents wanted was power without responsibility, adding that this was the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages. It might be incautious to mention the prerogative of the harlot in the same breath as the First Lady or her husband, but the issue of power without responsibility is what most underlies the contrast between Mrs. Clinton and those who preceded her to similar heights of power.

One exemplar whom Mrs. Clinton has cited as a role model is Eleanor Roosevelt. The First Lady s famous attempt to communicate with Eleanor Roosevelt via "channeling" from the White House strikes me as grotesquely suggestive of the differences between these two women.

We know from her friend Gore Vidal that Mrs. Roosevelt herself was extremely contemptuous of absurd processes like channeling which attempt to ventriloquize or otherwise seek access to burblings from the beyond. We have Mrs. Roosevelt on the record about this, in fact. When the Queen of the Netherlands tried to interest Eleanor in spiritualism, she was met with a withering riposte: "Since we're going to be dead such a long time anyway, it's rather a waste of time chatting with all of them before we get there. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is Hillary Clinton Eleanor Roosevelt?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.