Friday, January 26, 2007


They say Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure, and that everyone has an opinion of her. I'm not sure how I've managed it, but somehow I've fallen into that elite 2% of voters in the "confused and undecided" category.

Is she too polarizing? Is she sincere? Is she a good leader?

Not sure.

I read a good Mother Jones article that tries to make sense of why she's so controversial (hat tip to Not Ophelia of fMh).

It's unfortunate that so much of the controversy surrounding her is because of her personal life. Especially since her personal life isn't that controversial.

So she forgave her husband for having an affair. So what? I heard people say "She doesn't really love him, she's just staying with him to stay in power." And I would think "How do you know what their marriage is like?"

The whole thing was a private matter within their relationship, and I'm not sure why the rest of the planet was so concerned about it.

I guess they're concerned because Bill lied about it, of course, which he shouldn't have done. But somehow I can't get as worked up about someone lying when faced with intimate questions about his private life as I do about lies that affect the fate of the entire world such as reasons and evidence for going to war.

(It's an unfortunate side-effect of the information age that we're all so knowing and cynical these days that we don't even expect our leaders to be honest...)

I know, I know, it's absurdly ironic of me to be bringing up that whole Monica scandal in a post about how we shouldn't be talking about that!!! ;-)

It reminds me of my first trip to Paris! I spent a month there at a math conference right at the height of the Bill-and-Monica thing.

I wasn't following the scandal intentionally, but it seemed like everyone wanted to make sure everyone else was up to date on the latest gory details. You might think going to France would turn down the volume on it a little. Nope. It was worse.

The reason it seemed worse was because people would meet me and want to make conversation, and as soon as I said I was American, the first thing people would say was "Oh, Bill-and-Monica!!! Hahahaha!!!" and start in on the latest scoop.

The funniest time was when I was talking to a cashier at a supermarket. He started with the usual "Bill-and-Monica!!! Hahahaha!!!" Then he proceeded to explain to me that they never have this sort of scandal in France because in France people don't worry about such things.

And I was left thinking "Ummm... Who brought this up, you or me?"

But I'm starting to wonder if maybe that guy was right, or at least was right that the French have a bit of a different attitude.

One time (more recently) I was chatting about politics with some colleagues, and they started joking about how one guy who was the president of France died while having sex with a prostitute. (To any French people reading this: Is that true, or were they just pulling my leg?)

My colleagues laughed it off saying, "It was an honest transaction -- he paid up front, fair and square," and "You've got to go sometime, and there are worse ways..."

So now you're probably asking "Um, Chanson, what the hell does this have to do with Hillary?"

Nothing, I guess.

Anyway, I don't think anyone's reading this blog for the political commentary... ;-)


Rebecca said...

Hey! You and I are in the Hillary Clinton Mensa! And how totally pathetic is it that we impeached Clinton for the scandal (that was why, right?) and we haven't done jack squat about Bush. I guess since Bush is just running th US into the ground - Clinton, on the other had, HAD AN AFFAIR! How embarrassing - for US. Oops! Sorry - we're showing our Puritanical underwear!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Rebecca!!!

So true!!! You would think at least when "W" admitted to illegally spying on US citizens that would have meant something.

I saw a great t-shirt once about it: "Will somebody give this guy a B.J. so we can impeach him?" ;-)

Michelle said...

Oh, if I had seen that t-shirt I would have bought it! That is so great!

The whole affair thing pissed me off too. You are right...if she decided to forgive him, it's none of our damn business, so drop it already!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Michelle!!!

Yeah, I wish I remembered where I found that shirt...

Cyn Bagley said...

Why I am against Hillary Clinton...

1. I knew people who worked in the White House when she was there.
a. she would walk the halls at a certain time... no one was allowed to be in the hallway if she was (all hail queen hillary)

2. A friend of mine cooked was a chief that cooked a meal for Hillary and Chelsea at Ramstein AB.
a. They made fun of the food
b. They had the cheif thrown out (my friend)

Maybe all hearsay, but every personal story of her and her daughter was... they considered themselves better and treated their staff very very very badly.

Cyn Bagley said...


Excuse me... I am having probs with spelling lately. I had the creeping crud and been trying to get well.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Cynthia!!!

Wow, that's unpleasant, but I guess it jibes with some things other people have said about her.

Anonymous said...

