In her latest salvo against Hill, Paglia seems to cover every base.
…I still don’t trust her. The arrogant, self-absorbed Clintons have shown their unscrupulous hand to all who have eyes to see. Yes, Hillary may know the labyrinthine flow chart of the Washington bureaucracy, but her peripheral experiences as a gallivanting first lady scarcely qualify her to be commander in chief. On the contrary, her constant resort to schmaltzy videos and cheap entertainment riffs (“The Sopranos,” “Saturday Night Live”) has been depressingly unpresidential. Is this how she would govern? All that canned “softening” of Hillary’s image would have been unnecessary had she had greater personal resources to begin with. Her cutesy campaign has set a bad precedent for future women candidates, who should stand on their own as proponents of public policy.
Would I want Hillary answering the red phone in the middle of the night? No, bloody not. The White House first responder should be a person of steady, consistent character and mood — which describes Obama more than Hillary. And that scare ad was produced with amazing ineptitude. If it’s 3 a.m., why is the male-seeming mother fully dressed as she comes in to check on her sleeping children? Is she a bar crawler or insomniac? An obsessive-compulsive housecleaner, like Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest”? And why is Hillary sitting at her desk in full drag and jewelry at that ungodly hour? A president should not be a monomaniac incapable of rest and perched on guard all night like Poe’s baleful raven. People at the top need a relaxed perspective, which gives judgment and balance. Workaholism is an introspection-killing disease, the anxious disability of tunnel-vision middle managers.
Bloody…labyrinthine…gallivanting…monomaniac…middle manager. Can we get this on a bumper sticker please?
Now on to the substantive analysis. Paglia is noble enough to realize how gross it is when a woman outworks every man on the block to gain access to manlike powers. The flipside to this, of course, is that not every ambitious, sharp woman is blessed with the catlike cool and lesbo bona fides of a Paglia. No, some — indeed, even some lesbians — want to be Public Servants, and teaching the supercool kids of the superrich about how to scan Donne is not Public Service. You can see the weird formations of class conflict already beginning to emerge, complete with undercurrents about who’s a real patriot and who’s not.
Yet I can’t help returning to the consciousness of physical class running through Paglia’s beauteous diatribe. The connection between Obama’s and Clinton’s respective physical appearances and mental dispositions seems to challenge all our cherished (small-d) democratic ideas about the mind-body distinction. More than a few things about the kind of power Clinton seeks, and the way she seeks it, grate against the aristocratic ethos. What’s remarkable is the insinuation that these attributes are hardwired into who she is as a person, a person who can never accede even to the left banks of the empyrean clouds. Whatever it means for American democracy today, to this pair of ears, at least, that dig rings true.