Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hillary is a Beta Girl's Camile Paglia responded to a reader's question yesterday about why Hillary Clinton seems to surround herself with "passive-aggressive, sadistic, mean, little, petty beta-male pieces of work who would not naturally succeed in a common male-type hierarchy."

"Can you conceive of a strong, leader-type male ever working under her?" he asked.

Paglia opined that by surrounding herself with males weaker than herself, perhaps Clinton is recreating the structure of her childhood home -- substituting herself for her father at the top, of course. And she offers this gem:

Postmortem analysts of this presidential campaign will have a field day ferreting out all the cringe-making blunders made by her clique of tired, aging courtiers who couldn't adjust to changing political realities. Hillary's forces have acted like the heavy, pompous galleons of the imperial Spanish Armada, outmaneuvered by the quick, bold, entrepreneurial ships of the English fleet.
There will be plenty of armchair quarterbacking to be done once the Democratic presidential nomination is in the books, and if Clinton doesn't win it, much of the speculation will center around the team she trusted with the frontrunner status she brought into the contest in early 2007. But Paglia hits here on another concern, and one that McCain strategists are no doubt already considering: If Hillary Clinton can't be counted on to incorporate input that may be contradictory into her presidential campaign structure, how can the country count on her to do so with Cabinet picks, senior staffers and the like who will manage her agenda and be charged with its advance? Dissent is a necessary irritant, especially at the highest levels of government; if no one is allowed -- and encouraged -- to play the devil's advocate, Americans could find ourselves in an unholy mess.

From a global perspective, there is something to be said for having enough confidence in one's agenda to tolerate dissent. Isn't that what the concept of the Marketplace of Ideas is all about?

Might one say that understanding that principle has to do with judgment ... say, around 3 a.m.?

Later in the post, Paglia answers another reader who raises concerns about Obama's judgment vis-à-vis his real estate deal with Chicago financier Tony Reszo. She rightly points out that for all Clinton's sound and fury about the maltreatment she has suffered from the mainstream media, the media have shown "amazingly little interest in exploring" the "mud mountain" of Clinton scandals:

But the splotches on Obama's record are few and relatively minor compared to the staggeringly copious chronicle of Clinton scandals ... the Clintons have gotten off scot-free over the past year from any kind of serious, systematic examination of their sleaze-a-thon history from Little Rock to Foggy Bottom.
In response to the reader's question about why he shouldn't expect experience in a president, since he expects it from his physicians, accountants, dentists and even his child's teachers, Paglia responds:

Obama has actually served longer in public office than Hillary has. It's very true that he lacks executive experience, but so does she. Her bungling of healthcare reform, along with her inability to control the financial expenditures and internal wrangling of her campaign, does not bode well for a prospective chief executive. Beyond that, I'm not sure that your analogy to
professionals like doctors, accountants and teachers entirely applies to presidents. There is no fixed system of credentialing for our highest office. On the contrary, the Founders envisioned the president as a person of unpretentious common sense and good character. Hillary may spout a populist line, but with her arrogant sense of dynastic entitlement, she's a royalist who, like Napoleon, wants to crown herself.
When all the votes have been counted and all the consultants have been paid, if Hillary Clinton is not the first woman president in U.S. history, it is likely that these two reasons will be the two biggest reasons why.

Read the rest of the Paglia post here.