Why Do People Hate Hillary?

I asked a family member if he watched Trump’s speech. He’s a die hard conservative, who unsubscribed from the New York Times because of its “left wing bias.” But this guy is also educated and well read. He’s not a fan of Trump. So, I was curious about his opinions. It’s guys like him who could decide the next election. 

He said he watched it. He complained about its length, briefly called Trump a circus barker, and then launched into a diatribe about Hillary. I think he called her a crime boss or something. So, he said when given a choice between PT Barnum and a crime boss, he was going with Barnum. 

Why do people hate Hillary so much? Is it because she’s a Tracy Flick? 

There’s a great article in this topic in The New Yorker from 1996 — an oldie that holds up well. 

24 thoughts on “Why Do People Hate Hillary?

  1. I actually quite like Hillary Clinton. I find her smart as well as occasionally quite dryly funny & see her embodying a lot of the virtues that I admire. When people go off on these rampages against her claiming that she’s some sort of “crime boss” or master of evil or whatever, it’s jaw-dropping and also very alienating.


  2. My apologies, because I’m going to post a giant rant of a comment to get this off my chest.

    For me, I am not happy with Hillary as a candidate because on lots of issues important to me, every time she’s had a choice, she chooses wrong, and here are some examples, in no particular order.

    As a senator she voted for the Iraq war, and the Patriot Act and its reauthorization (allowing police searches of property without the owner’s consent/ knowledge; giving the government the right to telephone/e-mail/financial and library information without a court order, etc.).

    As secretary of state she promoted the Keystone pipeline, Canadian owned and built, delivering Canadian tar-sands down through the center of the country to the Gulf, to be exported to overseas markets. Also, she promoted multinational fracking companies in Europe. She now claims she will regulate fracking out of existence. I don’t see her choosing to support renewable solar and wind.

    She chose to brag that Henry Kissinger admired her state department record, saying at a debate, “I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time.” She has said he is a friend and that she “relied on his counsel.”

    While she was secretary of state, the situations in Libya and Syria deteriorated disastrously, based, in part, on her choices.

    When criticized for taking money from for-profit private prison companies she did donate it to charity, then turned around and accepted money from bundled contributions of lobbyists of these same companies.

    The amount of money she has collected from banks and Wall Street financial institutions is damning. Her claim at another debate on how she reigned in Wall Street abuse by yelling at them makes me cringe. She said, “I went to Wall Street in December of 2007–before the big crash that we had. I basically said, “Cut it out! Quit foreclosing homes!” Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors.” That she considers this to be effective governance is unbelievable.

    However, the most important issue, in my opinion, is the terrible destruction of working class manufacturing jobs in this jobs in this country. And that brings us to trade agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA, the TPP etc.

    She is associated, in my mind and (I think) a lot of the rest of the country, with the North American Free Trade Agreement and privatization promoted by her husband Bill in the 1990s. That agreement is and was a disaster to any person and community that relied on manufacturing jobs—and that’s a lot of people. No democratic or republican politicians even talked much about NAFTA until Bernie Sanders and Trump. It was not even on anyone’s radar as important, even as jobs disappeared and communities went down the tubes. Although she was not in any official capacity when NAFTA was negotiated, she was a strong advocate for what is basically NAFTA-plus: the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) while secretary, although now that she is campaigning, she says she’s against it.

    Trump managed to make his anti-NAFTA stance early and with real passion—which has gotten him a lot of supporters. My job and my families jobs have not depended on factory jobs, but I can certainly see how those that have lost their jobs would consider this issue more important than any other. If that was my situation I would certainly find what Trump is saying about it very appealing. I might be inclined to ignore his yelling and general craziness. And maybe I wouldn’t even consider his stance on immigration that crazy. I might be more affected by the influx of immigrants so much that I would consider them a threat to my livelihood. I don’t know how I would react—having the means to feed yourself and your family is a pretty large consideration. I have the luxury to be pro-immigrant, but I don’t think it is irrational to want policies to protect your job.

