I just can’t get into her. Hillary, I mean. I think much of my sentiment can be summed up by events during a recent visit to my folks’ place on the east side of town.
I was spending the night and, as is often customary when doing so, headed downstairs to watch some T.V. with my mom before bed. Actually, being the couch-sleeper I am, I likely had no intention of ever making it to bed. But I digress…
My dad was probably with us initially, too, but he can take about five minutes of television programming involving “talking heads” before excusing himself with a grumble. I think I admire that about him; it’s almost as if he views the babbling of political pundits as a taint upon his hallowed airwaves. Gah…more digressing…
My mom and I, though, we don’t seem to have quite the disdain for it, especially during election season. I kind of enjoy watching posted election results as the night goes on, particularly with all the graphs and visual aid toys the networks employ these days. And so this night at my folks’ place my mom and I were watching as the results from the Democratic primary of some state or another trickled in. McCain had pretty much staked his claim as the Republican nominee, so most of the buzz was around the Democratic contest. I am not even sure which candidate won the states up for grabs that night, but the time approached for each to address the cameras. Hillary was first.
I became immediately agitated. I had been sitting in a recliner and suddenly realized that I simply could not get comfortable. My mom was standing up kind of rocking side to side as she watched Hillary speak. I found myself distracted by something on the coffee table and tapped it back and forth with my finger. A minute or two into her speech, I asked my mom if she would mind me flipping through the channels. No. I channel surfed a bit, settling on nothing specific, and made my way back to her speech every few minutes. It wasn’t long before Hillary wrapped things up and the network shifted to a rally for Obama as he prepared for his speech. Time to see what he had to say.
Man that recliner was comfortable. I set the remote down and sank into the soft, warm cushions as Obama’s words washed over me. We nodded attentively as he continued his personal discourse between the three of us. My mom glanced back at the couch. She walked over to it, grabbed some pillows and a blanket, and proceeded to make a nest on the floor from which to watch him. I was almost disappointed when he concluded his speech. My mom was asleep.
That’s kind of where I stand. Hillary makes me uncomfortable. Obama makes me want to settle in and hear him tell me that everything is okay. I have tried to listen to what Hillary says – to her “message” – I really have, but I can’t get past a voice and veneer that oozes disingenuousness. I just don’t buy it. Meanwhile, Obama, as fraught with “umm”s and “ah”s as his speeches sometimes are, or partly because of them, feels to me like the genuine article. He is conversational and does not restrict himself to rigid, party-line dialogue and responses. When he speaks, I believe him. And I like him.
Should one’s perception of sincerity be an appropriate benchmark against which to measure candidates racing to hold the title of the country’s chief diplomat, negotiator, and figurehead? Well, I’m not sure it’s an inappropriate benchmark, anyhow.
Hillary feels to me like old school politics. She seems to take the classic approach of telling me what she thinks I want to hear. I may be naive, but come on. Throughout the primaries, she has adapted her persona to accommodate what she believes people respond to (in a stroke of irony, even latching onto Obama’s mantra for a change from politics as usual in lieu of touting her political experience). One of her more recent gimmicks is the suspension of the federal gas tax this summer. You know, that whopping 18.4 cents per gallon that goes toward maintaining an aging transportation infrastructure that is already in disrepair. All she needs while making such a pitch is a backdrop of the Interstate 35-W bridge that collapsed in Minnesota last August, killing 13 people. Brilliant, Hillary.
I guess political promises are made to be broken, that that’s just the way of things, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Another one of my hang-ups is strictly statistics driven. Here, miracle of miracles, we’re expected to believe that two people worthy of holding (arguably) the most influential position in the country, and perhaps the world, happen to be married to one another. What are the chances? Pretty nil. There’s a better chance that neither is so deserving of the office. At any rate, I’ll pass on the dynasty, thanks. I don’t believe it’s good for the country and I’m not about to make an exception for the Clintons.
Of course, this post is largely irrelevant since Ron Paul will be running away with the general election in November.