|Why Hillary Clinton Lacks Charisma
||[Jul. 30th, 2016|01:19 am]
I normally don't watch the conventions, but just read the general analysis of what happened afterward (with the associated risk of reading limited or biased accounts). I was going to skip watching the DNC until FiveThirtyEight reminded me that Clinton's speech was a historic first. Since I didn't miss Obama's 2008 acceptance speech, I figured I should catch Clinton's*.|
And what I learned was, yes, I can see why people have a kneejerk, visceral reaction to dislike her, in much the same way they joke about Ted Cruz. She feels off, like a particularly strict and stern matriarch always frowning and looking for a reason to smack your knuckles with a ruler.
I don't have a very good survey of women national leaders, but what I do know is that Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel come off much the same way.
And my hypothesis of why that is is because for women to attain that level of power, they get scrutinized and resisted to degrees that would turn any person into flat affected monotonous speakers. They get subjected to pressures men can laugh off with a cigar.
Obama managed to retain some amount of warmth and charisma through much of his presidency, but he managed to get in while still young and idealistic, and even then he was still blamed for not being passionate enough, for seeming detached, for playing everything understated and careful. This is because as a black man, if he ever showed passion, anger, and resistance, he would have been crucified as a mad black person. In a choice between seeming weak and seeming crazy, while so many people have you under a microscope just waiting for you to do something wrong, seeming weak is better.
Obama and Hillary Clinton don't have the advantages George W. Bush (stupid) and Bill Clinton (careless) have. They're not white men. So when Bill gets a scandal, his approval ratings go UP, whereas when Hillary gets a scandal, her approval rating goes down EVEN THOUGH SHE NEVER DID ANYTHING WRONG. When Bush trusts his intuition rather than his facts to go into a war with Iraq, he gets institutional support from Congress (including Hillary Clinton, I will point out), but where Obama makes the case to intervene in Syria, he's considered some warhawk sellout trying to destroy young American's lives.
"In the attention economy, people are rewarded for extremism. They are rewarded for indulging their worst biases and stoking other people’s worst fears. They are rewarded for portraying the world as a place that is burning to the ground, whether it’s because of gay marriage, or police violence, or Islamic terrorism, or low interest rates. The internet has generated a platform where apocalyptic beliefs are celebrated and spread, and moderation and reason is something that becomes too arduous and boring to stand.
And this constant awareness of every fault and flaw of our humanity, combined with an inundation of doomsayers and narcissistic nihilists commanding our attention space, is what is causing this constant feeling of a chaotic and insecure world that doesn’t actually exist.
And then: it’s this feeling that is the cause of the renewed xenophobia and nationalism across the western world. It’s this feeling of insecurity and chaos that is igniting the platforms of divisive strong-men like Trump, Erdogan, and Putin. It’s this feeling that has consumed the consciousness of millions of people, and caused them to look at their country through the lens of a fun-house mirror: exaggerating all that is wrong and minimizing all that is right."
Emphasis isn't even mine.
Here's Newt Gingrich:
"The average American, I bet you this morning, does not think crime is down, does not think the economy is better [...] The current view is that the liberals have the whole set of statistics which may theoretically be right, but it's not what human beings think."
I think Gingrich is revealing while still being completely wrong.
Feelings matter. It's like I've said here before: "The pain is real, even if the complaint doesn't make sense."
But feelings are also propaganda. Goebbels has not been falsified in his notion that repeating a lie makes people believe it; that people crystalize their beliefs if they think they made their decision of their own free will; and that reason is undercut by emotion.
To balance those contrasting appeals is actually just that: balance. Feelings have to be backed up by data, and data has to be backed up by feelings.
So when all the data says the world is becoming a better place, but low income workers don't believe it, it shows the world is becoming a better place for everyone but low income workers. The intent there is then to find a method of providing a way of getting the low income workers to benefit from the advances the rest of the world is making. It is not to tear down the entire system because the entire system has failed to help specified demographics.
Whereas when conservatives are saying the world is becoming a worse place, and yet they live in a nice house with a nice car and a nice family and a nice job and generally have everything going for them, their complaint is mainly just a problem that people complain.
And there are low income conservatives who are NOT living nice lifestyles whose only frame of reference for making their complaints are the well-off conservatives. So they adopt that rhetoric.
"Hillary Clinton is inherently honest.": http://americannewsx.com/politics/why-cant-you-believe-hillary-clinton-is-inherently-honest/
A Martin O'Malley voter (!) makes the scientific case for Hillary.
"Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest": https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson
A reporter who has covered decades of Hillary scandals makes the case for Hillary.
"Clinton distrusts the press more than any politician I have covered. In her view, journalists breach the perimeter and echo scurrilous claims about her circulated by unreliable rightwing foes. I attended a private gathering in South Carolina a month after Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. Only a few reporters were invited and we sat together at a luncheon where Hillary Clinton spoke. She glared down at us, launching into a diatribe about how the press had invaded the Clintons’ private life. The distrust continues.
These are not new thoughts, but they are fundamental to understanding her. Tough as she can seem, she doesn’t have rhino hide, and during her husband’s first term in the White House, according to Her Way, a critical (and excellent) investigative biography of Clinton by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, she became very depressed during the Whitewater imbroglio. A few friends and aides have told me that the email controversy has upset her as badly."
My boss also watched Hillary's speech. He's a sensitive dude who pays very fine attention to emotions. He said that she didn't seem sincere or connected to her statements.
To me, she looks exactly like she is: a woman who has been witchhunted for three decades, to the point where she has had to shut off her emotion and protect her hide and put nose firmly to grindstone to get the shit done she believes has to get done.
The thing is, her and Obama's relatively high rankings for honesty over all politicians have to do with facts being their only recourse. All things being equal, considering higher scrutiny and identity politics and the constant watching and witching, literally the only way to be able to say something straight and not get 'caught' on it is pretty much to make sure you have factual evidence behind your claim.
You don't get through decades of being jerked around like Hillary Clinton and come out of it grinning like Bill. He at least got a blowjob out of his scandal, and lives in a patriarchal society that allows 'boys will be boys' but women victims have to explain to juries of men their clothing choices the night they got raped.
YOU try running for president as the latter demographic, and let's see how emotive and warm your face looks.
tl;dr: Hillary Clinton: President Resting Bitch Face. The voting public: 'Nice Guys.'
*To be fair though, Trump's speech was a historic first too in its own way, and I didn't watch it.