    For the record, Hillary Clinton seems tike a fine, reflective, “good” person. I think I would like to talk with her and work with her. I know she is considered to be a strong champion for women. I think she is inclined that way, but it’s not what I see her spending most of her political energies on.

    What I know is, after 25 years of observing Hillary in political action, I see that if there is a choice to be made, a policy to be pursued, a speech to be made–she will generally champion the group with the most money and the most influence.

    For the record, I really have no patience with the New Yorker article and others like it that try to explain the popularity of politicians based on talk about what was said and whether someone was invited to lunch or shunned or not sent a personal note. I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks that is influencing more that a tiny, tiny, minority of most of the voters in the U.S. Most of us voters are not being invited to sit next to Hillary or chat with her in the halls and really, really, don’t care at all what Sally Quinn thinks. Trying to work out why Hillary is not very popular based on that type of middle-school gossip reasoning is just more of the problem.

    And yes, I do think she’s a better choice than Trump, but I still don’t have to want 4 more years of someone promoting Wall Street policies, multinational companies wish-lists and treaties, and Henry Kissinger’s Realpolitik. I will vote for her because I think it’s just possible Trump may be able to break the vaunted “checks and balances” system of U.S. democracy, but I can understand the dislike for her as a candidate, because I feel it.


    1. “She is associated, in my mind and (I think) a lot of the rest of the country, with the North American Free Trade Agreement and privatization promoted by her husband Bill in the 1990s. That agreement is and was a disaster to any person and community that relied on manufacturing jobs—and that’s a lot of people.”

      Here I am weak on macroeconomics, but I don’t see how trade agreements are really the answer to bringing back manufacturing jobs. Are anti-NAFTA/TPP people saying that if we didn’t have these agreements, American companies would bring jobs back to the US? Does anyone think this will really happen? Without consumer prices rising?

      What annoyed me about the Vance interview I posted below is that he credits Trump for being the only person talking about what concerns “hillbillies.” But damn, I think Warren and Sanders have been talking about it, and they’ve been derided and ignored. I wonder if the issue is that they are taking different approaches to the same problem. Trump focuses on trade agreements more, whereas Sanders and Warren focus on the greed of the rich. This makes sense because, in actuality, Trump is greedy. He and his ilk can get what they want ($$) if people are so desperate for jobs that they work for the same low wages as people in developing countries, and he can also get credit for being the one to “bring jobs back.” But what he wants is the $$. What Warren and Sanders want is for government to control greed and thus bring jobs back. There’s no reason for companies to bring jobs back via trade agreements if they could only restrain their voracious greed in a system that prioritizes profit-making and materialism. This is my 10 toilets example. It is better for the economy to have 10 toilets in 10 houses than to have 10 toilets in one house. 10 toilets in 10 houses are used by 10 families and will need frequent service and replacement. 10 toilets in one house will be used by one family and rarely need replacement or service.


      1. The answer to your question “Are anti NAFTA/TPP people saying that if we didn’t have these agreements American companies would bring jobs back to the US?” Without consumer prices rising?

        The answer to the first question is “Yes”

        Both Sanders and Warren are making that argument.

        If you go to Sanders web page on “trade” he has a whole section on “”Keeping Jobs in the U.S.” It says, clearly, “Bernie’s passionate warning against these deals [NAFTA, TPP] have, unfortunately for American workers, all been proven right as these trade deals have offshored a massive amount of decent paying obs and have closed tens of thousands of factories across our country.”

        In her opposition to the TPP, Warren has emphasized that the promise of the trade agreements to protect workers rights have been completely ignored. She has issued reports documenting the use by beneficiaries of our trade agreements who use child labor, the murder and torture of trade unionists and control of trade unions by employers to produce cheap goods that keep those consumer prices from rising. But if companies were prevented from these inhuman business practices, it wouldn’t be cheaper to move the factory overseas, and so they would have no reason to. The result would be the same, that is, that would bring jobs back to the US.

