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  • Hillary & Human Nature

    Posted by Ginny on December 26th, 2007 (All posts by )

    The predictions are that the Democrats will win the presidency in the coming year.   The money seems to be on Hillary Clinton, though that may change.  The second prediction may be more iffy than the first.  Some of her words, however, are likely to haunt us – and therefore, her chances.

    Jim C quotes Hillary Clinton in a comment at Roger’s Rules; googled: Anna Quindlen’s columm appears.  Since October 1993, surely our definition of “courageous” has had a reality check.  Then, Quindlen reported from Texas about Clinton’s “courageous speech about America’s greatest crisis,”  the “sleeping sickness of the soul.”  Clinton’s thesis was “Let us be willing to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being.”   Feeling comfortable in our own skins is harder than it sounds – and little is on view in her Christmas ad.  Christmas makes me aware of my inappropriate comfort in my sloth.  But liking ourselves, liking others, liking what it means to be human (accompanied as it is by our fallibility) doesn’t seem to come easy to certain political agenda.  And so, they are less likely to prize autonomy and integrity and a sense of humor.  These, however, wear well – and give several other candidates charm.

     

    24 Responses to “Hillary & Human Nature”

    1. joseph hill Says:

      I am not sure what you mean here but why not say it: You do not like Hillary and you fear what she may have in mind. Ok. Fret not. Special interest groups and lobbyists will shape her and anyone’s else’s agendas for the forseeable future. You can remain human by being concerned with your wellbeing, first and formost; or you can be human by being conserned primarily with the needs of others; or you can be human by refusing anything given by the govt or remain human by taking what they offer. What the next president sets as a possible specific agenda is what will define that person, the the babble of electioneering.

    2. Ginny Says:

      Joseph Hill,
      Well, I bang this drum so often that most are bored. I do mean something relatively specific that I suspect you missed – or that just isn’t especially worrisome to you.

      The comment was to a Roger Kimball (most often thought of in terms of The New Criterion) column, noting the problems in theories that he sees as too completely aligned with Rousseau. His discussion is actually inspired by the actor Will Smith and he doesn’t mention Clinton. Going back, I see Jay Manifold asked bout its authenticity – I just googled & got Quindlan. Given her discussion, if she didn’t get it right, then at least she discussed the speech in more detail.

      No, I don’t like her. But that is because she doesn’t seem to have a very broad or very affectionate view of human nature. She doesn’t, I suspect, have a rock bottom assumption that human nature is a given. We can channel it, perhaps, but ignoring it or believing a dam is effective is ignoring the complicated power of our nature. Of course, an agenda-driven vision that implies she’s “giving” us solutions ignores much that is commonsensical (who is going to pay for them, are these really gifts are extremely complicated policies that are likely to have some good consequences and many unexpected ones) does appeal to our quite human nature to want a free lunch. Nonetheless, I suspect she believes we are made by our society more than we make our society. That always troubles me.

    3. Tyouth Says:

      Roger’s Rules quote from E.F. Stephens might approach one of the reasons that many of us that won’t be voting for Hillary. She seems to be the sort of driven person described below:

      ….”a man who has a disinterested love of the human race—that is to say, who has got a fixed idea about some way of providing for the management of the concerns of mankind—is an unaccountable person … who is capable of making his love for men in general the ground of all sorts of violence against men in particular.”

    4. joseph hill Says:

      I can name any number of our founding fathers–and Lincoln, who would fit into that overly braod bumper sticker posted above my comment

    5. Tyouth Says:

      “I can name any number of our founding fathers–and Lincoln, who would fit into that overly braod bumper sticker posted above my comment” (Referring to Hillary’s overwhelming self-righteousness).

      Oh, indeed. Lincoln (that astutest of politicians is an example – for good and/or evil) surely. Alexander Hamilton (think about the whiskey rebelion), along with many other tyrants or tyrant-enablers (think Marx and Lenin) share that characteristic of moral righteousness. I’m not sure that other founders shared the characteristic to a great degree – Washington, the most venerated in his own time, and rightly so, did not.

      To compare the cool intelligence and social skill of Lincoln to the rather hot-headed overwhelming personally ambitious Hillary Clinton is ridiculous though.

    6. Tyouth Says:

      By the way, there’s no way the quote you refer to, Joe, would fit on a bumper sticker as we have come to know them.

    7. joseph hill Says:

      I have always admired Lincoln, who long before J. Edgar Hoover, not only planned but indeed did suspend habeas corpus, but he was by any standard a very very ambitious man. Thankfully.And he had this in common with Obama: both served but two years in congress before running (r deciding to run) for the
      White House.Sen Clinton, whatever else she is, is very bright. She shares with our current president the honor of having gone to Yale, though she went to its Law School.Is being “overly ambitious” a terrible quality? And what is the difference between “Overly” ambitious and just ambitious? My guess is that running for the highest office in the land indicates agreat amount of ambition rather than being overly ambitious.

    8. david foster Says:

      A fundamental concept of democracy is the concept that the government is the servant of the people. The idea that the people are raw materials for someone’s idea of “redefining what it means to be human” would seem to be incompatible with this.

