Hillary's Bipolar Disorder

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THE PLANK JANUARY 28, 2008

Hillary's Bipolar Disorder

I've always had grave concerns about Hillary's electoral chances, and the past couple of weeks have done nothing but depress me.

Hill has always been polarizing when it comes to the parties. Now, thanks to on-the-trail happenings, some of which aren't even really her fault, she has managed to split the electorate along both racial and gender lines.

The race business is a disgrace--and one that Hill has no one but her own team, and most specifically her own husband, to blame. Team Clinton wanted to show us all how very non-post-racial the American electorate remains. In the process, they lost the love of a community that has been among their most devoted. Serves them right.

The gender issue is more complicated. Post-Iowa, women got a bee in their bonnet about the way Hillary was being treated by male voters ("Iron my shirt!"), a mostly male commentariat (way to go Chris Matthews), and even some of her opponents. (The mind still reels at John Edwards's intimation that Hillary isn't tough enough to be POTUS.) In response, gals got fired up and went all out for Hill in both New Hampshire and Nevada. No one is suggesting these women would have voted for her if they didn't think she was otherwise qualified, but clearly there was a touch of Sisterhood helping drive turnout.

Which is great, right? Maybe. In the short term, it obviously seved Hillary well. But for every woman who pulled the lever for her, there was at least one man who saw the numbers, heard the analysis, and thought, "F>@%ing stupid women. I cannot believe they're screwing up this election with their gender-solidarity b.s." The result is a bunch of male voters even more annoyed by Hillary-a candidate who already had dangerously limited appeal for men.

And so the nation's most polarizing candidate continues her exercise in division. At some point, whether this is entirely-or even primarily--her fault ceases to matter. The mathematical problem is no less real.  

--Michelle Cottle

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