        I’m not sure about your second question, because clearly slave labor and no unions are going to make for cheaper consumer prices. I guess the question is which people prefer.


  3. It was. Sorry about that. Perhaps I need an editor.

    Maybe the shorter version is: My trouble with Hillary is with her policies, not her personality, or some cartoon version of her.


    1. Yes. My older cousin from Florida posted a photo on Facebook of Ivanka at the GOP convention alongside a photo of Hillary somewhere. It was captioned: “$135 Dress” (for Ivanka) and “$12000 Jacket” (for Hillary) and said “Which one is the elitist?” OMFG, really? I tried to explain that Ivanka was making money off the dress, but my cousin said “I hate Hillary, you won’t change my mind.”

      A friend pointed out this analysis by JD Vance, who wrote a book about “Hillbilly” culture: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-us-politics-poor-whites/

      I think it’s an attempt to whitewash the effects of what has been a massive propaganda war against Democrats for the past 30 years.


  4. I like Hillary, too. I think she works tirelessly to advance her causes and works for what’s possible, not in a mythical world. I’m also generally comfortable with her policies.

    I think the people who hate (rather than just dislike her) have believed 20+ years of propaganda about her. I also think the compromises she has made in both her public and private life disturb people.


  5. My personal point of view is that NAFTA was a good idea but I’m not sure that the TPP is. But I’d happily throw one or both of them under the bus if that’s what it takes to not have Trump.


  6. Backing out of enough trade to put the U.S. trade deficit at 0 would, of course, crash the world economy and cause some huge Depression. But a retreat or hold on trade agreements seems a reasonable issue.


  7. Why I don’t like Hillary:

    1. She’s a sleaze. She has an immense sense of entitlement, combined with a lack of any particular ability. This combination leads to sleazy financial behavior (commodities trades with Refco, Clinton Foundation, etc.) to get her the money which she thinks she is entitled to receive without working. Don’t talk to me about the VRWC: you’ll note that despite Obama’s unpopularity among conservatives, there are essentially zero allegations of financial impropriety around him, because whatever his faults, they do not include cupidity and venality on the Hillary scale.

    2. She’s a fraud. She has no genuine achievements at all. I don’t want to be rude, but graduating from Yale is not an accomplishment. Neither is making partner at a rinky-dink law firm, especially when your husband is the state governor. The “reset” (with Russia) was supposed to be the big initiative of her tenure as Secretary of State: how has that worked out? The only thing she’s actually done in her life is stand by her man, which I don’t respect at all, because what it really amounts to is that her marriage is just as fraudulent as everything else about her.

    I don’t like Trump either. I don’t think there’s been a more dispiriting presidential election in my lifetime.


    1. You seem to be pretty confident that her marriage is “fraudulent.” (Are politicians who cheat on their spouses and then get divorced leaving “fraudulent” marriages? Is everyone who reconciles with a cheating spouse in a “fraudulent” marriage?) Here’s what she said about it, in an interview a couple of years ago with the BBC, when asked, “What is it about Bill that enabled you to forgive his infidelity?”

      “Forgiveness is a choice. And I fully respect those who don’t make that choice, for whatever reason, in their personal or their professional lives but for me it was absolutely the right choice,” Clinton responded. “For me, it is something that is incredibly difficult but I am grateful everyday that that’s the choice that I made and I’ve counseled others to see if in their own hearts they can also do that.”

      “But it’s not by accident the great religions, the great writers talk about how the person who forgives is liberated, maybe even more than the person who is forgiven.”

      Of course you don’t believe her, but it’s possible that she could have any number of reasons for staying with someone who is brilliant and charismatic and who she has a kid with and who she’s known all of her adult life and who she took a vow to stay with until death parts them. I really have no idea.


