A good example off Hillary Clinton’s mind at work is given in this post about a new book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Clinton is quoted as saying to an aide, “I know I engender bad reactions from people.” That’s a roundabout way of saying “I irritate people.” But Clinton, unsurprisingly, tries to water down her self-criticism because it’s too hard for her to confront her own defects.
She’s far from alone in that respect. Self-delusion is a common trait, especially among politicians, who seem to be especially allergic to truth. But self-delusion is a counterproductive trait. It’s an essential ingredient in failure because it sets a person on an unsustainable course. Failure occurs at many levels, including the highest levels of American politics.
Hillary wouldn’t have made it to dogcatcher if she hadn’t married Bill and leveraged her position to carpetbag her way into the Senate. Look what happened to her in 2008 against a rival (Obama) who was more skilled at presenting himself to the public (though obviously a narcissist to those who weren’t beguiled by his rhetoric or smitten with the feel-good notion of electing America’s first semi-black president).
How did Hillary get the nomination in 2016? By being married to Bill and lining up her party’s big-wigs to support her as the “inevitable” candidate and, most important, a female one. (I expect that in 2020 there will be a big push in the Democrat Party to nominate an openly homosexual candidate for vice president, if not for president.)
Despite Clinton’s high-level backing — coupled with her (obviously contrived) leftward lurch and the political correctness of her gender — her march to the Democrat nomination was almost halted again by a sincere-sounding leftist.
I believe that she lost the general election because of her tone-deafness, which makes her uncannily able to irritate other people. Knowing that the presidency is won in the electoral college, not in the national popular vote, and knowing that the outcome in States with large blocs of blue-collar voters could swing the election to Trump — but secure in her self-delusional arrogance — she referred to Trump supporters as “deplorables.”
Talk about engendering bad reactions. And she didn’t have to do it; she was safely ahead in the polls at that point. She had nothing to gain — the effete elite were safely locked up — and a lot to lose. But she couldn’t help herself because she gave too little thought to her effect on others.
Know thyself. Very old advice that remains good advice.
3 thoughts on “Advice to Live By: Know Thyself”
Ancient wisdom, but a nice update in terms of contemporary culture.
I just wonder how many more times she’ll come out to explain why she lost the election (without ever blaming herself). It’s funny that her problem was before her very eyes the whole time – her self-referential campaign slogan. At the very least, making it “She’s with me” would’ve watered down the troubling dynamic present in “I’m with her.”
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Thanks for picking up on a point that I omitted: her long string of excuses for losing, which had nothing to do with her, of course. “She’s with me” would have seemed less cult-like than “I’m with her,” but it probably never occurred to her or her battered staff to coin a slogan like that.
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