For me personally, it has nothing to do with how I feel about Hillary. Whether or not I think it's a good idea for the Dems to support her for president, it doesn't make a difference. What will make the difference is how the majority of americans will react. The majority of americans who re-elected George W., for example.

The Democrats need a figure that will encourage independents and Republicans to "cross the aisle".

Hillary is not that figure, for the reasons you mentioned and others. She's just too contraversial. She was contraversial before the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

If the dems support her, there's a good chance she would lose, and the US would be stuck for another 4 years of Republican foreign policy.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for a woman running for president. I just don't think this is the right woman for me to support.

btw - I'm disappointed that her campaign brought up Barack Obama's brief education in a muslim institution. What is their purpose in bringing this up anyway? Shouldn't we want to have a leader with a diverse background? Maybe it would be good to have someone in the white house who actually had a better understanding of Islam. I am disappointed and suspicious of why it was even mentioned.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Aerin!!!

That's a very good point, and that's actually the main reason I hesitate to support her. We really need a leader who can decrease the polarization, whether or not her controversiality is her own fault...

I hadn't even heard of her campaign bringing up something about Barack Obama studying about Islam. If she meant that to slander him, then ick!!

I'm with you that leaders are better off for having spent time thinking about other viewpoints rather than never leaving the confines of local thought.

Anonymous said...

I love Hillary, but am unsure I would vote for her for the reasons that aerin brought up. I hadn't heard about the little slip about Barak Obama's education from her camp... that's a bit slimey. At this point I haven't explored who's in the running other than those two. It's something I 'm going to have to study. Even tho I like Hill's, she ain't gettin' my vote strictly because she's female.

As for Bill, I'd blow him myself if it would reverse restriction of term limits and get him back into office! Bwhahaha! ;-) (I *heart* Bill)

C. L. Hanson said...

LOL, Ripzip!!!

There are lot of things I'd do to trade in Bush for Clinton, but I don't know if I'd go that far... ;-)

Cyn Bagley said...

I would have voted for Elizabeth Dole. I still like her. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Count me as part of that 2%. I'm not sure what to think about her. All I know is the Dems need a candidate who can WIN. I'm not convinced that person is Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to ask, now that you live in France do you still bother to vote? If so, is it a hassle? I'm guessing you have to send for a ballot or something. How does that work?

beepbeepitsme said...

What I find kind of interesting is that if it was laura Bush who was staying with her husband after he had an affair, she would be considered a dutiful, loving and wonderful person for trying to preserve the marriage. Some might even go further ans state that she was doing god's will by preserving her marriage.

I am always suspicious when people consider something a flaw in the people they dislike, but a virtue in the people they admire.

Anonymous said...

Okay, well I found a couple of articles. I can't remember where I first heard about this story. If it was slate, the story is no longer there. It doesn't appear to be on the website either.

BUT - the abc news article implies that the Clinton camp had nothing to do with a leak about Obama's education. I have no idea who runs that insight mag website.

Just wanted to share this info with everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I guess I can be considered in the undecided 2%. I'm not a huge fan of politics, but she keeps gaining momentum and seems to know how to get around to get the support she needs.

As for Bill and the affairs, well, he just happened to get caught, he is certainly not the 1st president to cheat on his wife and at the end of the day their married business are not anyone else's.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Anonymous!!!

I do vote in France (mail order), but I can only vote for president since all of the other offices represent the residents of a particular place. My vote is counted in the state I lived in last. True, it's a hassle, but I took the time to figure it out because it was important for me to vote against dubya.

Hey Beep-beep!!!

Very good point. You know how partisan prejudice works...

Hey Aerin -- thanks for the clarification!!!

Hey MikeP!!!

True, we should stay tuned -- maybe she can succeed in changing some people's minds...

Just one of many said...

I think Hillary is smart. Their marriage is more of a partnership. Her partner continues to wield power in the political arena. As long as he's not dead weight, she'll keep him around. She thinks and acts like a man politically, that is what makes people feel uncomfortable. Don't know If I would vote for her yet... :)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Joom!!!

That's possible. The article I linked to above talks about this sort of catch-22 for women in politics. People often feel threatened by women who seem aggressive and masculine, yet won't look to a demurely feminine woman as a leader...

Anonymous said...

