Why is Hillary do disliked?

Enjoyed this column from David Brooks.  At first I was ready to dismiss this point of his out-of-hand, but, I do think there’s probably something to it:

The second paradox is that, agree with her or not, she’s dedicated herself to public service. From advocate for children to senator, she has pursued her vocation tirelessly. It’s not the “what” that explains her unpopularity, it’s the “how” — the manner in which she has done it.

But what exactly do so many have against her?

I would begin my explanation with this question: Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun? We know what Obama does for fun — golf, basketball, etc. We know, unfortunately, what Trump does for fun…

People who work closely with her adore her and say she is warm and caring. But it’s hard from the outside to think of any non-career or pre-career aspect to her life. Except for a few grandma references, she presents herself as a résumé and policy brief…

At least in her public persona, Clinton gives off an exclusively professional vibe: industrious, calculated, goal-oriented, distrustful. It’s hard from the outside to have a sense of her as a person; she is a role.

This formal, career-oriented persona puts her in direct contrast with the mores of the social media age, which is intimate, personalist, revealing, trusting and vulnerable. It puts her in conflict with most people’s lived experience. Most Americans feel more vivid and alive outside the work experience than within. So of course to many she seems Machiavellian, crafty, power-oriented, untrustworthy.

Now, I like Hillary Clinton and think she’s a good person, but, truly, I have little sense of her as a human other than her political motivations.  Of course, I’m voting for a president, not a best friend, but in terms of making her “likable” versus “unlikeable” the fact that she comes across as an almost purely political person surely does not help her case.  Of course, I think part of the person she genuinely is is the type of person who is guarded and not wanting to really let her metaphorical hair down in public.  That’s a real thing.  Alas, it’s not a real thing that’s going to get the public to like you.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to Why is Hillary do disliked?

  1. Jon K. says:

    I can tell you based upon years of listening to shows like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage (sad but true fact I was a regular listener of all of these shows until about 3 years ago), that Republican animosity and mean-spirited propaganda directed at Hillary Clinton has been a regular part of these programs since the 1990’s. It has helped cement an image of Hillary as some kind of demented liberal criminal witch that she will have a hard time shaking. It has become an automatic association for many Republicans.

    In fact I know many Republicans that really understand that Trump is not a qualified candidate for president yet they really struggle with their long held animosity of Hillary. As an example, my aunt sent me this link saying it summed up her feelings on the election. http://wtop.com/virginia/2016/05/va-womans-obituary-links-death-clinton-trump-election/

    I suspect that she is not alone in having these feelings. The question is can people’s brains overcome the conditioning and emotions regarding Hillary? I’m not sure that most people can.

  2. ohwilleke says:

    “So of course to many she seems Machiavellian, crafty, power-oriented, untrustworthy.”

    This is the impression that Clinton gives. I don’t think that a lack of a personal life explains most of that. Changing positions on policy issues does. And, a lot of this is not ancient history. A recent example is her turnabout on the TPP. She has done a turnabout on a hardline approach to crime.

    The Republican noise machine that Jon K. mentions may be affecting Republicans and even right leaning independents, but it doesn’t make a dent on Democrats. Democrats who don’t love Clinton never mention Benghazi or the faux e-mail scandal or the like. They instead fear that she won’t be reliable in office.

  3. R, Jenrette says:

    If Hillary wasn’t originally a guarded person, after years of that “vast right wing conspiracy’s” attacks she became one.

    After all, a paranoid might actually have someone out to get her. And a guarded person might actually have reason to think she needs to guard her privacy against those wanting to take her down.
    To say that she has never done anything to help women is idiocy. If the only act she did was to say the words at a global women’s conference in China that women’s rights are human rights that was enough to help lift women world wide.

  4. itchy says:

    I agree. If this was a job interview, it would have been over in 5 minutes. No one would come close to her. But the presidency is viewed (maybe rightly) as not just a job.

    I think most people consider it like this: When presented with a novel moral issue, will the president decide in the way that I think is best?

    The less you know about the president — or the more you think the president isn’t acting in your best interests — the less comfortable you are with the answer.

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