Why Don’t They Like Hillary?

Recently a friend and regular reader of this blog asked me the question “Why is Hillary Clinton so disliked by America?”  In considering my response, I realized that I would be hard-pressed to answer this question in a brief Facebook comment, and the more I thought about it, the more I had to say.  Note that personally, I like Hillary Clinton.  I will vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8th with full confidence that she is the better person to lead this country for the next 4-8 years.  That said, Hillary has some image problems.

Public opinion of Ms. Clinton has been formed over three separate eras:

  • First Lady (1993 – 2001)
  • Secretary of State (2009 – 2013)
  • Candidate for President of the United States (2015 – present)

First Lady

Hillary-3.jpgAs First Lady, married to then President Bill Clinton, she was the first First Lady to hold a post-graduate degree (J.D. from Yale, 1973) and her own professional career (lawyer).  She took an integral role in the administration of her husband, advising on at least eleven of Bill Clinton’s top administrative positions.  Only Eleanor Roosevelt had a more active role as First Lady.  Some criticized her role, saying she should be more of a traditional First Lady.  Also during her tenure as First Lady, she took on a number of causes advocating for the rights of women and children.  As such, she became the most traveled First Lady in history which, again, came under criticism.  Sometimes it is a matter of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Then came the Whitewater controversy, a complex ordeal surrounding the Clintons failed business venture and real estate investments, conflict of interest, and ultimately criminal allegations against both Clintons.  The case was dropped for insufficient evidence, but that does not mean it was forgotten, and it has come back to haunt both Clintons from time to time.

Then along came Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern with whom Bill Clinton had an extra-marital affair.  Now, you might think this would actually help Hillary’s image, as she was the victim here, and in some cases it probably did.  However, others considered her to be an “enabler”, though to this day I do not understand that line of thought.  Still others accused her of cynically staying in a failed marriage as a way of keeping or even fostering her own political influence.  What transpires between a married couple should be their own private business and nobody else’s, but that is not how it works these days in politics.  In the 1960s it more or less did work that way, as the many affairs of both John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King did not become common knowledge until long after their deaths.  But in today’s world, sadly, anyone in the public eye, whether politician or entertainer, has absolutely no privacy.

Secretary of State

Hillary-4In 2008, after an unsuccessful bid against Barack Obama for the presidency, President Obama nominated Hillary for the cabinet position of Secretary of State.  She was confirmed in a full senate vote by 94-2, and at that time her approval rating was at an all-time high of 65%.

Clinton and Obama forged a good working relationship without power struggles; she was a team player within the administration and a defender of it to the outside.  Overall, Hillary had many successes as Secretary of State, too numerous and complex to go into here.  However, as is always the case, people will remember the one thing you did wrong long after they forget about the 100 things you did right.  Enter the Benghazi attack.

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked, resulting in the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. The attack, questions surrounding the security of the U.S. consulate, and the varying explanations given afterward by administration officials for what had happened, became politically controversial. On October 15, Clinton took responsibility for the question of security lapses and said the differing explanations were due to the inevitable fog of war confusion after such events.  Subsequently, multiple investigations have shown that the attack could not have been prevented no matter what Ms. Clinton might have done, but in the current political climate, the results of those investigations are largely ignored by her opponents.

Then there is the matter of that e-mail non-scandal, but since I have written about that in a previous post,  Witch Hunt!!!, I will not repeat it here.  Suffice it to say that, like the Benghazi controversy, Hillary has been cleared of wrongdoing, but since her political opponents cannot possibly defeat her on platform issues, they continue dredging this up.

Candidate for President of the United States

Hillary-5If Ms. Clinton had not decided to run for president, it is my opinion that all of the above issues would have faded into oblivion by now.  However, she did boldly venture into a realm previously dominated by males, and I think that, more than anything else, is what drives the dislike of Ms. Clinton.  Women and minority groups mostly support Ms. Clinton, but ‘supporting’ and ‘liking’ are not necessarily the same thing.  White males, especially those with less education, comprise a large segment of the U.S. population, and they tend to feel very threatened by the idea of a woman in what is often considered a “man’s world”.

Even so, Ms. Clinton might be treated more fairly if her opponent were a more typical candidate, rather than a misogynistic demagogue.  Trump has used every trick in the book to turn the public against Ms. Clinton, including half-truths, lies, speculations, and other tools of his trade.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to defend oneself against this type of dirty rhetoric.

All that said, some say that Hillary’s “image problem” is the reason she is so disliked.  She shares very little in the way of her personal life and people thereby see her as cold and uncaring, despite the fact that she has devoted most of her career to causes that benefit women and children, especially in developing countries.  Many, apparently, would prefer images of her on the golf course, or playing piano for relaxation, knitting a blanket for her grandbaby, or perhaps eating a taco salad, to images of a hard-working politician.  I admire a politician who is able to keep their career and private lives separate, and personally do not feel like the private life of any politician is my concern, but I am in the minority, apparently.  I am more concerned with what that person is doing for the country and how well they are performing the job which I, as a taxpayer, am paying them to do than what they do in their private life.

Can Hillary Clinton improve her “likeability”?  Perhaps.  I think that she can if, and only if, people are willing to put aside prejudices, stop believing every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth, and listen – actually listen to the proposed policies and ideas Ms. Clinton has for governing the nation for the next four years.  In large part, there is only so much that she can do, and the rest is up to us.  We either judge her responsibly and fairly, or we listen to the screeching rhetoric of the other side and use lies and prejudice as a basis for our judgement.