    2. This reminds me of the saying that women have to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously, except in this case it’s three times as hard to be taken not seriously at all. What man with her record would be considered to have “done nothing” except stay in his marriage? Hillary is not my favorite politician, I’m certainly worried that she’ll disappoint me in nontrivial ways as president, and I’m not thrilled with some of her past behavior (Wall street speeches and her vote for the Iraq war stand out as particular failures in judgment), but to argue she’s not qualified to be president is insane. To argue she only got where she did because of sleeping with some man (i.e. her husband) is also ridiculous. How many other former first ladies became senators or SOSs?


  8. Being elected senator, serving as secretary of state without starting a major war, earning the democratic nomination for president? SCHIP?,

    But I guess those pale against saying “You’re Fired” on the Apprentice. But, it is to be noted that I probably define and value accomplishment differently — building big luxury hotels with significant government subsidies aren’t my idea of success.

    Trump really is a sleaze and a fraud, in the most private and public senses. Which of them do you think would return a 20 they saw drop out of someone’s pocket?

    (And, mind you, I think that Romney, McCain, Ryan, as well as Obama, Carter, and Hillary would).


      1. She didn’t have anything to do with starting Iraq as secretary of state. And Syria and Libya certainly aren’t major in terms of U.S. involvement.


      2. Libya and Syria probably qualify as major to the people who live there. But, as we know, if we’re just dropping bombs on Arabs, it isn’t war at all. That’s the law, as promulgated by the Obama administration.


  9. I think the more important question is, why do people think they have the information to hate or not hate politicians? Do you seriously think you know them? I thought GWB was dumb and irresponsible, based on what he said, but I didn’t hate him. I opposed Romney’s policies, but I didn’t hate him. I think Cruz is a hyper-conservative religious nut, but I don’t hate him. And even Trump, who I think is genuinely dangerous – I concede that his kids may love him, and I don’t hate him.

    Which leads me to ask, why is “hating” a politician a thing? Or perhaps hating female politicians is the thing. It’s one thing to criticize her history (as cy does above) or her decisions at State – that’s all legit – but if you think she’s Nurse Ratched, probably you had some bad experience with nurses at some point and you think all women you disagree with are those scary nurses. It really looks like sexism to me – especially when someone who has been a senator and secretary of state has somehow not done anything “except stand by her man.” (And this is not all about nepotism, which is just as much for a problem for the Bush sons as for Hillary.)


  10. I’m somewhat meh about Hillary, in the same way I’m meh about lots of mainstream Democratic politicians. They tend to not really represent my views, except that they generally come off as being sane individuals who pay lip service to at least some of the same goals I have. I’m certainly more excited to have Hillary than I would be to have Diane Feinstein or Tim Kaine topping the ticket, but I’d prefer someone like Elizabeth Warren. I’d also vastly prefer Hillary to her husband, whose presidency I was not a huge fan of. I also think Hillary is a better policy wonk than politician, which isn’t a bad trait to have in a president, though it does mean she can be a bit tin-eared and heavy handed, and I worry if that will affect her effectiveness in office.

    In terms of being a Clinton specifically, I think there’s a feeling of having to constantly defend them against deranged attacks, from Vince Foster to Benghazi, while at the same time feeling like they keep doing things that demonstrate poor judgment and sometimes questionable values. They’re not worse than many politicians, but that’s kind of a low bar. I don’t want to defend people for garden variety rich people/politician impropriety, but it has to be done given how rabid they seem to make Republicans and how hypocritical the attacks are. I think a lot of people in my situation feel the same way, and it does lead to minor resentment or discomfort. Like, I’m not thrilled about the email server, but it’s not out of the ordinary SOS behavior (Powell and Rice did it too). I’m kind of repulsed by wealthy people talk-circuit graft, but it’s not something only the Clintons do. I’m pretty disgusted by Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior, but it’s hardly illegal or grounds for impeachment. The Clintons seem to surround themselves with unsavory people, but again, it seems most wealthy & powerful people attract unsavory characters, and the Clintons don’t seem unique in this.


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