    9. joseph hill Says:

      the people express via elections who shall speak for them. Hillary no more redefines what it means to be human than George W. Bush. All this twaddle is simp0ly showing a distaste for one of the possible candidates and ignoring all the many others as somehow not just different but better than the one disliked here. The people will decide, finally, and perhaps with the help of the Supreme Court.

    10. david foster Says:

      Joseph…don’t you think it is worthwhile to consider candidates in terms of their philosophical underpinnings, in addition to their positions on the tactical issues of the moment?

    11. joseph hill Says:

      Fair enough: let’s explore Mitt’s underpinnings. Or Rudy’s, or any of the candidates. did the nation vote in Bush for his philosophical underpinnings? and, if so, what exactly are they?Perhaps an equally valid approach is to ask what a candidate had done thus far in public life leading up to his or her nomination–in another words: actual deeds and actions rather than “underpinnings.”

    12. Tyouth Says:

      Joe, note that the title of this post refers to the woman particularly. That would be why we would not necessarily explore other candidates personalities.

      I’d suggest that to you that her personality and character are well known. Perhaps she is a very widely known person in this country and voters understand her more intimately than other well- known political luminaries. Everyone that’s interested has been watching her for the at least the last fifteen years and we watched her in the brightest of spotlights. By “overwhelming ambition” I meant (although I thought the meaning of this phrase would be obvious) that her ambition seems to be so intense that it appears that it is likely that it could overwhelm other other reasons for action. Like Vince Lombardi, Hillary would agree that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. This is not an appealing quality n a leader, at least for me.

      If you can’t admit that obvious quality of the lady exists your partisanship will not open leave you open to argument or persuasion and so not worth responding to.

    13. david foster Says:

      Regarding “overly ambitious” and “just ambitious,” I would suggest we consider the career of George C Marshall. Obviously the man was ambitious–one doesn’t get to be a general, let alone Chief of Staff, without being ambitious. But when Roosevelt asked Marshall to sacrifice his dream of commanding the D-day invasion in person…because FDR felt it was more important to have him in Washington…Marshall acquiesced with apparent good grace.

    14. joseph hill Says:

      Had you been in the military, or studied it, you would recognize a general obeying orders from his civilian commander-in-chief. overly ambitious McCarthur decided he could make major decisions but his boss–Truman–taught him (wisely) otherwise.

    15. Tyouth Says:

      AND Peggy Noonan suggests in her column today:

      “Hillary Clinton? No, not reasonable. I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.”

    16. david foster Says:

      Joseph…nothing prevents a subordinate, in the military or elsewhere, from lobbying a superior to change a decision. People do it all the time.

      Your commenting will be more effective if you choose to eschew personal insults.

    17. renminbi Says:

      Nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead, but the question is what one will stoop to to do so. Selling presidential pardons, releasing terrorists to go after the Porto-Rican vote, bringing phony charges against the Whitehouse Travel Office employees, accepting a $100,000 bribe in the form of allocated commodity trades- is that overweening enough ambition for anyone? The commodity trades were allocated- I know that business having made a decent living at it.

    18. joseph hill Says:

      I am not sure how miliary figures lobby, as you note, but when I was in a war zone, there was no lobby going on, and that is for sure. The commander-in-chief does not like to be lobbied, or at least guys such as Lincoln, Washington, FDR, Truman…if so, please site instances.

    19. Tyouth Says:

      Renmindi: “allocated” refers to invested securities which have not had the investor/beneficiaries name added until the firm is ready to distribute the goody? Or what?

    20. Jonathan Says:

      Until around the late-1980s commodity trades did not have to be submitted to exchange clearinghouses until the end of the day when the trades were made. If you were an active trader who wanted to give money surreptitiously to another customer of your brokerage firm — perhaps someone who had given you permission to trade her account for her — and if your broker was cooperative, it would have been a simple matter to wait for a day when trades you made early in the day were big winners by the end of the day. Then you could simply write the other customer’s account number on some of your winning order tickets.

    21. Tyouth Says:

      Thanks Jon. God lord, talk about opportunities for money laundering!

    22. Jonathan Says:

      In some ways those were the good old days.

    23. Elliot Says:

      Some day I’d like to see a politician running for president say we have done pretty well over the last 225 years, and he doesn’t want to mess with something that ain’t broke. All I ever hear is how the counry is going in the wrong direction and we need change. It’s the unending story, along with the one about how the new generation of twenty-year-olds is changing the workplace.

    24. Tyouth Says:

      It occurs to me that, as the candidates personalities begin to crystalize a bit (for me), that the Republicans have their own “prima donna” with an overweening righteousness and potentially dangerous ego http://blog.electromneyin2008.com/2008/01/06/mccains-temperament/
      (God bless attack ads and sites).

      There was another (also a Romney site, I think, which, unfortunately, I can’t find) which lists, chronologically, the “manchurian candidate’s” public meltdown over the last decade or so. I was particularly impressed by his pushing 90+ year old Strom Thurmond in the Senate during a heated exchange in the mid 90’s.

      If anything, McCain’s inability to contain his emotions seems greater than Ms. Clintons. Whether he is more or less self-righteious is open to debate. Politically it might be interesting to note that it seems that if McCain would dial it about one or two clicks to the left and Hillary one or two clicks to the right they’d meet.