17 thoughts on “Why Don’t They Like Hillary?

  1. Jill, good post. I shared on Hugh’s post that she has a clear light of day between her and all her competitors on her foreign relations skills and experience. This should not be understated, as people and leaders outside of the US are quite puzzled why Donald Trump is even close to her. Has she made mistakes, yes, but she brings a level of competence and understanding to the job. And, not highlighted above, her work as a New York Senator is rightfully lauded especially for her post 9/11 work and advocacy.

    But, back to this likeability thing. While not perfect like all of us, she has life long friends dating back to grade school. She is also spoke of well by people she has managed. I am sure Trump has friends, but are the life long friends that will come out and advocate for him, or are they business friends who feel they must? I would add what Michael Bloomberg said about Trump is dead on accurate – his history is littered with many people he has screwed over. I am not talking about just a few, but thousands upon thousands of people. He also has been in litigation in 3,000 lawsuits, many by people who wanted to get what was owed them, as Trump left them high and dry.

    Hillary is not her husband. A friend who met Bill told me he could make anyone he met in a gathering feel that the person was the only one in the room. His wife is that not that kind of charmer. As I noted in my post of this morning, “she may not be the person whose proposal you would accept, but she is the person you would want to be married to.”

    Thanks, Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insight, Keith! And I would only add to it that far too much of the voting public is ignorant of foreign policy/relations, else how could they consider a candidate who has praised such world leaders as Putin, Kim Jong-un, Erdogan and Saddam Hussein? That, in and of itself is telling. Clinton may come off as cold, but as you say, people who have had worked with her all seem to find her warm & caring. We are voting for experience and capability. And anyway, what is to like about Trump’s personality, for that matter? Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s always interesting to get the perspective of those who don’t live here. But let me ask you … as an Englishman, would you prefer to see Trump in the White House? My take so far has been that our allies, such as your own country, are not too keen on him, so I’m always curious to see what people think.


  2. I was in a discussion on this last night. One person stated that Hillary is disliked because she stuck with her husband through all of his affairs just so she could get ahead and this spoke to her character. My response was that it was apparently okay for Donald Trump to go through three marriages as he cheated his way from one to another. He has fathered children by three women and has total disrespect for women. So basically Hillary is being penalized for sticking to her marriage and trying to make it work. I received blank stares for this position. I think that, deep down, a lot of the Republican male base is not ready for a strong woman in leadership and a lot of the Republican women see her as intimidating and non-feminine. I don’t agree, but this is what I’ve observed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don, I had to echo your comment. To me, there is a Conservative Evangelical cohort that believes every word in the bible is true. One if those themes is summed up in the popular Tammy Winnette song “Stand by your Man.” To me, being married and staying married is hard work, especially with imperfect people. Unlike about 1/2 of marriages, the Clinton’s have remained married. Like you, I ask why is that not celebrated by those same voters? Good point. Keith

      Liked by 3 people

      • Agreed, Keith. And, this is purely observation, but when I see pictures of Bill and Hillary together, I see genuine affection reflected on their faces. I suspect they worked through their issues and came out stronger as a result.


    • You are quite right, and whether people admit it or not, there remains in this country a “double standard”. If Hillary had been the one who had an affair, I think it is doubtful she would have ever been a Senator, Secretary of State, and she damn sure wouldn’t be a candidate for president. She would be wearing the proverbial scarlet “A”. I wonder if that will ever change? Your comments are spot on, as usual! Thanks, Don!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent post….. A better question might be…. ‘What does the America’s dislike for Hillary Clinton and preference for Donald Trump say about the American People? Amazing what can lurk in the ‘psyche’ of a Nation. 😉 Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Elyse! How does one counteract that? Keep chipping away. Look how long it took for the Civil Rights Act to be signed into law, and still, African-Americans are fighting for equality. I am not sure it ever ends, but I believe if enough of us keep speaking against injustices, they diminish over time. At least that is my hope. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very timely and, as usual, on point. I do think men feel threatened by strong women and there is a decided element of sexism in the attitude many men have toward this woman (women as well, perhaps?). I, too, plan to vote for her and think she will be an excellent president. But the image must be polished in order to make her more palatable to a great many men and the majority of those who saw Sanders as the man who could change the world. To many she represents the establishment that is leading this country into empire-building and oligarchy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Spot on, Hugh! I knew I was missing a point, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what. You hit the nail on the head … she is seen as the establishment, the status quo, that which the populist movment has said we must get rid of in order to be successful. I see it rather like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but I recognize the ideology. Thank you for filling in the gaps I left!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I never did understand the Lewinsky hatred either and Hillary being an enabler. I read somewhere that she may have remained in the marriage as a matter of convenience and the article bemoaned that fact. From what I can tell deduce from your post, it doesn’t seem to be one particular thing. In fact, I’m thinking – again from your post – that the sheer amount of time she’s spent in the public eye, as first lady, secretary of state and now as presidential aspirant, means her faults tend to be recycled over and over again…………..

    It’s kinda sad because it’s gonna make quite a number of people cast the wrong vote in the elections. Thanks for the answer


    • Rarely, in a study of cause & effect, is the cause one single, simple thing, but usually a compilation of things that transpire over time. And yes, I think her longevity in the public arena is part of it … I also think her gender is part of it. I think many feel threatened, even in the 21st century, by a woman in the highest office. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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