The real irony is that Hillary never was a candidate of the American left. The specter of her presidential bid was always a bogey-man created by right-wing pundits, hoping to fan their Republican base’s anti-Democratic sentiments. Now, with the impending implosion and demise of the Republican party as we know it today, the right is facing the very real prospect of having to live in their own nightmare fantasy after all.

AnnM said...

omg i killed my keyboard w/ wine

just when i'm desperate to post.

the insight article was a conservative hit job -- see


C. L. Hanson said...

Hey John!!!

That's funny!!! It makes me want to say -- in my best Nelson voice -- "Ha ha!"

Hey Sam-I-Am!!!

Thanks for the link!!! Aerin corrected this above. It's good to see these hoaxes getting a shorter shelf-life. Perhaps the Dems learned something from the last election... ;-)

The Sinister Porpoise said...

Is she too polarizing? Is she sincere? Is she a good leader?

1. Yes
2. Only when taking a far left of center position I think.
3. I don't think she'd gotten as far as she has if she were a bad leader, but as I do not agree with the vast majority of her politics I do not intend to vote for her.

I don't intend to vote for Mitt either should it come to that unless I see the Brethren pull back on their deep involvement in politics.

Sideon said...

Hillary: her acting as queen will never be as outrageous as a President who acts like a dictator. If only Oprah ran for President. Or Ellen Degeneres. They would trump a Brain-Dead Cowboy Actor or a Change-the-Constitution so an Austrian-Steroid-Terminator can be elected President.

I'm glad folks are discussing politics. The Republicans have leveraged this and the next three generations with their equivalent of a fiscal cluster-bomb. The true cost of their negligence will be paid for generations. Add into it the loss of international allies, and the cost increases exponentially beyond the tangible.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sinister Porpoise!!!

You would vote for Mitt if the Bretheren were less involved in politics?

Hey Sideon!!!

Absolutely -- the costs of this thoughtless and short-sighted administration are beyond comprehension and will be felt for generations.

Oprah? I think I would vote for Oprah, though I'd have to look over her platform first. Seriously. Going straight from business into politics has been done before...

Anonymous said...

Re the French President who died whilst engaged in sexual intercourse... it was FĂ©lix Faure.

He died in February 1899.
This was at the time of the Dreyfus Scandal (a political which shook France).

The cause of death was listed as" apoplexy".

The rumour was that it happened whilst receiving oral sex from his mistress Marguerite Steinheil.

You could say he almost went with a bang!


C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Rudi -- thanks for the info!!!

So my colleagues were maybe exaggerating a little, but not much. But you see the advantage of having such a scandal way back in 1899...

Rebecca said...

Okay, I would totally make everyone leave so I could walk the halls of my home by myself. Having all those people around all the time would SUCK. Also, I would make everyone wear red socks everyday, except when I decided I didn't like red and then I would yell, "WHY ARE YOU ALL WEARING THOSE STUPID SOCKS?!?! TAKE THEM OFF RIGHT NOW!!!" Because OH! The POWER!

C. L. Hanson said...


Rebecca, that's why you should be in power!!! It's sad to see so much power is squandered on people who don't know how to appreciate it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sideon, I'm not sure it's a Republican vs. Democrat thing. It's simply the ware was conducted poorly and broad sweeping Presidential powers were used as an excuse to take away rights.

No big deal, right? This has happened in times of war during the past, but then it was always clear when the war would end, wasn't it?

Oh, and there's been no state of war declared has there?

C.L. --

It would depend on who else is running. Personally I'd favor Rudi Gulianni or anyone who tells a Saudi Arabian prince to take a check and stick it up his (ex. del.) when he suggests America might be at fault for 9/11 due to its support of Israel.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sinister Porpoise!!!

It's true that the war was conducted poorly and broad sweeping Presidential powers were used as an excuse to take away rights. However, I'm not sure it's not a Republican vs. Democrat thing.

I think part of the reason the president was able to get away with this is because of a disasterous turn the Republican party has taken lately. If the Republicans were to get back to being actual conservatives, then I would agree that it's not a Republican vs. Democrat thing...

Freckle Face Girl said...

I'm part of the 2% too. Besides all of the issues, the idea of a female president is appealing, but I don't think she is the one. She might not be bad as a VP though.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Freckle Face Girl!!!

Yeah, I can't tell if she's really the choice for the first woman president or not...