Why Hillary Can't Be in the Moment

Watching Hillary Clinton reach out and touch ordinary Americans is excruciating. In working a crowd of regular folks, Hillary is fingernails on the blackboard in a pantsuit. It is difficult to imagine anyone more out of touch with her own affect, movement, and connection to the people around her. She is unable to talk, touch, listen or smile in a natural manner. She doesn't seem to know what to do with her hands, where to direct her eyes, her scope of awareness is restricted. A blind person with a stick would be better than Hillary Clinton at reading people around her.

In the staged and rigidly controlled glimpses of her, we see people positioned a handshake away wishing to be noticed by this woman who may be the next president, growing discouraged and becoming commensurately uncomfortable because Hillary can't see them. Everyone is down on Hillary. The right hates her for moral, patriotic, and ideological reasons, the left wing has a worsening case of Hillaphobia. Those on the left who are not too drug-addled to be aware of politics don't like her because they are driven by narcissistic emotional needs which she does not meet. She cannot reach the anti-traditionalist places where the left likes to be massaged, nor can she humor them with hipness.

It's too late for Hillary to blow the smoke of radical transformation, on someone else's dime, up the left-wing's collective keister. Hillary can trot out plausible transgenders when necessary, but fundamentally she chose to stand by her man and political expedience at every point in her career. Just being around her makes people feel uncomfortable and she clearly returns the unhappy condition.

It is understandable that Hillary is postponing contact with the press. Special factors in the way Hillary Clinton has lived her life, beyond the typical cautiousness of the front runner, make it difficult for her to be present with herself or open to anybody else in a room full of strangers.

When one observes married couples who have been together for a long time it is often possible to recognize a complementary-compensatory dynamic wherein the partners automatically cover for the limitations of the other. As a benign example, if the wife is naturally shy, the husband may become increasingly outgoing and voluble over time to compensate for his wife and prevent the isolation which shyness might cause. There is a degree of filling in for each other that redistributes responsibilities in a practical way and is healthy. But this compensatory dynamic can become destructive by enabling weaknesses as the couple patches each other’s problems rather than confront themselves and grow as individuals.

The Clintons are the most married couple in the world. They are stuck with each other. The demands of their joint political careers have made the complementary-compensatory dynamic especially powerful in their marriage and destructive to their individual integrity. Their marriage was called upon to support fantastic ambitions and hide weaknesses in both of them.

Bill Clinton is a famously gifted retail campaigner. A friend of mine who met President Clinton and spoke with him for a few minutes says he made her feel like the only person in the room. His brash presentfulness is a skill especially valued in a leader. But President Clinton's ability to connect to and take in the people around him is a double-edged rapier, with a predatory blade. His natural ability to connect allows him to select those who will benefit him but also cull the vulnerable from the herd for his nefarious purposes. We know he consumes and abuses women around him, offenses of impulsive domination and aggression. Hillary has her own history of ethical, legal and financial scandal. But the scandals that have stuck to her are the stuff of malfeasant calculation, monies and memos appearing and disappearing in wrongful ways. Hillary's scandals are the machinations that leave a paper trail (or a no e-mail trail), not the wreckages of foolhardy moments.

In driving the Clinton franchise to the highest levels of power on earth, Hillary has wretchedly compensated for her husband's porous boundaries by constructing impenetrable walls around herself. As he became more reckless, she must have become more wary. Many years ago Hillary accepted the job of being Bills' after-party cleanup crew. In the service of their upward march, she had no choice. Many people think Hillary Clinton is a psychopath without a conscience who cares nothing about her husband's betrayals on a personal level. That formulation does not seem supported by what has leaked out about the Clinton's relationship. It is more likely that she is a wellspring of anger hiding behind a smile you can hang laundry on.

What is certain is she spent years mopping up and deodorizing Bill's messes. Bill's affairs with and attacks on women have been more destructive to Hillary's psychological integrity and self-worth than some miraculous hundred grand showing up in the Clinton cookie jar have been to him. His sexist violence strikes at the heart of who she claims to be, and continues to damage her basic sense of security and candidacy. For forty years, a room full of strangers is where the party starts for Bill, and where the messes are made for Hillary. For forty years every time Hillary entered a room full of strangers she had her bucket and mop. A bimbo splatter might be found anywhere. For forty years a room full of strangers, interacting in an unscripted moment, has been Hillary's worst nightmare.

Hillary was also Obama's international cleaning lady as his policies weakened the American position around the world. The Benghazi outpost was under Madame Secretary's authority and she is to blame for the outrages which were committed there against Americans. But it is hard to imagine such Muslim-pandering, puerile trash as the video cover story originating with the Clintons. Maybe the scheme was Hillary's idea, we may never know. In this case the video cover story was so ridiculous when it fell apart, it made the righteous outrage of the American people far worse. But there is no doubt Hillary had the most to lose of the cleanup crew, and has been the most sullied by Benghazi. She has the most filth still clinging to her bright green jacket.

That a president gets to pass the office to his brother, wife or kid runs counter to the Constitution and American ideals. That Hillary -- who has done so much dirty work for an impeached president, and one who should have been -- should claim that inheritance is particularly repulsive. She has become the Dorian Gray of politics, a terrible visage nobody can bear to behold. Nor does she, hiding at the bottom of her own slop bucket, wish to be seen.

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