The Hillary pathology

One of the things that I find most interesting about Hillary Clinton in my role as a political scientist is the absolutely pathological and irrational dislike that so many people (mostly Republicans, of course) have for Hillary Clinton.  After many times of asking people why exactly they hate Hillary so much, the most common answer seems to be a variation on “I just do.”  If they actually provide reasons, the reasons are almost invariably not based on anything to do with political reality.  Anyway, the increasingly pathetic Republican field for president has decided that absent any good plans of their own, simply opposing anything Hillary suggest will substitute for an agenda.  Here's Harold Meyerson on the matter:

My conservative brethren in the op-ed commentariat have made a
disquieting discovery: The Republican candidates for president are
saying nothing that addresses the economic anxieties of the American
middle class. Both David Brooks and Michael Gerson, writing last Friday
in the New York Times and The Post,
respectively, expressed a mixture of amazement and horror at the
disdain that the candidates display toward broadly centrist proposals
to bolster Americans' economic security, and at the candidates'
apparent indifference to their need to craft such proposals of their

“The Democrats propose something” such as expanding health-care
coverage for children or providing federal matching funds for 401(k)
accounts for families of modest means, bemoaned Brooks, “and the
Republicans have no alternative.” Gerson grumbled that the candidates
were taking gleeful potshots at the “baby bonds” notion — providing
newborns with small savings accounts — that Hillary Clinton briefly
floated, despite the fact that the idea has won support from the right
as well as the left.

In fact, with the honorable exception of long-shot candidate Mike
Huckabee, the Republican field seems content with an economic program
that comes down to opposing whatever Hillary Clinton proposes. Rudy
Giuliani, campaigning hard to convince the Republican base to overlook
his heresies on such cultural hot buttons as abortion rights, seeks to
win over the faithful by claiming the mantle of Hillary-Basher Club
Champion. A tax credit for parents struggling to pay their children's
college tuition? Matching funds for 401(k)s? Baby bonds? Crazy notions
all, not because of their substance — Rudy can't be bothered with
their substance — but because they were proposed by — get this —
Hillary! The GOP crowds roar.

As a road map to governance, this is both dim and skimpy. President
Giuliani, Romney, McCain or Thompson can reliably be counted on to be
against whatever Clinton is for. Beyond that, if we total up their
domestic and economic policy proposals, they intend to do almost
nothing at all.

I think it speaks volumes about which of the two parties takes governing more seriously when Democrats are brimming with extensive, well-researched, policy proposals (you may not agree with them, but they are detailed and based upon thorough analysis) and the leading Republicans can do little better than Giuliani's laughable 12 committments and the anti-Hillary approach. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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